A younger man would sit round Kolkata docks attempting out totally different waste supplies like PVC pipes and bamboo to create the right sound. Destined to be the patriarch of the Indian bansuri, he rose to develop into none apart from the legendary Pandit Pannalal Ghosh (1911-1960) whose identify stays synonymous with one of many world’s most chic musical devices.
Originally a folkloric instrument related to Lord Krishna, the bansuri’s charming tone was confined to village gatherings and folks merry making. It was the timeless conviction of Panna babu that elevated the easy piece of bamboo to one of many world’s most wanted devices within the 21st century.
Internationally famend tabla and sitar maestro Pandit Nayan Ghosh, nephew of Pandit Pannalal Ghosh says, “In cities across India, one can often bump into bansuri players and students on a street. Individuals from around the world fly down to India to learn the instrument. Previously it was the sitar that was the world’s most popular Indian instrument, thanks to the Pandit Ravi Shankar wave. Today, it’s the bansuri”.
Panna babu, he explains, pioneered the bansuri as a classical instrument. “He invented the larger, full-sized bansuri and made it a full-fledged concert instrument on par with sitar or sarod. He did face flak from the conservatives of his era, but his conviction was unshaken. This unparalleled contribution, which he fulfilled in a short span of just 20 years, would otherwise take generations,” Pandit Ghosh says.
Celebrated flutist Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia’s Mumbai institute Vrindavan Gurukul attracts in college students from numerous nationalities, each women and men. His eminent disciples have propagated his model in nations throughout the globe with live performance halls brimming with music lovers and the uninitiated alike. “Credit goes to Panna babu to bring the flute to center stage. It was merely an accompanying folk instrument. Today, it is Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia who is credited with the instrument’s worldwide popularity,” says the maestro’s main disciple, famed flutist Pandit Roopak Kulkarni.
He believes that his guru simplified flute enjoying methods, even the Dhrupad-ang aalap, contributing to its recognition. “We find flutes in every culture. There are Indian bansuri students from every corner of the globe — Japan, Brazil, Europe, even Pakistan! Bansuri must now be taught on university level,” he opines.
The saadhna of bansuri studying has produced excellent representatives even past India’s boundaries. Acknowledged as one of many main maestros of Western Classical flute, Chicago-based Lyon Leifer additionally stands as a top-ranking bansuri exponent of Panna babu’s model which he learnt from the legend’s disciple Pandit Devendra Murdeshwar. A number of months in the past, he organised a one-of-its variety flute seminar in Mumbai’s world-renowned conservatoire Sangit Mahabharati, the place India’s foremost bansuri masters participated.
Leifer believes that the Bansuri’s versatility has had a far-reaching impact with even worldwide genres using it. “My student Mathew Davis is a well-trained jazz musician who implements his bansuri training in an avant garde jazz trio that tours the world. He finds the Europeans very receptive to his bansuri. He also tours with a classic New Orleans Brass band and audiences love to listen to his raga music. It helps them chill!” says Leifer.
Indeed, the bansuri calms the spirit and awes the listener. A favorite topic of poets and literary figures all through historical past, the instrument carries a deep religious and historic significance. The universality of its sound has individuals from diverse cultures relate to its music. “Bansuri is the adivadya or primordial instrument associated with Lord Krishna. Panna babu’s technical and aesthetic contributions made it hard for people to believe that the flute could sound so rich and ethereal. Hariprasad ji popularised it internationally,” explains veteran flutist Pandit Nityanand Haldipur.
The bansuri, he says, is an easy trying, gentle and moveable instrument with none exterior attachments like strings. This is among the causes for its excessive world recognition. “The bansuri is an instrument that you can play just anywhere. You don’t even need to tune it if it is constructed in tune. No wonder there are so many takers for it the world over,” he provides.