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Celebrating the yesteryear Nightingales of Indian Music-Score Short Reads

Celebrating the yesteryear Nightingales of Indian Music-Score Short Reads

Gangubai Hangal was a rising sensation in the 1930s. She was a Hindustani classical singer of the Kirana Gharana. She shot to fame with her frequent concerts across the country and her recordings that charted repeatedly on the All India Radio! During this period, she had lent her melodic voice to bhajans, Marathi traditional songs, thumris, and khayals. She would, later on, shift her focus completely towards the classical style of Khayal.  Though, she started early at the age of 13. Her immediate social circles were reportedly prejudiced towards a career in music at the time. Nevertheless, her passion for music rose above all.  She used music against the onslaughts of hypocrisy, injustice, and orthodox mindsets in a regressive part of society. 

Gangubai Hangal

Her career spanned a little over seven decades. She had the rare feat of receiving multiple awards and recognitions from important figures like the President and the Prime Minister of India. She had bagged the prestigious Padma Bhushan and Padma Vibushan and had made important contribution through academic associations.

Hirabai Barodekar is notable not only for her beautiful musical renditions but also her contribution towards the empowerment of women.She had been credited for becoming the first woman artist to organize a paid concert in India. She played a key role in paving the way for multiple female artists playing in the 19th century. Her incredible finesse in the classical singing style of Gharana had earned her many accolades like the Padma Bhushan award. 

Hirabai Barodekar

Hirabai was surrounded by notable musicians from her childhood and got her training from the great Ustad Abdul Waheed Khan. Her voice got recognized at a very tender age and her practice with music had made her one of the well-received female singers in the pre-independence era. She went onto become a successful commercial artist who upheld the classical styles and ethos all the way through her career. Her richness had percolated into many disciples like Prabha Atre.

Kishori Amonkar was regarded as the “doyen” of Hindustani classical singing.She hailed from the Jaipuri Gharana and her distinctive vocal prowess soon found different mediums like film music, bhajans, and many more.Her music was a perfect balance of lively energy and graceful presentations. Though she got her training under Alladiya Khan Saheb of the Jaipur Gharana she did her ingenious experiments and evolved styles inspired by other schools of singing. 

Kishori Amonkar

Her learning continued through ancient texts and books as she embarked on the studies of the intricacies of music. Amonkar was a true devotee of music, and she did things in her life which is unlike many other musicians of her time. She would often limit herself to the number of concerts in a week or her foreign trips; to exclusively focus only on her musical studies and researches.  She had also been honored with the most celebrated Indian civilian honors, the Padma Bhushan and the Padma Vibhushan. She also served as the fellow of the Sangeet Natak Akademi since 2010. 

D.K.Pattammal is a legendary icon in the Carnatic music tradition.She was gifted with great consistency and her performance had the aura which was purely hypnotic.Despite the societal stigmas and the taboos of a Brahmin performing Carnatic music, she continued with her pursuits of exploring the wonderful world of music.

Pattammal was also famous for her outright stand against foreign subjugation during the pre-independence era. In many instances, she had actually introduced the culture of singing patriotic songs on live show performances. She soon became a respected name in the musical circle and had been applauded for ingenuity in the music and associated cultures, by various appreciators of art.


It is believed that her efforts have held the head of Vidhushis high with are able to sing with the dignity it’s only because of the untiring efforts of Pattamma Amma by breaking the hurdles in a genuine and forthright manner. Her renditions of kirtan had been a sweet combination of perfect technicalities and polished performances.

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