The incomparable Shehnai maestro Bismillah Khan is one of the greatest legends of Indian
classical music. The legend has left an indelible mark on the musical heritage of India; his
is a legacy unsurpassed. Till today, and forever, his music reverberates through the cultural
fabric of India.
With his artistic virtuosity Bismillah Khan brought the instrument out of the confines of
wedding music and elevated it to the global stage as a concert instrument.
Ustad Bismillah Khan was born on 21 March 1916 in a family whose ancestors were court
musicians of the princely state of Dumrao in Bihar. He was given training by his uncle Ali
Bux, a well-known Shehnai Player at the Vishwanath temple in Varanasi. An extremely promising
shishya (student) of the Shehnai, the young Bismillah mastered a variety of forms of classical
music such as the thumri, chaiti and kajri. Later, he also incorporated the khayal gayaki in
his instrument and style of playing.
Bismillah Khan brought rare vibrancy and resplendence to Indian classical music. He further
enriched the heritage of Indian music. The legend was honoured with numerous awards and
honours, which include the national awards Padma Shri, Padma Bhushan, Padna Vibhushan and more
recently the Bharat Ratna- the highest civilian honour of the country.
His honorary doctorate from the Benares Hindu University and Shantiniketan bespeaks of his
fame. He was also bequeathed with the coveted Sangeet Natak Academy Award and the Tansen Award
by the Madhya Pradesh government.
This special album is a tribute to the legend, the maestro, and the Ustad, who has left behind
a legacy. His music lives on!
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