Category Archives: 1900-1920

On Lakshman Bhattacharya, the Sitar Legend of Bengal

Told by Swapna Mukherji
Obtained by Suranjita Paul
Date 2nd March 2017
Place 60/2/7 Kabi Bharati Sarani, Lake Road. Kolkata- 700029
About the speaker Swapna Mukherji is a well-known Sitar Player. She is the daughter as well as a disciple of Sri Amiya Bhushan Chattopadhyay [disciple of Pt. Lakshman Bhattacharya].  She was a graded Staff artist of All India Radio, served both in Raipur and Calcutta Station of All India Radio.
Tags Sitar, Swapna Mukherjee, Amiya Bhushan Chattopadhyay, Lakshan Bhattacharya, Gharana, Moody, 1915, 1954, Lucknow, Omrao Khan, Ghulam Mohammad Khan, Tazish Khan, Surbahar, Bamacharan Bhatttacharya, Jitendra Mohan bhattacharya, Kolkata, Dhrupada Anga,
Language Bengali

Swapna Mukherji speaks:

 Data processed at SAP-DRS Lab, Department of Instrumental Music, Rabindra Bharati University.

 

Baby Cried In Pancham, The Maestro was Born—Naming of Ustd. Bade Ghulam Ali Khan

Told by Dr. Amlan Dasgupta
Obtained by Rajeswary Ganguly Banerjee
Date 20th Februray. 2017
Place Jadavpur University, Department of English
About the speaker Amlan Das Gupta is a Professor of English, Jadavpur University, He has built an archive of North Indian classical music at the School of Cultural Texts and Records at Jadavpur University. He has also offered a course on the history of North Indian Classical Music. Education – University of Oxford.
Tags Amalendu Dasgupta, Delhi, Radio, Akashvani, Bade Ghulam Ali Khan, Ludhiana, Ali Baksh Khan, Kale Khan, Sarengi, Pancham
Language English, Hindi

Dr.  Amlan Dasgupta Speaks :

Text version:

I heard this story from my father. My father worked for the Radio as a  news, news editor in Delhi in early years of Akashvani, and even though this is a story from Delhi, it is worth thinking about because it involves a figure who was very close to  the Calcutta music scene, that’s Bade Ghulam Ali Khan sahab. Now my father  who was you know, who’s musical taste was entirely built when he was a student in Kolkata then he had gone to work in Delhi, He found a way of visiting Bade Ghulam Ali Khan Sahab when he was staying at  somebody’s  house, some rich person’s house at Delhi. I think this  was that ill fated  visit when he was fed on various kinds of vegetables and so he was very very depressed and then he organised, he did not eat at the house, he organised a  kind of kitchen outside in the lawn and personally supervised it, and he got his ‘Ghee’ from Ludhiana or somewhere like that. That how this stories are. My father went to see him and there were lots of stories. He sat and waited for him, and he even looked at him, hours past, whatever,  so at one point they got talking at least Ghulam Ali Khan he  Sahab started talking. The story is of the variant stories about cow and Dog and Bird and the waves all these things. It was really beautiful stories   that went like this and this amazing this amazing connection that Ghiulam Ali Khan Sahab’s music had with nature, there were various kind of expressing the basic relationship with nature I think that is in story for me. But this story is something different. This story is about, when he was very young and he was lying in the lap of his father Ali Baksh Khan Sahab and there was concert going on in his house, the house of Ali Baksh Khan Sahab in which Kale Khan Sahab was singing and there was somebody else I forget the name, the name is not clear. So both the ustad  were singing and when dono ustad pancham pe khari, and stopped and the sarengiya was about to play the Pancham this child started crying in Pancham. Then dono ustads stopped singing and said ‘Yeh Baccha Kaun Hay’?   ‘Yeh Aapka Ghulam Hai’ That’s why he was called Ghulam Ali Khan Sahab. That’s the story.

Verbatim by Rajeswary Ganguly Banerjee

Note: Although this anecdote describes about an event in Delhi, this is of immense significance. This is connected to Ustd. Bade Ghulam Ali Khan as a baby and the event that was responsible for  his naming as Ghulam Ali is portrayed here. BGK was born in 1902. So, the incident may have happened when he was between 1 to 3 years old.  Khansahib had a very intimate connection with the city of Calcutta. – Editor

Data processed at SAP-DRS Lab, Department of Instrumental Music, Rabindra Bharati University.

The Tawaifs of Kolkata—An Old Kolkata Music-Tapestry

Told by Sri Rantideb Maitra
Obtained by Rajeswary Ganguly Banerjee
Date 4th March,2017
Place Sri Rantideb Moitro’s Residence, Madur Daho, Kolkata
About the speaker Renowned Music Collector and Music Connoisseur
Tags Tawaif, 1920’s, Baijis, Classical Singer, Malkajan, Gaharjan, Manoda Sundari, Krisnabhamini, Indubala, Angurbala, Sarengi, Accompanist, Bandish, Alladiya Khan, Ustad, Gouri Shankar Mishra, Vishmadev Chattopadhyay, Dhrupad, Khayal, Thumri, Aghor  Chakraborty, Gopeshwar Bandopadhyay, Satya Kinkar Bandopadhyay, Maharaja of Natore, Maharaja of lalgola, Maharaja of Panchokot, Jyotindra Mohan Tagore, Peara Saheb, Jadumoni, Sourindra Mohan Tagore, Kesarbai Kerkar, Alladiya Khan, Seth Dulichand, Shyamlal Khetri, Petron, Bombay
Language English

Sri Rantideb Maitra speaks :

Text version:

During the early part of 20th century, the Calcutta music scene was, at least the vocal music was dominated by Tawaifs and the Baijis, not that their male counter parts in the sense that the most popular classical singers of that point of time were all tawaifs, I mean you can name anybody, you can name Malkajan, you can name Gaharjan, you can name Manoda Sundari , Krisna Bhamini right up to Indubala, Angurbala,  and everyone, and they were much more popular than their counter parts.   Now where did they learn their music from? It’s a two way process, in some cases it was found that the tawaifs they themselves took fancy on some good looking male  musicians and taught them music, they mostly learnt from Sarengi players, because Sarengi players use to you know accompany so many artists all over India, and they use to pay the sarengiwalas as per the Bandishes, may be one sarengiwalas has played with  Alladiya Khan, and she liked the Bandish and maybe she will pay hundred rupees or fifty rupees or whatever it is, and sometimes they used to employ ustads themselves, and the terms of employment was, that ustad would you know  never teach any other ‘Baais’. So it is you know captive ustad. Like for example  ’Gauri Shankar Mishra’ was captive to ‘Gauhar jaan’ and ‘Gauhar jaan’ only allowed ’Gauri Shankar Mishra’ when she became  old and she moved away from Calcutta, at that point of time  ’Gauri Shankar Mishra’ teach ‘Indubala’ and even ‘Vishmadev Chattopadhyay’ and lot of people. But till such time  ‘Gauhar jaan’ did not release ’Gauri Shankar Mishra’, ’Gauri Shankar Mishra’ could only you know only teach ‘Gauhar jaan’ the Bandishes. Now in  the case of the ‘ Dhrupadiyas’ of Bengal the situation was different because they never learnt from any ‘Tawaifs’ because mostly the ‘Tawaifs’ sang ‘Khayal ’and ‘Thumri’, but not ‘Dhrupads’, and the ‘Dhrupadiya’ of Bengal like ‘Aghor Chakraborty’ ‘ Gopeshwar Bandopadhyay’ or ‘Satyakinkar Bandopadhyay’,  they avoided those class of musicians, not that they didn’t like them, they liked their music,  but they never you know,  they never imitated their style of music, and these ‘Tawaifs’ also, they were very eager to learn ‘Dhrupad’, but unfortunately their doors were shut to the middle class Bengali Brahmin ‘Dhrupad’ singers. So when, Maharaja Jyotindra Mohan Tagore, because Satyakinkar Babu  was a employed by lots of the Maharajas at that time, like Maharaja of Natore was there, Maharaja of Lalogola, Maharaja of Pachakot and eventually he became court musician of Maharaja Jyotindra Mohan Thakur after Piyara Saheb left the court of Jyotindra Mohan Tagore. But one of the terms of his contract with the Maharaja was that he will never urge him or force him or to teach any ‘Tawaif’ because all the zamindars and rajas, they had their favourite ‘Taawaifs’, whom they used to groom. Like take the case of Jadumoni who was groomed by  Shourindra Mohan Tagore, I mean even Kesarbai had one such, you know mentor, who paid for Kesarbai’s tuitions for Alladiya Khan. In the case of many ‘Tawaifs ‘ they were supported by many wealthy  patrons to learn music. But Satyakinkar Babu never you know, taught any ‘Tawaifs’ and that was one of terms of, I mean I gave you social picture of that time also. So in this context it is important.

Can we please have the name of that person, who patronised Kesarbai Kerkar?

Yah, it was Seth Dhulichand, I mean there were lot of patrons but one was Seth Dhulichand, was originally from Kolkata, then The Khetri, Shyamlala Khetri , their shop is still existing, khetri jewellers, Calcutta, bhawanipore, Punya Cinema, khetri jewellers, and there were other patrons from Bombay, I mean  I forget their names, but these two were definitely patron of Kesarbai from Bombay(Calcutta).

Data processed at SAP-DRS Lab, Department of Instrumental Music, Rabindra Bharati University.

The Pride of Music was Saved at The Royal Court—Remembering Sangeetacharya Satyakinkar Bandopadhyay

Told by Sri Rantideb Maitra
Obtained by Rajeswary Ganguly Banerjee
Date 4th March,2017
Place Sri Rantideb Moitro’s Residence, Madur Daho, Kolkata
About the speaker Renowned Music Collector and Music Connoisseur
Tags Satyakinkar Bandopadhyay, Faiyaz Khan, Jyotirindra Mohan Tagore, Pathuriaghata, Shourindra Mohan Tagore, Patronage, Tanpura, Pakhawaj, Court Singer, Maharaja of Gwalior, Nizam, Alap, Khayal, Saraswati
Language English

Sri Rantideb Maitra speaks :

Text version:

The first anecdote is about two  great musicians, one Sangeetacharyay Satyakinkar Bandopadhyay and The other Ustad Faiyaz Khan, and it happened  at the house of Maharaja Jyotindra Mohan Tagore at Pathuriaghata, The Grandson of Sourindra Mohun Tagore (?). I heard it from Sangeetacharyay Satyakinkar Bandopadhyay himself. He said that during that time of royal patronage The royal patrons always looked down on the musicians. In the sense that if they are singing they are expected to sing at a posture, sitting on the ground with tanpuras, pakhawaj, table whatever it is and The Rajas and The Maharajas used to sit in couch, and just listened to their  music from a elevated position.  He never liked that short of arrangement and once at the house of Jyotindra Mohan Tagore when he was a court singer, in fact Satyakinkar Bandopadhyay was a court singer to Jyotindra Mohan Tagore of Pathuriaghata. Faiyez Khan and Satyakinkar Babu was suppose to sing in honor of The Maharaja of Gwalior and His Excellency Nizam who were visiting Jyotindra Mohan Tagore at that time and He arranged a musical evening of these two great masters and The first artist was Faiyaz Khan, and he sang Alap and Khayal seating  on the ground and Nizam and Mahraja of Gwalior and Jyotindra Mohan Tagore they were just enjoying the music seating on the sofas. And when the turn came for Satyakinkar Babu to sing he just refused to sing. He said that I am not accustomed to sing in this manner because I am a worshiper  of Goddess Saraswati and I cannot bring her down to that level where Saraswati would be just, you know,  seating  beneath the feet of a mortal, so he also reprimanded  Faiyaz Khan Sahab, he said that he was such a great Ustad, he was such a great master of music, how he can you know, are you not proud enough of you know, of your music, and if you are proud of your music then how you can humiliate the muse of music in this fashion, you should never do this in future, you are quite rich, you can afford not to sing,  and he said that I can also afford not to sing and I  will not sing. So what happened, there was an altercation Jyotindra Mohan Tagore and Satyakinkar Babu and  to avoid any other,  you know untoward incidents or embarrassment  a makeshift arrangement was made, another spring sofa  was brought at par with the Maharajas and Satyakinkar Babu said that you know he used to , he sat on the sofa but unfortunately it was a spring sofa, during that time, and he was, his entire thing went down with the spring, with  his pakhawaj player and everything, and it was so uncomfortable, but he said at least you know the pride of  music was saved for that day. That was one incident which he told me. This period must 1927-28, during that time.

Data processed at SAP-DRS Lab, Department of Instrumental Music, Rabindra Bharati University.

Ustad Vishmadev Chatterjee as a Child Prodigy

Told by Sri Jayanta Chattopadhyay
Obtained by Rajeswary Ganguly Banerjee
Date 6th December, 2016
Place S.A.P. Lab, Instrumental Department, Rabindra Bharati University, B.T. Road Campus.
About the speaker Renowned Vocalist and Musicologist, Son of Legendary Musician Ustad Vishmadev Chattopadhyay.
Tags  F#, Scale, Radhika Prasad Goswami, Bishnupur Gharana, Talim, Nagendranath Dutta, Ngendranath Bhattachryay, Dhrupad, Dhrupadiya, Khalifa, Badal Khan, 1921, 1914, 1916
Language Bengali

Sri Jayanta Chattopadhyay speaks :

 

This anecdotes speaks of Ustad Vishmadev Chatterjee in his child age of 5 years/7 years. He was born in 1909. Therefore 1914 and 1916 have been identified as the time when he was 5 and 7 year old. – Editor

 

Data processed at SAP-DRS Lab, Department of Instrumental Music, Rabindra Bharati University.

Initial Talim of Ustad Vishmadev Chattopadhyay

Told by Sri Jayanta Chattopadhyay
Obtained by Rajeswary Ganguly Banerjee
Date 6th December, 2016
Place S.A.P. Lab, Instrumental Department, Rabindra Bharati University, B.T. Road Campus.
About the speaker Renowned Vocalist and Musicologist, Son of Legendary Musician Ustad Vishmadev Chattopadhyay.
Tags Ramkrishna Paramhansa Dev, Gangananda Swami, Vishmadev Chattopadhyay, 1909, Hoogly, 1914, Flute, Ashutosh Chattopadhyay, Pravabati Devi, Sharot Das, Sarat, Balaram Dey Street, Gulu Ostagor Lane,  Chidam Mudi Lane, Sarkar Lane
Language Bengali

Sri Jayanta Chattopadhyay speaks :

 

 

Data processed at SAP-DRS Lab, Department of Instrumental Music, Rabindra Bharati University.

                 

Remembering the Durlabha Bhattacharya, the Doyen of Pakhawaj Playing in Bengal

Told by Partha Pratim Choudhury
Obtained by Suranjita Paul
Date 1st December 2016
Place SAP-LAB Department of Instrumental music. Rabindra Bharati University
About the speaker Partha Pratim Choudhury is a famed Pakhawaj player and Guest Faculty of the Department of Instrumental Music, Rabindra Bharati University.
Tags Durlabha Bhattacharya, All India Radio Music Conference, Nikhil Banga Sangeet Sammelan, Vishnupur Gharana, Lakshmi Narayan Mishra, Ggopeswara Bandyopadhyay, Pratap Narayan Mishra, Jiten Satra, Kashi, Nikhil Bharat Sangeet Sammelan, Mridanga, Pakhawaj, Subodh Chandra Dey, Harendra Nath Bhattacharya, Ghanashyam Bhattacharya, Girija Chakraborty, Radhika Prasad Goswami, Mahim Chandra Mukhopadhyay, Viswanath Rao, Amar Bhattacharya, Jogendra Nath Bandyapadhyay, Ayodhya Ram Pathak, Binay Chattapadhyay, Abinash Sanyal, Narendra Bagchi, 1904
Language Bengali

Dr. Partha Pratim Choudhury speaks:

 

 

Metadata generated by Suranjita Paul

 Data processed at SAP-DRS Lab, Department of Instrumental Music, Rabindra Bharati University.

Murari Mohan Gupta—Cultivation and nurturing of Dhrupad tradition in North Kolkata

Told by Partha Pratim Choudhury
Obtained by Suranjita Paul
Date 1st December 2016
Place SAP-LAB Department of Instrumental music. Rabindra Bharati University
About the speaker Partha Pratim Choudhury is a famed Pakhawaj player and Guest Faculty of the Department of Instrumental Music, Rabindra Bharati University.
Tags North Kolkata, Vishnupur, Dhrupad Gharana, Bagbazar, Thanthaniya, Sriram Chakraborty, Nimai Chakraborty, Murari Mohan Gupta, Pakhawaj, Mridanga, Srirampur College, Shibpur Engineering college, Shibdas Lane, Swami Vivekananda, Durlabha Bhattacharya, 1870, 1904, Lala Kebal Kishan
Language Bengali

Dr. Partha Pratim Choudhury speaks:

 

 

 

Metadata generated by Suranjita Paul

 Data processed at SAP-DRS Lab, Department of Instrumental Music, Rabindra Bharati University.

Forgotten stories of the golden Gramophone days—from a musician’s diary

Told by Bishoke Kumar Sil
Obtained by Suranjita Paul
Date 29th September 2016
Place 84A, Ahiritola. Kolkata- 700005
About the speaker Bishoke Kumar Sil is an eminent Sitar and Rudraveena player of Seni gharana
Tags Sailasekhar Mitra, Bagbazar, Gauharjaan, 1902-03, Theatre, Sashimukhi, Indumukhi, Voice record
Language Bengali

Bishoke Kumar Sil speaks:

 

Data processed at SAP-DRS Lab, Department of Instrumental Music, Rabindra Bharati University.

Kaukab Patent Banjo

Told by Ustd. Irfan Muhammad Khan
Obtained by Prof. Sanjoy Bandopadhyay and Troilee Dutta
Date 27 September, 2016
Place Residence of Prof. Sanjoy Bandopadhyay, 3/1/1D, Padmapukur Road, Kolkata 700092
On Irfan Muhammad Khan Irfan Md. Khan is an established Sarod Player. The scion of Lucknow Shahjanpur Gharana Sarod player. He represents the Lucknow-Shahjahanpur Gharana which has produced eminent Sarod players like Ustad Enayet Khan (1790-1883), Ustad Asadullah Khan Kaukab (1852-1919), Ustad Karamatuilah Khan (1848-1933), Prof. Sakhawat Hussain Khan (1875-1955), also his illustrious father Ustad Umar Khan (1916-1982) and his uncle Ustad Ilyas Khan (1924-1989) the famous Sitar player of Lucknow.
Key-words Asadulla Khan, Kaukab Khan, kaukabh, Pratibha Devi, Debi, Karamatullah Khan, sangeet sabha, Motilal Nehru, 1908, Paris World fare, broken sarod, Banjo, Dwarkin, Kaukab patent Banjo, Betel. Calcutta,
Language Hindi

Ustd. Irfan Muhammad Khan speaks:

 

 

Data processed at SAP-DRS Lab, Department of Instrumental Music, Rabindra Bharati University.