A meeting ground

In popular imagination the Vindhyas represent the boundary between north and south India. In the case of music, that boundary while far more diffuse inarguably runs through Karnataka. While Dharwad, Hubli and Belgaum in the northern parts of the state have spawned Hindustani musicians such as Bhimsen Joshi and Gangubai Hangal, Bangalore and Mysore in south Karnataka have been nurturing grounds for Carnatic musicians. The Mysore school of music has produced several renowned Carnatic musicians from veena vidwans such as Veena Seshanna, Mysore Doraiswamy Iyengar to violinist Chowdiah and the present-day violinists (brothers) Mysore Nagaraj and Mysore Manjunath to name just a few.

Gangubai Hangal(1913-2009) was a famous exponent of the Kirana Gharana and a native of Hubli.

Click here to listen to Gangubai Hangal singing Raag Chandrakauns. 

Mysore Doraiswamy Iyengar (1920-1997) was one of the most famous veena vidwans in recent times. Apart from solo concerts, he had also given jugalbandhi concerts with violinist Mysore T. Chodiah and Hindustani musicians such as Ustad Ali Akbar Khan.

Click here to listen to Mysore Doraiswamy Iyengar playing Pogaadilero Ranga, a popular Haridasa composition in raga Shankarabhanam.

Jugalbandhi is a musical concert that has two soloists, either vocal or instrumental who perform as peers on the same platform. The concept has gained popularity as it also features musicians presenting the two styles of classical music – Hindustani and Carnatic.

There is one artiste in Bangalore who presents both Hindustani and Carnatic music in the same concert – Shyamala Bhave. The title “Dakshinottaram” was conferred on her as a testimony to her unique skills of presenting both styles of music. A dimunitive woman, Shyamala Bhave who is in her 70s now, packs quite a punch on stage. Her extraordinary talent was recognized by several musical organizations and she was bestowed with the title “Ubhaya Gaana Vidushi” by the late M. Visweswarayya. She runs a music school “Saraswati Sangeet Vidyalaya” in Seshadripuram that was founded by her father in 1930. The six year-old pig-tailed girl who did her riyaaz (practice) in the still of the night has certainly come a long way to become one of the leading classical musicians of our city.

Click here to listen to Dr. Shyamala G. Bhave in a concert that highlights Dakshinottaram.






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About Chitra Srikrishna 50 Articles
Chitra Srikrishna is a Carnatic vocalist and writer living in Bengaluru & Columbus. Chitra blogs for Sruti, runs the podcast Raga Ruminations and produces RaagTime, a radio show on Indian music. Her albums include devotional poetry of Tamil Alwars & Dasa kritis, & thematic compositions on Rama and Hanuman. She's the musical half of a multimedia performance duo HumRaag. Her program BHAKTHI explores the journey of the mystics of India. Her latest Antah Prerna -A Musical Telling of an Entrepreneur's Journey debuted at Bangalore International Centre in 2018.