Legendary vocalist Pandit Jasraj in no more: PM Modi says great loss to classical music

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PANDIT JASRAJ, INDIA’S celebrated classical singer, tabla player and music teacher, passed away on Monday, August 17 in New Jersey, USA at the age of 90. Born in Hisar district of Haryana, he became a Mumbaikar. He has left behind an illustrious career spanning over 80 years. Jasraj, belonging to the Mewati Gharana, was in the US during coronavirus and decided to stay back in that country. He was a recipient of various prestigious awards and honours including Padma Shri, Padma Bhushan and Padma Vibhushan. Jasraj was introduced to vocal music by his father and later trained as a tabla accompanist under the tutelage of his elder brother, Pandit Pratap Narayan. His performances of classical and semi-classical vocals have become albums and film soundtracks. Jasraj has taught music in India, Canada and the US. The news of Indian music legend’s demise was announced by his daughter Durga Jasraj.’’ I teach through Skype. I suggest everyone do it. I am walking with time and that’s what one should do. I don’t like it when people say ‘Woh zamaana achha tha’ (Those were the good times),” he had told PTI.“I believe the current phase is good. One should not compare it with the past — good or bad. One has to walk with time and only then you will like the current time,” the music legend told the interviewer. Jasraj’s first-ever concert was in 1952 when he performed before then Nepal King Tribhuwan Bir Bikram Shah. The International Astronomical Union has named a minor planet, located between Mars and Jupiter, after Pandit Jasraj, regarded as the doyen of Indian classical vocal music. Jasraj was born to Pandit Motiram who was also a classical singer. He was four years old when his father died ahead of his appointment as the state musician in the court of Mir Osman Ali Khan. Jasraj’s elder brother, Pandit Pratap Narayan, was also an accomplished musician. He was the father of music composer duo Jatin-Lalit, singer-actress Sulakshana Pandit and actress Vijeta Pandit. His eldest brother is vocalist Pandit Maniram. Wikipedia says Jasraj spent his youth in Hyderabad and travelled often to Sanand in Gujarat to study music with musicians of the Mewati Gharana. Jasraj performed for Maharaj Jaywant Singh Waghela, the Thakur Sahib of Sanand, who was dedicated to classical music, and trained Jasraj. Jasraj later moved to Calcutta for singing classical music for the radio. Mourning his demise. PM Modi says his  ‘’unfortunate demise leaves a deep void in the Indian cultural sphere. Not only were his renditions outstanding, Pandit Jasraj also made a mark as an exceptional mentor to several other vocalists. Condolences to his family and admirers worldwide. Om Shanti’’. Edited by PK Chakravarty

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