Bhimsen Joshi

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Pandit Bhimsen Joshi, the legendary superstar of the Kirana Gharana.

Bhimsen Gururaj Joshi (Kannada: ಭೀಮಸೇನ ಗುರುರಾಜ ಜೋಷಿ, February 4, 1922January 24, 2011) was an Indian vocalist in the Hindustani classical tradition trained under Sawai Gandharva. He was known as the "living superstar of the Kirana Gharana". His repertoire is in the khayal form of singing. He was renowned also for renditions of devotional music such as bhajans and abhangs. He was widely acclaimed and honoured and his notable awards are the Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowship in 1998, the highest honour conferred by Sangeet Natak Akademi, India's National Academy for Music, Dance and Drama and the Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian honour, in 2008. He has recorded songs for films and also sung few celebrated patriotic songs such as Mile Sur Mera Tumhara in the music video (1988) with several other celebrated singers and the National Anthem Jana Gana Mana produced by A. R. Rahman on the occasion of 50th year of Indian Republic.


  • I accept this honour on behalf of all Hindustani vocalists who have dedicated their life to music.

About Bhimsen Joshi

  • The legendary vocalist Bhimsen Joshi emerged from those remarkable days when creative processes were marked by diversity of thought and emotion.
  • Music challenged him and he pushed its boundaries.
  • His exposition of a Khayal is a perfectly balanced presentation showing his excellence in all its varied components.
    • Analysis of his success of the Platinum Award by the H.M.V. Company for the outstanding sale of of his classical records Deśapāṇḍe, Vāmana Harī (1 January 1989). Between Two Tanpuras. Popular Prakashan. pp. 177–. ISBN 978-0-86132-226-8. 
  • Such was Joshi's talent that he effortlessly changed tracks from classical music to abhang, natyageet, semi-classical and even playback singing.
  • Pandit Jasraj, he was a chaumukha gayak: a man who revelled in a bhajan or a khayal with equal verve and joy
  • He was a great vocalist but even a greater human being. He used to treat me like his daughter and we used to meet frequently. I am fortunate that I got an opportunity to record a bhajan with him. I was very scared while singing with him but he encouraged me



By Music critique S N Chandrasekhar"Haunting melodic grace of Pandit Bhimsen Joshi". Deccan Herald. Retrieved on 29 November 2013. 

  • One of the illustrious disciples of the famed, Kirana Gharana, hallowed by such great luminaries like its styliser Abdul Karim Khan and his own legendary mentor Rambhau Kundagolkar, better known as Sawai Gandharva, Bhimsen by his stentorian vocalism lent a new dimension to the gharana.
  • ...his chiselled style was an amalgamation of the very best in the tradition of Hindustani classical music, nay music in its fullness, a musical inheritance that goes back to the all-time greats like a Thansen, a Tyagaraja or a Beethoven.
  • What captured the heart and soul of the discerning listener was his uncanny craftiness and skill, the unfailing imaginative flights, rhythmic continuity and singular charm, making their lasting impact.
  • He was a genius who could not only transcend all theoretical boundaries of a technique, but verily transport any category of listener to a sublime realm. No wonder, he had among his fans as many votaries of Hindustani style as its Carnatic counterpart.
  • His gifted voice could exfoliate the contrasting emotions of anguish and ecstasy with equal felicity; his impassioned rendition of both the major melodies like a Thodi or Kalyan in their multifarious variations and their minor counterparts like Bhoop or Abhogi with equal aplomb. In either case, one could only marvel at his unfailing deep, powerful and penetrating vocalism. Equally emphatic was the way he could throw away the values and sanctity of sweetness to unleash a flurry of rollicking bol-taans, an exquisite feat which was not easily fathomable by any other artiste in living memory.
  • What is more, Bhimsen was as much at home in encapsulating the classical mode as in toying with the lighter variety of music. While his alap, bhadat and bandish in the classical mode sported a proportioned, balanced and serene majesty of the melodic range, the lighter Bhava Geet, Thumri, Abhang and Dasapadas were redolent with discreet lyrical flavour.
  • The effortless ease with which his tried vocal chords alternately contrasted the vibrant and tender shades is another special characteristics of Bhimsen’s rendition, capable of capturing the subtlest tones, at once showcasing the aesthetic majesty and grandeur of his exceptionally captivating quality of singing.
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