Firoz Dastur (c 1919-2008)

12. 5. 2008 | Rubriky: Articles,Lives

[by Ken Hunt, London] The Kirana gharana – or school of playing – seated in Kirana, near Saharanpur in India’s state of Uttar Pradesh, is one of the major styles of performance in Hindustani music. Kirana is particularly noted for the quality of its vocalists. Historically, it was associated with great maestros such as Abdul Karim Khan and Sawai Gandharva. In more recent times it was associated with singers who carried the torch on such as Bhimsen Joshi, Roshan Ara Begum (the daughter of Abdul Karim Khan’s younger brother Abdul Haq), Hirabai Barodekar (the daughter of Abdul Karim Khan himself), Prabha Atre, Gangubai Hangal and Firoz Dastur.

Firoz Dastur died on 4 May at the age of 89 in Mumbai (Bombay) after a long illness. He had been a student-disciple of Sawai Gandharva. He was little known outside of the Indian subcontinent because he concentrated his attentions on live performance and teaching (although he did sing playback in director Shyam Benegal’s film Bhumika:The Role in 1977). He was, however, an important and respected figure at Indian music conferences and was welcomed to many of the country’s most illustrious celebrations of Hindustani music, including the commemoration of his guru, the Sawai Gandharva Mahotsav (which he first attended in 1952). He became Professor of Hindustani music at Bombay University/the University of Mumbai in 1969, a position he held for many years. He was part of the Kirana gharana‘s great flowering during the Twentieth Century.

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