Durbar of the Ragas

Besides the famed Mangeshkar siblings, many exponents of Indian classical music have made the state proud.

A state that has produced the Nightingale of India, Lata Mangueshkar, (that is how her last name is spelled in local parlance) must hold pride of place in Indian music. Goa has been producing musicians of great acclaim for some time now.

The late Surashree Kesarbai Kerkar, who hails from the village of Keri in North Goa, was a renowned vocalist of Indian classical music. She was even awarded a certificate of excellence by none other than Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore. Every year, a prestigious Indian classical music festival called the Kesarbai Kerkar Smriti Sangeet Sammelan takes place at the Kala Academy in Campal, Panjim to commemorate Kesarbai’s contribution around November. The biggest names in Indian music attend this festival annually, offering music-loving Goans, a treat of their lives.

And later in the year, another equally prestigious Indian classical music festival takes place in Mangueshi, near Ponda. The Dinanath Mangueshi Smriti Sangeet Samaroh is held annually in honour of Pandit Dinanth Mangueshi (pronounced otherwise as Mangeshkar), a well-known vocalist. He is the father of Lata Mangueshi, Asha Bhosle and Usha Mangueshkar as well as their brother Hridyanath Mangueshkar, a brilliant composer who has adapted ragas to Indian film music.

The late Khapru Mama Parvatkar was perhaps one of the most exceptional Indian classical percussionists ever in his time. He could perform five different rhythmic cycles with each of his feet, hands and his mouth. He was the only exponent of this rare phenomenon in Indian music where five different rhythmic cycles meet in harmony. Although a Goan by origin, Khapru spent most of his time in Bombay. Another eminent vocalist Mogubai Kurdikar belongs to the village of Kurdi in Selaulim in North Goa. She is alive and kicking at the ripe age of 91. Celebrity singer Kishori Amonkar is her daughter. Kishori is a reputed Indian classical vocalist. Born in Goa, Kishori now lives in Mumbai.

The Pune-based late Jeetendar Abhisheki is another famous Indian classical vocalist of Goan origin. He was perhaps the best exponent of Indian classical singing during his time.

The Kala Academy’s Faculty of Indian Classical Music and Performing Arts has some renowned exponents of Indian classical music. Heading the line is sitar maestro Ustaad Chhote Rahimat Khan who has performed with the biggest names in Indian classical music and has played at concerts all over Europe. Ustaad Chhote Rahimat Khan is the grandson of Ustaad Rahimat Khan, one of the best sitarists of his time. He belongs to the sixth generation of Ustaads, originally from Dharwad, and has settled in Goa permanently. In fact, the seventh generation of his family has already started performing professionally.

Prabhakar Sardar, another renowned Indian classical vocalist, has recently taken over as the Director of the Faculty of Indian Classical Music and Performing Arts at the Kala Academy. Not of Goan origin, Prabhakar will now be based in the state on account of his new posting at the Kala Academy.