Kishan Maharaj

Pandit Kishan Maharaj

Tambura Player
Jyoti Bhawalkar
Sarangi Player
Ramesh Mishra

About this album

Pandit Kishan Maharaj is one of the finest tabla players of our time. Born in 1923 in the holy city of Varanasi (also known as Banaras), his career spans over half a century. He began accompanying the principal artistes of the day at the tender age of eleven years. Kishan Maharaj's ability to play cross rhythms and produce complex calculations particularly in Tihai patterns has made him one of the most respected and popular Tabla players of his time.

Kishan Maharaj, whose ancestry boasts of many professional musicians, also has an illustrious pedigree of teachers. He was first taught by his father, Pandit Hari Maharaj. After the death of his father, his training was taken over by his Uncle Kanthe Maharaj, one of the great old masters and himself a disciple of Baldeo Sahai. The latters' father and teacher, Bhairav Sehai, was the nephew and foremost pupil of Pandit Ram Sahai, founder of the Benaras Gharana.

It is generally accepted that there are six Gharanas, each with a distinct style of tabla playing. The Benaras Gharana is the youngest of these six traditions. Founded in the 18th century by Pandit Ram Sahai, the Benaras tradition has come to be the most influential style today. It has contributed much to the technique and repertoire of modern tabla playing. As a principal member of the Benaras Gharana, Kishan Maharaj has helped to establish the popularity of this playing style. Some of the most outstanding members of this Gharana are presented in the lineage chart below, and in this recording Kishan Maharaj has performed some rare compositions of members of his famous ancestry.

Honored by many cultural organizations and appointed to several Government committees, Pandit Kishan Maharaj was awarded the Padma Shri by the President of India. He has made several recordings and performed at the Edinburgh Festival and Commonwealth Arts Festival in the UK, in 1965.

After a gap of thirty years, Kishan Maharaj returned to the UK as a principal artist in the Sama Festival of Arts of India. This recording was made on 22nd July 1995 at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, London, where Kishan Maharaj is accompanied by Ramesh Mishra on the Sarangi and Jyoti Bhawalkar played the Tanpura.


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