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Riyaz and raags

Pt. S. Ballesh and son Krishna are nurturing the Hindustani classical genre in the Carnatic bastion.

Nearly a dozen students sit around their guru, and engage themselves in interpreting raag Malkauns. They are there on request for a photo shoot. What starts as a posing session becomes a serious class where gurus and sishyas forget the presence of our photographer and get completely immersed in the music.

The place is a music room on the third floor of a traditional home on a rather non-descript lane in Saligramam and the school is the Tansen Academy of Music. And the driving force? Hindustani vocalist and shehnai maestro Pt. Ballesh and his son Krishna Ballesh.

Sound of Hindustani music in Chennai

April 05, 2015

CHENNAI: In a virtual sea of Carnatic music, Hindustani music is an island but it's a living tradition.

 

Pandit S Ballesh, a disciple of the late Shehnai maestro Ustad Bismillah Khan holds classes for aspiring musicians at his modest suburban home in Saligramam when he is not recording background scores for Tamil movie songs with the likes of maestros Illayaraja and A R Rahman.

The tunes flowing from the wood wind instrument as Pandit Ballesh blows with controlled breaths into a bamboo reed fitted at the tip of the Shehnai, is music to passers by on AVM street where the family resides.

At their home christened 'Shehnai Nivas' Panditji is assisted by his son and disciple Krishna who picked up the nuances of Shehnai from Ustad Bismillah Khan in Varanasi towards the latter part of the icon's lifetime.

Celebrating the shehnai

November 10, 2016

Ras Barse Utsav will pay tribute to Ustad Bismillah Khan.

This year we celebrate the centenary birth anniversary of another legend — Ustad Bismillah Khan. The image of his eyes crinkled and that gentle smile are imprinted in the minds of music lovers. The ustad became synonymous with shehnai. From the banks of the Ganges to auditoria across the world, he elevated the simple shehnai to a classical instrument. He brought out the nuances of ragas through his gentle blowing. He was awarded the Bharat Ratna in 2001.

The Chennai-based Tansen Academy of Music is organising a festival, Ras Barse Utsav, to celebrate the ustad’s unique artistry. To be held on November 12 (6 p.m.) at The Music Academy, it will also pay tribute to shehnai exponent Pandit Sanna Bharamanna.

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© 2015 Tansen Academy of Music. 

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