Anand Bhate is one of the most promising artistes in the new generation of the great Kirana tradition. He started his musical journey in the childhood and since then he has continued to present different exponents of Hindustani Classical Music. He has a privilege of being the disciple of the great classical vocalist, Bharat-Ratna Pandit Bhimsen Joshi, doyen of the Kirana gharana, a legend in his lifetime.
Anand was a gifted child prodigy from a family that had a background in classical music as well as Marathi drama. His great-grandfather, called famously as Bhatebua, was known for his prowess in rendering the ‘Thumari’ and ‘Natyasangeet’. Anand’s father has been a devoted fan of Balgandharva, the legendary singer-actor of the Marathi stage during the first half of the last century.
Anand’s natural talent for music blossomed at a very young age. It was Anand’s father who started honing it when he was not yet 10. His two elder sisters, who were also learning music at the Gandharva Mahavidyalaya, also used to pitch in. At that time he used to play the bulbultarang, but before long, he could play the harmonium without any tuition. Anand’s father took him to Chandrashekhar Deshpande for systematic training in Marathi natyasangeet. As a result, Anand was soon able to sing songs from various Marathi musical plays exactly in the manner and style of Balgandharva himself And also started to give public performances.
Anand gave his first television performance in 1981, at the age of 10, and became a young star almost overnight. Connoisseurs were spellbound by Anand’s luminous rendering of Balgandharva’s gayaki and affectionately conferred on him the title Anand Gandharva. In the ensuing few years Anand had many successes. He gave natyasangeet performances on All India Radio as well on Mumbai Doordarshan and many public performances at various places in Maharashtra. He published his first Natyasangeet cassette in 1983.
Meanwhile, again thanks to his father, Anand had also begun his systematic initial training in classical music with Pandit Yashwantrao Marathe, who initiated Anand into the intricacies of Khayal gayaki. He got many opportunities to perform, particularly at the residence of Hirabai Badodekar, another stalwart of the Kirana gharana. He invariably impressed his audience—which, on occasion, included stalwarts like Pandit Ravi Shankar, Ustad Alla Rakha and Ustad Zakir Hussain, among others.
His fame reached the Marathi-speaking Diaspora in the US. He was invited to perform at the Brihan Maharashtra Mandal convention in Chicago in 1984 where he captivated the audience. This was a landmark event - it was as if ‘he came, he saw, he conquered’.
As already mentioned, Anand Bhate became a disciple of the great Pandit Bhimsen Joshi in 1988, which was, indeed, a long-cherished dream coming true for Anand. Under Bhimsenji’s guidance, Anand has emerged as a notable Khayal-singer of the younger generation that has to carry forward the glorious tradition of Indian classical music in general and the Kirana gayaki in particular. He has performed many times at the prestigious Sawai Gandharva Music Festival at Pune including recent performance in 2010.
Alongside his career in music, Anand Bhate has also had a brilliant academic career. He figured in the merit list at both the SSC and HSC examinations and went on to do his BE (Electronics) and M.Tech (Computer Science) from the University of Pune. At present, he is a Technology Architect with Zensar Technologies at Pune.
Anand is a dedicated and hard-working professional—both as an engineer and as a musician. His professional work does not deter him from pursuing his passion, music.