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Jnan Prakash Ghosh & V.G. Jog

Padmabhushan Pandit Jnan Prakash Ghosh, was the voice of Calcutta’s music scene at a critical moment in its history. He created some of the finest compositions in Music and Rhythms and was one of the greatest teachers and musicologists in the Indian Classical music scene, apart from being one of the leading tabla players of the late 1940s and early 1950s. Born on May 1912, in a family of rich musical tradition in Calcutta, he was the grandson of Dwarik Ghosh, inventor of the famous Dwarkin harmonium. He received vocal lessons from Girija Shankar Chakrabarty, Mohammed Sagir Khan and Mohammed Dabir Khan and tabla lessons from Ustad Majid Khan of the Farukkabad Gharana and Ustad Feroze Khan of the Punjab Gharana.

He also played Hawaaian guitar with admirable dexterity. His performance on Harmonium was on empirical avenues. It was based on his long and serious study of Khayal and Thumri as well as his total and deeper involvement in the understanding of various trends of Indian Classical Music.He worked for 15 years in All India Radio as a producer of music, making very significant contributions in classical music, light music, modern, orchestral, choral and percussion styles. He took part in valuable discussions, talks and interviews in Hindi, Bengali and English. He also began the ‘Ramayangeeti’ a fusion of traditional and modern Indian music. Jnanbabu was a singer, composer, harmonium player and above all a tabla guru, who trained and taught 3 generations of tabla players and singers and reared maestros in each of these. He expired on February 18th, 1997 at the age of 85.

Padmabhushan Pandit V. G. Jog introduced violin in Hindustani music tradition, as opposed to Carnatic music. He single-handedly transforming a western musical instrument, the violin, into a major and independent instrument in Hindustani Classical Music and was unquestionably the ‘Violin Samrat’ for all time to come.

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 who went on to transform not only his life but Hindustani music and, through his musical ambassadors, the appreciation of that music worldwide. Once Allauddin Khan agreed to perform a jugalbandi with the young Jog and was so impressed with his music that he gifted him his own violin.

Groomed in the Gwalior, Agra and Bakhle gharanas, Jog ji 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.

An unassuming person of infinite charm, he was also regarded as 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. His duets with Jnan Prakash Ghosh, Bismillah Khan and the likes have met with spectacular successes in India and abroad. 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. He died in Kolkata on January 31, 2004 after a prolonged illness.

Jnan Prakash Ghosh and Vishnu Govind Jog both are accomplished soloists and expert accompanists as well.

The nuances and colourful phrases displayed on violin by V.G. Jog have been the outcome of his experience of playing duets with Ravi Shankar, Ali Akbar Khan, Bismillah Khan, Venkatswamy Naidu and other Masters of Instrumental Music. Jnan Prakash Ghosh had many times played Harmonium with Ustad Amir Khan, Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan and had occasions to accompany vocal recitals of Ustad Faiyyaz Khan and Surashree Kesarbai Kerkar as well.

It is no wonder, therefore that the two are suited to each other ideally for participation in a duet without any precondition or a set procedure. Both have command over ‘Gayaki’ and ‘Gatkaari’ and very ably they blend styles harmoniously as needed for interpretations and treatment of particular ragas. V.J. Jog usually stated the raga’s theme on violin first, after which the harmonium responded with additional ornamentation on the same mode, and so on. Rhythm was gradually added thanks to sped up passages and the table’s contribution. The raga`s fascination lies in these endless and surprisingly varied variations on the initial mode.

Jnan Prakash Ghosh and Vishnu Govind Jog performed together for many years. Their long association, musical intimacy, love and respect for each other went a long way to establish a strong rapport and clear understanding between the two. They inspired each other and in concerts they enthralled the audience with their sparkling performance.