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Bhimsen Joshi Biography

Bhimsen Joshi is a leading Hindustani classical vocalist and is considered to be the torchbearer of the Kirana gharana. Born on February 14, 1922 in Gadag, Karnataka, Bhimsen’s father wanted him to concentrate on his studies and qualify as a doctor or an engineer, but Bhimsen Joshi was more attracted towards music.

Bhimsen Joshi was deeply influenced by a recording of Abdul Karim Khan, the founder father of the Kirana gharana during his childhood. Bhimsen Joshi left home in 1932 to look for a guru and traveled to Bijapur, Pune and Gwalior.

Bhimsen Joshi found a tutor in Ustad Hafiz Ali Khan in Gwalior. He began training under Sawai Gandharva (Pandit Rambhan Kundgolkar) in 1936 where he learnt the basics of Khayal singing.

Bhimsen Joshi has added his own distinctive style to the Kirana Gharana and has created new ragas like the Kalashri and LalitBhatiyar.

He gave his first live performance at the age of 19 and cut his debut album, a collection of devotional songs in Kannad and Hindi at the age of 20. He started an annual classical musical festival called the Sawai Gandharva Music Festival in memory of his guru, which is held every year in Pune in December.

He has sung many famous songs, which include songs like Piya milan ki aas, Jo bhaje hari ko sada, Mile sur mera tumhara and many others. He has received several awards and accolades. He has been awarded the Padma Shri in 1972, the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 1976, the Padma Bhushan in 1985 and the Padma Vibhushan in 1999.