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Bhimsen Joshi

Bhimsen Joshi

Full Name- Bhimsen Gururaaj Joshi
Born- February 4th, 1922, Gadag, Karnataka, India
Died- 24th January, 2011, Pune, Maharashtra, India (Aged 88)
Origin- Gadag, Karnataka, India
Genres- Hindustan Classical Music
Occupation- Singer
Years Active- 1941-2011

Pandit Bhimsen Gururaaj Joshi was a legendary Indian vocalist in the Hindustani classical tradition. He belonged to the Kirana Gharana and was known for his Khyal style of singing as well as for his famous renditions of Bhajans and Abhangs. He was widely known as the person behind the song 'Mile Sur Mera Tumhara'.

He recently received Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian award in the year of 2008.

Early Life

Bhimsen Gururaaj Joshi was born in the southern city of Gadag in Karnataka, India on 4th February, 1922. His father, Gururaaj Joshi was a pure Kannadiga. Bhimsen was the eldest among his 16 siblings. Even today some of his siblings live in Gadag. Bhimsen lost his mother at a tender age and later his stepmother raised him.

As a child, Bhimsen Joshi was very much fascinated with music and musical instruments like Harmonium and 'Tanpura'. It was his craving for music that he decided to make a career in singing and also longed for a music teacher to teach him.

Search for Guru

His search for Guru ended when he found his Guru in Rambhau Kundgolkar (Swami Gandharva), a native of Dhrwar in 1936. He stayed at his home and learned the skills of singing and music.

Career

Pandit Bhimsen Joshi's first live performance was in 1941. His debut album contained some Hindi and Kannada songs which were released by the leading music company of that time, HMV in 1942. Bhimsen later moved to Mumbai in 1943 and worked as a radio artist. His performance to celebrate the 60th birth anniversary of Guru Swami Gandharva was hailed by audiences and his critics alike in 1946.

Bhimsen's music has been hailed by masses and the critics. His performances have been marked by some exceptional and accurate notes especially the dizzyingly-paced Taans which is a clear example of his voice training and full marks to his Guru for that.

Personal Life- He was a football and yoga fan. He had even a passion for cars. He also used to consume alcohol but after he realized that it's affecting his career, he left it in 1979.

Illness & Death

Due to the gastrointestinal bleeding and bilateral pneumonia, Pandit Bhimsen Joshi was admitted in Pune's Sahyadri Super Specialty Hospital on 31st December, 2010. He improved a bit after some days but his condition deteriorated further. He breathed his last on 24th January, 2011 at 08:00 am, merely 11 days before his 89th birthday and with his death a chapter of Hindustani classical music was closed as well.

Awards and Recognitions

  • 1971-Padma Shree
  • 1976- Sangeet Natak Akademi Award
  • 1985- Padma Bhushan
  • 1985- National Award For Best Playback Singer
  • 1999- Padma Vibhushan
  • 2002- Maharashtra Bhushan
  • 2005- Karnataka Ratna
  • 2008- Bharat Ratna
  • 2009- Lifetime Achievement Award by Delhi Government
  • 'Swathi Sangeet Puraskaram' by The Government of Kerala
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