Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma, Master of the Santoor, Dies at 84

Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma, an Indian musician and composer who was the foremost exponent of the santoor, a 100-string instrument much like the hammered dulcimer, died on Tuesday at his house in Mumbai. He was 84.

Indian information reviews mentioned the trigger was cardiac arrest.

Over a profession spanning practically seven a long time, Mr. Sharma grew to become the primary musician to propel the santoor onto the world stage, at concert events and recitals in India and elsewhere.

Earlier than Mr. Sharma began enjoying the santoor, it was little identified outdoors Kashmir. Even there it was used solely to play Sufiana Mausiqi, a style of Kashmiri classical music with Persian, Central Asian and Indian roots.

The santoor, a trapezoidal picket instrument whose strings stretch over 25 picket bridges, is performed with slim picket mallets. On the santoor, in distinction with the sitar, sarod or sarangi, the string devices historically utilized in Hindustani classical music, it’s tough to maintain notes and carry out the meends, or glides from one be aware to a different, important to the Hindustani musical custom.

That could be one cause it took Mr. Sharma so a few years to be acknowledged for his artistry.

Firstly of his profession, purists and critics derided the santoor’s staccato sound, and plenty of urged Mr. Sharma to modify to a different instrument. As a substitute he spent years redesigning the santoor to allow it to play extra notes per octave, making it extra appropriate for the advanced ragas, the melodic framework of Hindustani music.

“My story is completely different from that of different classical musicians,” Mr. Sharma told The Instances of India in 2002. “Whereas they needed to show their mettle, their expertise, their caliber, I needed to show the price of my instrument. I needed to combat for it.”

He launched a number of albums, starting with “Name of the Valley” (1967), a collaboration with the acclaimed flutist Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia and the guitarist Brij Bhushan Kabra.

Mr. Chaurasia and Mr. Sharma have been shut mates and frequent collaborators. Collectively they composed music for a number of profitable Bollywood movies within the Eighties and ’90s together with “Silsila” (1981), “Chandni” (1989), “Lamhe” (1991) and “Darr” (1993). Mr. Sharma was one of many few Indian musicians who straddled the worlds of classical and widespread music.

In 1974, Mr. Sharma carried out throughout North America with the sitar virtuoso Pandit Ravi Shankar as a part of the previous Beatle George Harrison’s 45-show “Darkish Horse” live performance tour, bringing Indian classical music to audiences past South Asia alongside among the most interesting classical musicians from India — Alla Rakha on tabla, Sultan Khan on sarangi, L. Subramaniam on violin, T.V. Gopalakrishnan on mridangam and vocals, Mr. Chaurasia on flute, Gopal Krishan on vichitra veena and Lakshmi Shankar on vocals.

Mr. Sharma was awarded a few of India’s highest honors, together with the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 1986, the Padma Shri in 1991 and the Padma Vibhushan in 2001.

Shiv Kumar (typically rendered Shivkumar) Sharma was born on Jan. 13, 1938, in Jammu, India, to Pandit Uma Devi Sharma, a classical musician who belonged to the household of royal monks of the maharajah of Jammu and Kashmir, and Kesar Devi. He started singing and tabla classes in together with his father on the age of 5, exhibiting nice promise. In “Journey With a Hundred Strings” (2002), a biography of Mr. Sharma, Ina Puri wrote that he would spend hours immersed in music, training varied devices.

“There was an obsessive factor in my perspective to music even then,” she quoted him as saying. “It was the air I breathed, the rationale I lived.”

By age 12 he was an completed tabla participant, recurrently acting on Radio Jammu and accompanying main musicians who visited town. When he was 14, his father returned from Srinagar, the place he had been working, with a gift: a santoor.

Mr. Sharma was not completely happy about studying a brand new, unfamiliar instrument. However his father was adamant. “Mark my phrases, son,” he recalled his father saying. “Shiv Kumar Sharma and the santoor will develop into synonymous in years to come back. Have the braveness to start out one thing from scratch. You’ll be acknowledged as a pioneer.”

In 1955, Mr. Sharma gave his first main public efficiency on the santoor, on the Haridas Sangeet Sammelan pageant in Bombay (now Mumbai). The youngest participant at 17, he persuaded the organizers to permit him to play each the santoor and the tabla. He was reluctantly given half-hour to play the instrument of his alternative, however on the day of the recital he performed the santoor for a full hour — to rapturous applause. The organizers known as him again for an additional recital the subsequent day.

He quickly obtained provides to play and act in Hindi movies, however after one movie, the 1955 hit “Jhanak Jhanak Payal Baje,” he was decided to give attention to classical music. He carried out across the nation in an effort to determine the santoor as a classical instrument.

He moved to Bombay at 22; to make ends meet, he performed the santoor on classes for dozens of widespread Hindi movie songs whereas persevering with to construct his classical repute.

He’s survived by his spouse, Manorama; his sons, Rahul, a well known santoor participant and composer, and Rohit; and two grandchildren.

After Mr. Sharma’s loss of life, Prime Minister Narendra Modi was amongst these paying tribute. “Our cultural world is poorer with the demise of Pandit Shivkumar Sharma Ji,” he wrote on Twitter. “He popularized the santoor at a worldwide stage. His music will proceed to enthrall the approaching generations.”

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