Music has been as much a discipline for study as it has been an art-form. Natural ease with musical expression had prompted Dr. Lalmani Misra to try out various instruments. It was both, the extra-ordinary quality of the instrument and the diminishing number of its practitioners, that he decided to take up Vichitra Veena. By the daytime he played and taught various instruments to students, at night, he played Vichitra Veena working out ways to exploit the range of this grand incarnation of Ektantri Veena.
Invited to initiate study of Indian classical music, when he reached America, willing students enrolled to learn melody-based structured system. By now, the continent was familiar with sound of Sitar and Sarod. The deep tonal sound of Vichitra Veena accorded a new experience. He was invited to play at one venue after other and soon invites from other cities started floating in. Dr. Misra was a teacher first and so had to defer several of them.
Back to his duties as Dean, Faculty of Performing Arts and Fine Arts, at B.H.U. he had still less time to give public recitals. He could find time only for the Akashvani recordings at due intervals and for occasional recitals at Malviya Bhawan in B.H.U., and in the city. So, it was in America that he could play Vichitra Veena in public at least once a week. A prodigy, he had started out being an artiste at an early age and having experienced this life to full, accepted the role of an academic in his thirties. Never had he stopped playing; but, little benefit would reach public, as his academic responsibilities kept him from public performances. Almost two decades later, he could perform with some regularity.
If all his recordings are preserved, Akashvani would have over fifty Raga-s he played on Vichitra Veena. If all these recordings find the light of day the quality of appreciation of Indian music is sure to improve. For the time being, it is his live recordings in America that are surer to reach the listeners. These recordings were preserved with care first by son Gopal Shankar Misra and after his death on August 13, 1999, by daughter-in-law Padmaja Misra. On this occasion, Dr. Padmaja Misra said, “If Akashvani publishes even a few of their (Dr. Lalmani Misra and Dr. Gopal Shankar Misra) recordings, it shall greatly benefit as example and encouragement to Veena players.” It would indeed make it easier to understand and practice the Misrabani style, if both father and son’s recordings were made available. Some of these recordings may have been collected on cassettes after broadcast, but Akashvani alone has the original tapes. Till then, it is only recitals recorded in America that might reach the audience. The music world shall be deeply indebted to his American disciples, especially Nancy Nalbandian, for recording Dr. Misra’s Vichitra Veena performances.
In the first volume of Misrabani Vichitra Veena heritage aLive, RagaMalgunji and Raga Bhupali have been presented. The technique of Misrabani makes both presentations unique. Pt. Ishwarlal Mishra accompanied on Tabla. The CD is contained in a digi-pack and album cover displays a close up of Veena being played from one of the photographs taken during recital. The music is available from several online music stores both for download and as compact disc.