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Maestros of Jugalbandi

The tradition of Jugalbandi in the Carnatic and Hindustani styles of music is an age old one, where two skilled musicians, perform together. This duet could be instrumental or vocal.

Partnership in vocal or instrumental music has been in vogue since the day of Dhrupad. Khayal is usually sung as a solo, but there have also been numerous cases of male duo singers, usually family members who learned music together. Even when two soloists perform together, they divide the improvisation between them so that there is still only one vocal part. Their music making is co-operative, not competitive and it takes considerable skill and intimacy to create a performance to which each contributes equally. What defines Jugalbandi is that the two soloists be on an equal footing. While any Indian music performance may feature two musicians, whether vocalists or instrumentalists, a performance can only be deemed a Jugalbandi if neither is clearly the soloist and neither clearly an accompanist. In Jugalbandi, both musicians act as lead players, and a playful competition often ensues between the two performers.

It is common knowledge that the popularity of Jugalbandi concerts owes much to virtuosos Pandit Ravi Shankar and the late Ustad Ali Akbar Khan. Indian concert stages, which had been dominated by only soloists, assumed a new dimension around the sixties when the great musical pairs started playing Jugalbandi. However, this form was very much in existence in the decades preceding the sixties, though perhaps not as popular, thanks to Dhrupad maestros like the Senior Dagar Brothers.


V G Jog and Manilal Nag

V.G. Jog and Manilal Nag V G Jog born in Bombay in 1921, Vishnu Govind Jog received his early training from S C Athavale and Ganpat Rao Purohit. Subsequently, he was groomed by renowned musicians Visweswar Shastry and S C Ratanjankar and for a short time, from the celebrated Baba Allauddin Khan. To Pandit Jog goes the credit of single-handedly transforming a western musical instrument, the violin, into a major and independent instrument in Hindustani Classical Music. Although the European instrument had long been championed in the related but disparate South Indian tradition, violin had found little favour or appreciation amongst musicians and rasikas in the north of the subcontinent. Pandit Jog ushered in a new era of musical appreciation of Hindustani- style violin and was unquestionably the Violin Samrat for all time to come.

Groomed in the Gwalior, Agra and Bakhle gharanas, Pandit Jog blended the three styles into a unified stream, resulting in a refreshing blend of gayaki-ang and tantrakari-ang that was both erudite and classical yet romantic and evocative. His virtuosity, mastery of ragas and an uncanny realization of space and time in the construction and knowledge of rhythm were his hallmarks.

When he was 16, he met a man in Lucknow who went on to transform not only his life but Hindustani music and, through his musical ambassadors, the appreciation of that music worldwide. The man was the formidable gifted Allauddin Khan. A few years later, Allauddin Khan agreed to perform a jugalbandi with the young Jog and was so impressed with his music that he gifted to him his own violin.

Pandit Jog performed in all the major concert stages of the world. The Carnegie Hall, the Lincoln Center, and the Madison Square Garden of New York were the venues of his scintillating performances. An unassuming person of infinite charm, he was also considered an incomparable accompanist. The list of legendary musicians who eagerly sought his accompaniment includes names like Faiyaz Khan, Bade Ghulam Ali, Omkar Nath Thakur, Amir Khan and Kesarbai Kerkar.

In recognition of his contribution to Hindustani Classical Music, he had innumerable awards and honours conferred on him. Chief among these were the Padma Bhushan (1982), the Sangeet Natak Akademi award (1981), and the ITC award. Pandit Jog was associated with All India Radio (AIR), Kolkata and was also a distinguished Member of the Experts Committee of the ITC Sangeet Research Academy.

Pandit Jog, died in Kolkata on January 31, 2004 after a prolonged illness.

Manilal Nag, Eminent sitarist Pandit Manilal Nag represents the rich cultural heritage of the Vishnupur Gharana, a style of music almost three hundred years old. A shishya of his father, the late guru Gokul Nag, Manilal made his musical debut at the age of fourteen.

Endowed with a remarkable musical memory, he has woven the diverse elements of the melody of Hindustani Classical Music into a seamlessly smooth texture. He has thus created a refreshing blend of gayaki and tantrakari angas-rich with the aura of pristine tradition and refined with academic rigour, while at the same time, enhancing the aesthetic appeal of Indian Classical Music.

He has performed at concerts throughout India as well all over Europe, America, Japan etc. A top grade artiste of All India Radio and Doordarshan, he is the recipient of numerous awards and felicitations, including the ITC Award and the prestigious Sangeet Natak Academy award.

Manilal Nag is currently a member of the Central Audition Board of the All India Radio. He is also an examiner of the University Grants commission, apart from being on the Expert Committee of the Departments of Music of several State and Central Universities. He has trained innumerable disciples who have made a name for themselves. Pandit Nag has recently joined the faculty of ITC SRA (August , 2005).

Raga Name Duration (Min.) Audio Clip Add to myMusic
Puriya Kalyan 48.54

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