Gyan Prakash Ghosh, Amir Khan (Sanyal Bros. photo)
Gyan Prakash Ghosh on Nikhil Banerjee
The dramatic increase in the number of Pandit Nikhil Banerjee's
appreciators during the last two decades of his life is ample
testimony to his prowess with the sitar. His total mastery over
all the nuances of sitar playing, his ability to flawlessly analyze
each raga and apply it in his music, makes him the best among
the best in his field.
Starting his lessons from his father Pandit Jitendranath Banerjee
as a child, Nikhil Banerjee received an extensive musical education
from Ustad Mustaq Ali Khan, one of the prime exponents in India
during his time. Later, Nikhil Banerjee perfected his music under
the tutelage of such eminent musicians as Pandit Birendra Kishore
Roychoudury and Radhikamohan Maitra. He capped his learning under
Ustad Allauddin Khan and also under Ali Akbar Khan, two maestros
who need no introduction. Association with these two great sarod
masters helped him gain a new insight into the potential of the
sitar as a solo instrument.
Pandit Nikhil Banerjee enjoyed the recognition and appreciation
of many, both in India and abroad. He was associated with Bob
Brown's American Society of Eastern Arts in Berkeley. Unfortunately
for all music lovers Pandit Banerjee passed away in 1986 at a
premature age of 55. However, the legacy of the music that he
left behind will keep alight the flame of remembrance in the hearts
of all who had an opportunity to listen to his music.-Translated
from Bengali by Tulsi Sen Gupta
recognized as one of India's most eminent tabla players, was born
into a musical family in Calcutta in 1954. He was inspired to
take up tabla by his uncle , the sitar player Pt. Biswanath Chatterjee,
beginning when he was four years old. At five, he was All-India
Radio's youngest artist. At six, Anindo became a disciple of Padmabhushan
Gyan Prakash Ghosh, and studied with him for over twenty years.
Gyan Prakash Gosh is celebrated for his extensive knowledge of
all the tabla gharanas, as well as his own Faroukhabad gharana.
His long discipleship gave Anindo's art a firm foundation. As
an accompanist, he is known for his sense of balance and proportion,
crisp tonal quality, modulation of sound production and rapport
with soloists. The photo above shows him in Nikhil Banerjee's
Calcutta practice room, where he spent much time as a young player.
He has gone on to record and to tour India and the world with
Mr. Banerjee and other great musicians. He has received numerous
honors including the 1970 All-India Radio Music Competition President's
Award. Anindo was the first tabla player to perform in the House
of Commons, in 1990.
Malgunji has many elements
of Rageshri, Bageshri and a few subtle touches of Jaijaiwanti.
It is popularly described as being a combination of Rageshri (in
the ascent) and Bageshri ( in the descent). Any raag, however,
defies such facile descriptions which should be taken as simple
mnemonic devices which help to evoke the general atmosphere of
the raag. Rageshri is definitely a dominant feature of Malgunji
(especially as played by Mr. Banerjee), and Bageshri exists by
virtue of the elusive Pancham and the gentle pathos of the komal
Gandhar (flat third).
Scalar pitch material: D. n. S G m D N S., S. n D P m G - m g
Characteristic movements: G m g R S, D. - n. S R G - m.
The raag allows for a variation to its usual ascending scale of
five notes. This occurs only in the chalan, where the Shuddh Rishab
(natural second) has limited ascent to the Madhyam (fourth). It
is for this reason that Malgunji is also referred to as a "shadav-sampurna"
raag; that is, having six notes in ascent and seven in descent.
It is essentially an "audav-sampurna" raag: five and
If traditionally Bageshri evokes feelings of separation from the
lover, and Rageshri represents reunion, Malgunji depicts the initial
realization of the reunion. The feeling is repeatedly reaffirmed,
constantly made present, by the ascending thrust of the Rishab
(lacking in both Bageshri and Rageshri) and the blissful lingering
on the Madhyam - the vadi (dominant) of Malgunji, Rageshri and
Bageshri. - John Campana
Released by arrangement
with Mrs. Roma Banerjee. Research Consultant: Ira Landgarten.
Concert at America House, Munich, November 26 1980, organized
and recorded by Sunil Banerjee. Tanpura: Ratan Mukherjee. Booklet
cover photo courtesy World Music Institute. Above photo Sanyal
Brothers courtesy John Campana. Tray card photo courtesy Anindo
Chatterjee. Special thanks to Subrata Chowdhury. Produced by John
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