Pandit Brijbhushan Kabra

A legendary musician in the world of Indian classical music, Pandit Brijbhushan Kabra has made several notable achievements throughout his musical career. Simultaneously a virtuoso, an innovator, a visionary, a traditionalist, a preserver, and educator, he has traveled the globe popularizing Indian classical music.

One of his greatest achievements is introducing the Hawaiian guitar into the realm of Indian classical music, and establishing it as a legitimate classical instrument through his great efforts, his innovativeness, and the support of his Guru, the legendary sarod maestro, Ustad Ali Akbar Khan.

Early in his career, in 1968, the album "Call of the Valley" was released featuring Panditji, santoor maestro Pt. Shiv Kumar Sharma, and master flautist Pt. Hari Prasad Chaurasia. This album was the first recording of it's kind to 'go platinum', and is considered the most popular Indian classical recording to have been made. The album is aptly described as a symphony of Indian classical music. The genius of these three brilliant artists and a collaboration of their talents are behind the music of this album that is exquisitely sweet and bewitchingly pleasing to the ear. It paints a tonal picture of gorgeous valleys laden with tall, green pine and chinar trees, and sun-kissed, snow-clad peaks of the mighty Himalayas.

Remarkably, Panditji never attended guitar performances, nor exposed himself to other guitarists and their playing, and so through his own innovativeness and the guidance of his Guru, he developed techniques according to the practices and styling of Indian classical music. He had no fixed ideas about how Indian classical music should be played on the version of the guitar he developed, and by constant trial and error he perfected his musical craft.

Throughout his career, he engaged in intense musical dialogues with many of the greatest musicians of Indian music, recording duets with artists such as Pt. Shiv Kumar Sharma (santoor), Pandit Jasraj (vocal), Pt. Damodarlal Kabra (sarod), Ustad Rais Khan (sitar), Pt. Hari Prasad Chaurasia (bansuri flute), and Pt. V. G. Jog (violin).

These dialogues helped him to explore various possibilities on the guitar, aiding him in achieving remarkable finesse of playing, and the ability to conjure a wide range of tonal colors on his instrument, in which the use of chords became an additional musical asset. He has also made a deep study of the rich folk music of Rajasthan, the land of his ancestors, to enhance his musical repertoire and vision.

Panditji has also done remarkable research in the field of "Naad Yoga", which is the realization of Self through music. He is also a great educationist and heads an institution with almost 10,000 students studying in various fields. He has published several papers on child education with special reference to the importance of music and rhythm in their education. For this contribution to Indian classical music, he has been honored by the governments of Gujarat and Rajasthan and has been showered with several titles and awards. Five of his books of Hindi poetry have been published.

'The Times of India' has very rightly commented on his music: "Pt. Brijbhushan's charm of style is his co-exing out of a foreign instrument, the rich tonal and melodic value of Indian classical music in its finest tradition." The great poet and writer journalist Sheik Adam Abdulwala once remarked after a concert, "Look at Brijbhushan's fingers moving on a guitar and when the sound emerges, you feel that the Earth has stopped moving." Truly time does seem to stop while listening to his Alaps, but the odyssey of this legend and his instrument continues.

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