Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia
Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia, the internationally renowned exponent of the bansuri or bamboo flute, surprisingly does not come from a long lineage of flautists. His father was a famous wrestler who had aspirations of his son following in his footsteps.
The younger Chaurasia had an early love of music, however, and by the age of 15 was taking his first steps toward a lifetime as a performer by studying classical vocal with Pandit Raja Ram of Benares.
Soon after, he heard a flute recital by Pandit Bholanath and was so impressed he changed his focus to studying the flute. When he was just 19, he got a job playing for All India Radio, Cuttack, Orissa, and within five years he was transferred to their headquarters in Bombay. There he got the additional exposure of performing in one of India’s cultural centers and also studied with Shrimati Annapurna Devi, daughter of Ustaad Allauddin Khan of the Maihar School of Music.
In 1984 he earned the National Award of the Sangeet Natak Academy. In 1992, he was awarded the Padma Bhushan and the Konarak Samman and in 1994, he was bestowed the Yash Bharati Sanman. He’s also been bestowed with the Padma Vibhushan. He has collaborated with several western musicians, including John McLaughlin and Jan Gabarek, and has also composed music for a number of Indian films. He has performed throughout the world winning acclaim from varied audiences and fellow musicians including Yehudi Menuhin and Jean Pierre Rampal. Taking inspiration from the west, Pt Chaurasia was the first artist to develop the Staccato style and adapt the same to Indian Classical Music’s Jod and Jhala.
Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia’s unique playing style, with his innovative fingering and blowing techniques has taken the bansuri to newer levels.
Pt Hari Prasad Chaurasia’s dream of having a school based on the ancient Guru Shishya Parampara, came alive in the last decade of the last century. Shri Rajeev Gandhi, the then Prime Minister of India, ensured a plot of land be made available to Panditji to pursue his dream. Once the land was allotted, the search began for a patron to help put up the physical structure. Mr Ratan Tata stepped in and today, Vrindaban Gurukul, one of Mumbai’s landmark buildings stands testimony to the belief Panditji had in the power of his dreams!
CD – 1 : CD one opens with the evergreen raga Pahadi and is a rendering from the super hit ‘Call of the Valley’, a collaborative album by the trio, Santoor maestro Pt. Shiv Kumar Sharma, Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia and the celebrated Guitarist Pt. Brij Bhushan Kabra. The second track is based on raga Mangal Dhwani which is Panditji’s creation. The last two tracks are from the album Eternity. Titled Srishti and Mukti, they are thematic in nature and effuse positive vibrations. Both these tracks are masterpieces and showcase Panditji’s creative genius, unparalleled imagination, unique improvisation techniques and musical aesthetics. What these tracks really leave the listener with, is a deep sense of spirituality.
CD – 2 : CD two is a fine example of musical brilliance when two or more stalwarts come together. The CD opens with Panditji in a jugalbandi with Santoor maestro Pt. Shiv Kumar Sharma. This track is based on Raga Jhinjoti. The second track in rage Bhoopali Mohanam is a live concert recording between Panditji and the Carnatic classical vocal legand Dr. Balamurlikrishna. The highlight of this track is the table accompaniment by Ustad Zakir Hussain.
The third track in this album features Panditji teaming with many other artistes playing a wide range of instruments. The resulting music may be termed fusion, yet inspired by the classical raga Yaman. This track is a live concert recording from 1995.
In this album, the underlying camaraderie between the artistes is palpable.
CD – 3 : The third CD begins with a night melody in raga Abhogi followed by raga Indira Kalyan created by Panditji. A dhun in raga Mishra Tilang, a Thumri based on raga Pilu and the popular Vaishnav Janato comprise the other tracks in this album.
CD – 4 : CD four is a collection of pure classical ragas. The album opens with the twilight raga Marwa followed by ragas Hemavati and Latangi.
CD – 5 : The last CD has 6 tracks. It commences with a melody in the morning raga Lalit. The other ragas are Shudha Sarang and Des. These are followed by a Dhun in raga Bhatiyali. The popular aarti ‘Om Jai Jagdish Hare’ transports the listener to another realm and is thus rightly titled ‘Salvation’. The concluding Thumri in raga Bhairavi is a befitting end to this melodious album.
This 5 CD collection comprising 21 tracks by the legendary Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia could perhaps be portrayed as an ode to the eternal sound of Lord Krishna’s divine flute. Today, that bery ethereal music reverberates through Panditji’s soulful rendering.
1. Raga – Pahadi 
2. Raga – Mangal Dhwani 
3. Eternity – Srishti 
4. Eternity – Mukti 
1. Raga – Jhinjhoti 
2. Raga Bhoopali – Mohanam 
3. Fusion – Based On Raga Yaman 
1. Raga – Abhogi 
2. Raga – Indira Kalyan 
3. Dhun Mishra Tilang 
4. Thumri Pilu 
5. Dhun – Vaishnava Jan To [1981
1. Raga – Marwa 
2. Raga – Hemavati 
3. Raga – Latangi 
1. Raga – Lalit 
2. Raga – Shuddha Sarang 
3. Raga – Des 
4. Dhun Bhatiyali 
5. Salvation – Om Jai Jagdish Hare
6. Thumri Bhairavi