"Sing to express not to impress"- These were the words of a legend who left us a few days back. I was awestruck by the news of the death of Vidushi Kishori Amonkar,one of the finest vocalist India ever produced. I have heard some of the veterans of classical music like Pt Jasraj, Ustad Rashid Khan, Pt Rajan Sajan Mishra, Vidwan TN Krishnan etc live but still I feel very unfortunate that I couldn't hear the legend Padma Vibhushan Kishori Amonkar live. A person who didn't like interviews just because she thought that it was a waste of time and took her important time from her riyaz. A legend who was considered of the gold standards in the music. She learnt music from her mother, the legendary vocalist, Mogubai Kurdikar, of Ustad Alladiya Khan’s Jaipur Atrauli gharana. Her voice traveled three octaves and she delivered the micro notes (shruties) beautifully as per the tradition of her gharana. She considered that the music starts from a note and not from a raga. She considered music as a way to express herself.
I recently heard her singing ‘Pratham Sur Saadhe’ on youtube in raag Bhoop, a raag created by her. After listening to that I can definitely say one thing that sur was her sadhna. Vidushi Kishori Amonkar had a personal interest in ghazals. She was a great fan of the famous ghazal maestro Mehndi Hasan.
Temperamental, a musical genius, purist, unparallel –Vidushi Kishori Amonkar would be 85 today if she was living today. She left us almost a week ago and whole nation mourned on her death. She was a perfectionist and she would not leave the green room before the concert until the tanpuras were tuned to her satisfaction. She was awarded by Padma Bhusan in 1987, Padma Vibushan in 1987, Sangeet Natak Academy Award in 1985 and also the Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowship in 2009. Vidushi Kishori Amonkar was also one of the seven artists who were awarded by the M.S. Subbulakshmi Award for classical music.
At last on her birthday I pay my tribute to this great musical genius and artist. Though she has left us but she will always remain alive in the hearts of the music lovers across the globe through her music. Her music is immortal. Mahro Pranam!!