Pt. Kumar Gandharva

Pandit Kumar Gandharva (1924-1992) (original name: Shivaputra Siddharamaiyya Komkali) was the leading intellectual among Hindustani Classical Musicians. He was an eminent khayal singer of this century. His original style and his refusal to stay within the confines of the Gharana tradition of Hindustani music made him a controversial figure. He had a very wide repertoire that included standard ragas, rare and complicated ragas, and folk songs, particularly from the Malwa region of Madhya Pradesh, bhajans and Marathi stage songs ("natya sangeet"). Kumar studied very closely the folk music of Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Malwa and other regions. This led him into composing Geet Hemant, Geet Varsha, Geet Shishir and Triveni - bhajans of the three great saints Kabir, Surdas and Meera - which proved to be a sensational hit. These experiments portrayed his revolutionary spirit and his bid to be a trendsetter. Kumar is credited with the creation of a substantial number of new ragas, which include the Sanjari, Malavati, Bihad Bhairava, Saheli Todi, Gandhi Malhar and Sohoni Bhatiyar.

He also composed songs attributed to different seasons, devotional songs and compositions of thumri, tappa and tarana. He was awarded the Sangeet Natak Akademi award in 1974, Kalidas Samman Award in 1985 and the prestigious Padma Bhushan and the Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowship in 1988.