Legendary tabla player Shankar Ghosh died at a private health facility in Kolkata on Friday (January 22) after being critically-ill for over a month due to pneumonia, cardiac problems and old age complications, hospital sources said.
Ghosh, 80, leaves behind his wife – Hindustani classical vocalist of Patiala gharana Sanjukta Ghosh – and his famed percussionist son Bickram Ghosh.
The exponent of the Farrukhabad gharana of Hindustani classical music had undergone an angioplasty following heart complications in mid December at the Medica Superspecialty Hospital, but his condition deteriorated soon after.
He was on ventilator since Wednesday. He breathed his last 9 p.m. on Friday.
“He had been suffering from pneumonia with a background of ischaemic heart disease. Old age, diabetes and hypertension had added to the problems,” a statement released by the hospital said.
Hailed as one of the all-time greats of Indian classical music, Pandit Shankar Ghosh had for over five decades regaled audiences both in India and abroad with his unique baaj (style) of playing the tabla.
Known for his innovative genius, he revolutionised both the art of tabla solo performances as well as tabla accompaniment.
He is the creator of the much acclaimed all-drum orchestra Music of the Drums – later called the Calcutta Drum Orchestra.
Ghosh trained mainly with the legendary Pandit Gyan Prakash Ghosh. Ustad Feroz Khan, Pandit Anath Nath Bose and Pandit Sudarshan Adhikari were his other teachers.
Having learnt from exponents belonging to different gharanas or schools of music, Ghosh was able to create a unique style of playing which is followed by his students, many of them prominent names of the of the music world now.
A recipient of the prestigious Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 1999-2000, Ghosh had taken forward the concept of tabla ensembles — large number of tabla players showcasing their talent together.
He also received the ITC Sangeet Research Academy award and the Ustad Hafiz Ali Khan award.
At various points of his glittering career, Ghosh performed with vocalists such as Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan, Pandit Omkarnath Thakur, Pandit Vinayakrao Patwardhan, Girija Devi and Akhtari Bai.
Away from India, he collaborated with artists like Greg Ellis, Pete Lockett and John Bergamo.
He toured a number of countries to play solo or with celebrated classical musicians like sitarists Pandit Ravi Shankar and Ustad Vilayat Khan and violinist Pandit V.G. Jog and earned rave reviews.