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Mahadev Prasad Mishra
Born in 1906 at the Shiv Koti temple at Allahabad, Pandit Mahadev Prasad Mishra of the Banaras gharana was a knowledgeable vocalist as well as a a highly accomplished tabla and harmonium player. A contemporary of Siddeshwari Devi and Rasoolan Bai, he started his musical journey learning tabla from Bhaironji while Bade Ram Dasji was his mentor for vocal music. Son of Pandit Dwarka Prasad Mishra of Banaras, he was a ‘Kashivasi’ to the core. He had four daughters and a son, while his nephews Amar Nath Mishra and Pashupati Nath Mishra were brought up as members of his own family.

He had accompanied the finest thumri and khayal singers of his time and was a veritable treasure trove of old bandishes. He was a repository of dhrupad, dhamar, khayal, thumri, dadra, tappa, chaiti, kajri and birha. As a vocalist he could perform all the genres, though his thumri renditions were often unparalleled and earned him the fame that was his due. His performances remained lively and fresh even at the age of 82. His specialty was the extreme beauty of the thumri of Banaras blended with the rhythmic flavour of the Agra Gharana, by which he was greatly influenced. As a matter of fact, he was the only other instrumentalist apart from Bismillah Khan who had the unique distinction of having his vocal recordings commercially released in old age.
Reclusive by nature, he spent a great part of his time teaching. Many of his disciples are well known performers of today, including renowned tabla exponent, Pandit Ananda Gopal Bandopadhyay who is a faculty member of ITC Sangeet Research Academy, thumri exponent Shrimati Purnima Choudhuri, shehnai wizard Pandit Anant Lal, and famed violinist Shrimati N. Rajam.

Although he shied away from the press, his role in the world of music did not go unnoticed. In 1983, he received the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award for his contribution to the performing arts as well as the ITC Award. Such recognitions made little difference to his life. Those who visited him still saw him on his charpoy, willing only to acquire the bare necessities of life. His demise on December 13, 1995, has left an eternal void in the world of the performing arts.

Gharana Raga Duration (Minutes) Audio Clip Add to myMusic
Banaras Bhairavi, Bandishi Thumri 4.2
Banaras Piloo, Dadra 5.56
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