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Bismillah Khan 3

Ustad Bismillah Khan

Teen Taal

About this album

The most outstanding Shehnai player in India, Bismillah Khan is now the most venerated artiste in India. By sheer precision and an astute artistic sense he has made for himself this place in the domain of Indian classical music. He claims descent from the Paigambar Bux lineage and married the daughter of Mian Bilatu, the veteran shehnai player.

Moreover, he received advanced training from Mohammed Hussain, son of Natthan Khan of the Agra gharana. As a result, the shehnai player had two-fold training that served well in perfecting his style of rendition to a degree unconcealed by any other shehnai player of his time.

Bismillah Khan hails from the state of Bihar and was initiated into the art of shehnai - playing by his uncle. Later, after he had obtained proficiency and popularity, he became attached to the famous shrine of Lord Vishwananth at Banaras, the Holiest of the holy critics.

Bismillah Khan has revolutionized the style of playing shehnai and transformed the traditional folk instrument into a major one by virtue of innovation and craftsmanship. Shehnai had long been suitable for short pieces like thumri, dhun and folk tunes. But Bismillah Khan started playing vilambit and drut gats in the typical style of Hindustani Classical music. Thus shehnai, with this brilliant artiste, has found a distinctive place in the realm of classical Indian music as a major concert-instrument.

The first side of this album features the raga Puriya Dhanashree. Although this raga may have originated as a mixture of contours of Puriya and Dhanashree, today it has acquired the status as the de-facto basic raga of the Purvi scale, edging out the more traditional Purvi raga. Pancham and Rishab are significant platforms and the contour Ma Re Ga is growing to be a Puriya Dhanashree signature. As the raga gained popularity, it admitted greater flexibility in phrase-permutations and is today as vastly improvised as Yaman.

Bhairavi is the raga of all colors - the only raga which in classical form allows all the notes of the chromatic scale to operate.


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