Music maestros pay tribute to Gangubai

Music maestros pay tribute to Gangubai

Gangubai Hangal

According to sarod maestro Shivkumar Sharma, the death of Gangubai was the end of an era.

"She was the senior most exponent of the Kirana Gharana who dedicated her entire life to the cause of music. She lived life like a saint," Sharma said.

He said the renowned vocalist had divine qualities. "She was a simple person and a great artiste. This is a combination which is hard to find in present times. She never used her singing for commercial purpose," Sharma recalled.

Flute maestro pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia said whenever Gangubai performed live on stage, her fans and admirers would feel as if they were experiencing the presence of God.

"I visited her in Hubli on her last birthday where lakhs of admirers had converged at her residence to greet her. She treated each and everybody with love and respect. We felt that she would complete 100 years of her life, but the death of her daughter Krishna had devastated her completely," Chaurasia said.

He said two years ago when he was performing in Bangalore, Gangubai graced the show on a wheelchair. "I requested her to come on stage and sing a few lines. Initially, she was not inclined. But, could not refuse. She sang for five minutes while I played the flute. It was a memorable experience," he recalled.

Begum Parveen Sultana, noted vocalist from the Kirana Gharana, said she first met Gangubai in 1964 as a 14-year-old, at the Sawai Gandharva festival in Pune.
"She took me on her lap and appreciated my voice and singing," Parveen said.

She said Gangubai was the most humble and down to earth artiste she has ever met.
"Gangubai was strict with people who do not respect musicians and music. She practiced what she preached and encouraged young artistes. She would say music is 'devachi vani' (voice of the divine) and needs to be respected," Parveen said.

The vocalist said last year she performed at Hubli and Gangubai, despite being unwell sat through the entire show for three hours. "She blessed me," Parveen said, adding that Gangubai has a collection of instruments and photographs of all musicians irrespective of their stature at her house which is like a museum.

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