Kirana Gharana


Kirana Gharana

The name of this school of music derives from Kirana or Kairana, a town and tehsil of Shamli District in Uttar Pradesh. It is the birthplace of Abdul Karim Khan who was one of the most important musicians of this gharana and of Hindustani music in general in the twentieth century. A frequent visitor to the Court of Mysore, Abdul Karim Khan was also influenced by Carnatic music, and roots of the tradition can also be traced back to his great-grandfather Ghulam Ali and Ghulam Maula, the brother of Ghulam Ali.

 Most contemporary Hindustani musicians from Karnataka are exponents of Kirana Gharana, and Kirana Gharana in turn has absorbed many of the features of the Carnatic tradition. The culturally rich border region between Karnataka and Maharashtra is particularly well known for its association with the gharana.Abdul Karim Khan gharana.

The central concern of the Kirana style is swara, or individual notes, in particular precise tuning and expression of notes. In the Kirana Gayaki, the individual notes (swaras) of the raga are considered not just random points in the scale but independent realms of music capable of horizontal expansion. Highly emotional pukars in the higher octaves form a part of the musical experience. Another unique feature of this gharana is the highly intricate and ornate use of the sargam taan (weaving patterns with the notations themselves) introduced by Abdul Karim Khan under influence from the Carnatic classical style.

The Kirana logic demands a slow tempo as the musical elaboration has to meet the needs of the overall emotive ap¬proach. It follows that elaboration is leisurely and a note-by-note development of raga-s or melodies is a rule observed with relish. The leisurely development of raga-s as well as the premium placed on emotional colouring in music narrows the choice of raga-s available to the gharana. This is brought out by the rela¬tively small number of raga-s favoured by the musicians of the school. For example, standard Kirana fare would rely on Kalyan, Pooriya, Lalat, Darbari, Miyan Ki Todi, Abhogi Kanada, and the like. Most of the raga-s projected by the gharana are aptiy described as 'alap yogya raga-s', that is, those primarily conducive to the mak¬ing of alap-s (as apposed to tan-s). Aesthetic decisions about voice, alap, emotionality, and so on render it unnecessary to have variety in the tala-s employed in singing. The fact is reflected in the near-uniform use of ektala, jhumra, etc.

It’s a popular gharana even now. Descendants of the early masters are still flying the flag. The soothing, serene quality has endured. It brings the sweetness. It appeals to those willing to get sentimental. At a time when bollywood ‘numbers’, electronic ‘tracks’, and a repeated and unapologetic love of sampling and effects dominate, the gharana still delivers the pure joy of beautiful and unpretentious melody. Just pretty scenery and good weather. A single note from Pandit Bhimsen Joshi could stop in his whammy-tugging tracks many a long haired dude with a stomp box and a bag of weed. It’s interesting that in a musical culture which regularly embraces and spits out many forms of music such as indipop, disco, rock n roll, and the blues, the skybound, trilly aalaap with a hint of 'bechaini' still ascends and descends like it was doing a hundred years ago. 

Abdul Wahid Khan 
Sawai Gandharva 
Panchakshara Gawai 
Sureshbabu Mane 
Hirabai Badodekar 
Roshan Ara Begum 
Saraswati Rane
Gangubai Hangal 
Puttaraj Gawai 
Firoz Dastur 
Bhimsen Joshi 
Basavaraj Rajguru 
Prabha Atre 
Manik Varma 
Mani Prasad
Ustad Niyaz Ahmed Khan
Ustad Faiyaz Ahmed Khan 
Padmashree Ustad Shakoor Khan 
Pandit Madhav Gudi 
Pandit Srikanth Deshpande 
Ustad Mashkoor Ali Khan
Ustad Noor Hassan Khan 
Parameshwar Hegde 
Ustad Mahmood Khan 
Somanath Mardur 
Pt.Raghavendra Gudi 
Shrinivas Joshi 
Prassana Gudi 
Kumar Mardur 
Krishnendra Wadikar 
Arshad Ali Khan
Amjad Ali Khan



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