Written by Jayali Wavhal
“I will dedicate my performance to Pandit Bhimsen in a hope that I will make him happy and seek his blessings,” said Sarod player Pandit Basant Kabra, who was performing for the first time in the Sawai Gandharva Mahotsav on Wednesday.
Kabra, a disciple of late Annapurna Devi, was speaking in an interview during the orientation programme, Antarang, organised at the Sawai Gandharva Smarak on Wednesday.
Belonging to the Maihar-Senia Gharana, Kabra hails from an industrial family, which has also dedicated its life to music. After a training from his grandfather, Goverdhanlal Kabra, and his father, Damodarlal Kabra, he went on to learn music from Annapurna Devi.
On the issue of westernisation of traditional music due to public pressure and changing interests, Kabra said one should stick to one’s unique style of music and people would like it regardless. His uncle, Brijbhushan Kabra, started playing guitar, which was frowned upon initially. “But he still maintained his own style and played the songs of our Gharana on his guitar,” he added.
Speaking on Annapurna Devi, he said, “I was a big admirer of her brother, Ali Akbar Khan, and I tried mirroring his music style. But she asked me not to imitate him and added that if I played music like someone else, people will not want to listen to me. Music was worship for her and she asked us to perform with dedication, to learn from our own mistakes and to have a unique style of our own.”