A doyen of Hindustani classical music, Padma Vibhushan Kishori Amonkar passed away in Mumbai on Monday. Hindustani Singer Shubha Mudgal remembers her as a trendsetter.
It is a grave loss to the music world. Smt Kishori Amonkar was an icon, a leading light of the Jaipur-Atrauli gharana. Even while being a torchbearer for the gharana, she forged her own style that went on to set the trend for so many singers.
I heard of Amonkar’s demise after a student of mine wrote about it on a social media group. I was hoping it wasn’t true. I wanted it to be a rumour. But close to midnight, many news agencies started confirming it, and we were all forced to accept the tragic truth that Amonkar had passed away. Her demise is an irreparable loss to the world.
Amonkar’s biggest contribution to classical music was how she balanced tradition, while constantly reinventing it. For a student of traditional music, tradition is of utmost importance. Tradition must be respected. But, it must never become a cage or trap the singer’s creativity. In this aspect, Amonkar was a torchbearer and a path-breaker — leading the way and blazing the trail at the same time.
Now and forever, I am confident Amonkar will be remembered for her music, which has already immortalised her. All we need to do is to pay tribute.
As told to Susan Jose