Posts Tagged ‘Lalmani Misra’

Bonding Voices Blending Strings

09.02.14

photo3He is pretty weak – one might say, fragile – these days. For the necessary movements, he prefers to walk on his own, holding on to wall and furniture rather than take human help. Failing eyesight makes it difficult for him to recognize people unless they come close under bright light. The speech falters and one wonders if he is meeting the famed musician and composer who carved his signature in playing Santoor and created a whole new choir based on Indian classical music. Pt. Omprakash Chourasiya, one of the senior players of Santoor, established Madhukali Vrind with the express of reviving the ancient tradition of orchestration and choral singing. Instead of Vedic hymns he chose poems of national poets. All these poets, in their own way, had contributed to enriching the modern Hindi language.

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Veena Heritage Alive

08.12.13

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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.

4PAN1TIf 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.

Tribute to Shankars: On Art & Human Warmth

05.08.13

As recalled by Pt. Omprakash Chourasiya

Ample literature is available on contribution of Pandit Udayshankar and Pandit Ravishankar in getting universal acclaim for Indian classical music and dance. Topmost celebrities and experts from around the world have highlighted their qualities. During the period when I was in process of being recognized RaviOmprakashas an upcoming artiste of Santoor, it was divine intervention that I was granted access to both of these stalwarts as a family-friend. I was blessed with their kind concern. This clearly indicated that with these great celebrities the only thing which counted was music. A scholar of music was musician first, anything else besides, and therefore, worthy of their attention.

Ravi ji’s elder brother Udayshankar had become active as early as 1930s, touring round the globe with his ballet troupe and earning kudos for Indian art. The troupe required live music and for some time Ravishankar ji too acted as music director for the troupe. When after a brief stint, Ustad Allauddin Khan too expressed his inability to travel with the troupe Pandit Lalmani Misra was requested to accompany the troupe. For several years during late forties and early fifties, Pandit Misra travelled creating novel orchestral compositions.

Click here to read Tribute to Pandit Udayshankar and Pandit Ravishankar by Pt. Omprakash Chourasiya