'Classical music cannot be learned overnight'

Jan 23, 2013, 10:14 IST | Swapnal Tilekar

Pune-based Classical singer Anand Bhate chatted with The Guide about his musical journey, learning under Pandit Bhimsen Joshi and the latest trends in music

Anand Bhate is a Hindustani classical vocalist from the Kirana Gharana. He is especially known for his rendition of songs from the popular Marathi film Balgandharva. Excerpts from an interview:

Musician Anand Bhate

Musical journey started early
My great grandfather was a classical singer and was known as Bhatebua; so, music is in my blood. Listening to him, I started to play the harmonium from the age of 3. When my family noticed my inclination towards music, they decided to give me training. That’s how, Chandrashekhar Deshpande became by first teacher followed by Yashwantbua Marathe. Then, from 1988 onwards, I started training under the legendary Pandit Bhimsen Joshi.As a child artist, I got invitations to perform at events such as the Bruhan Maharashtra Mandal Adhiveshan. But this did not affect my studies as my parents were particular about my schooling. I got to learn academically as well as musically.

On the Guru-Shishya tradition
The Guru-Shishya tradition is functional even today but there have been changes in it. It was inevitable as it had to change with time. Fortunately, the principles are the same. The tradition allows you to learn various aspects of music directly from the Guru which also ensures you never forget it. It is very important to spend time with your teacher if one has to learn notations and science behind the music.

Significance of Gharanas
The gharana system has prime importance in learning traditional music. But as Panditji had said, each gharana has its own significance and it is reflected through the music.

On Pandit Bhimsen Joshi
Learning under Pandit Bhimsen Joshi was an immense pleasure. Even by listening to his recordings you can learn a lot of things, so attending his sessions face to face was a phenomenal experience. He was a straightforward person but he never raised his voice or shouted at his apprentices. He was a minimal speaker but his speech had a lot of impact. We won’t have a great classical singer like him again.

Today’s music
The industry is growing today with Western influences like Rock and Pop music. But nevertheless, there is a usage of classical elements even in Western music and youngsters are inclined towards Indian classical music. Thanks to legends such as Bhimsenji, people enjoy the classical genre even if they are not trained in the same. For today’s musicians who want to learn the purest form of music, I would tell them to be patient and practice more. That is the only way to learn the form as its not something which can be learnt overnight. 

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