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Audio and Video Recordings and Articles on Dhrupad and the Dagar Tradition All articles © Ashish Sankrityayan

Govindrao Burhanpurkar and other Pakhawaj Maestros of Yesteryears

with 5 comments

Elder Dagar Brothers with Pt. Govindrao Burhanpurkar on Pakhawaj

The grand old man with the elegant bordered cap on the pakhawaj in this photo is none other than great pakhawaj maestro of yesteryears Govindrao Burhanpurkar.

My Guru Rahim Fahimuddin Dagar once identified him to me in this very photograph which I had got printed then from the Sangeet Natak Akademi archives in connection with my work on the Mewar CDs. He reminisced about his magnificient playing with his father Rahimuddin Dagar and said that pakhawaj players like Govindrao Burhanpurkar and his contemporary  Ayodhya Prasad used to play the ‘Angs‘ of singing on the pakhawaj and because they could anticipate these ‘Angs‘,  it was possible to do very long and gradually unfolding developments of compositions with their accompaniment.

Another contemporary pakhawaj player of Govindrao Burhanpurkar  he mentioned and also showed me a photo of,  wearing a similar cap was S. V. Patwardhan, who played brilliantly with the Elder Dagar brothers in their great Darbari Kanada L.P. Unfortunately I never managed to make a copy of that photo. Wish I had since that might be the only picture around of this great pakhawaj player who also passed away in the 1960’s soon after the untimely death of Ustad Nasir Moinuddin Dagar. That brilliant accompaniment in the Darbari/Adana L.P. and a few recordings of his sangat in A.I.R broadcasts with the Elder Dagar Brothers assures him a place in the pakhawaj roll of honour.

Unfortunately this is a poor reproduction from the L.P and does not bring out S.V. Patwardhan’s beautiful resonant bell like sound that I had heard with very good L.P. players and reproducing equipment. I hope H.M.V does a good remastering and releases it again.

What I loved about his sangat was the grand way he gave theka in the beginning and restrained his tremendous virtuosity and speed – only gradually bringing in the fireworks, and all the time  following the ‘Angs‘ of the singing with incredible closeness and anticipation.

I found a picture of this L.P. on this unbelievably named  blog “Anthems for the Nation of Luobania” – which gives photos of the vinyl disc too and also discusses the merits of different pressings…which ones have low surface noise etc. !!! Real Dhrupadiyas among L.P. collectors I must say, to pay such attention to nuances 🙂 . The blog is a must see for all vinyl L.P. lovers!!

Elder Dagar Brothers - Darbari L.P. with S.V. Patwardhan on Pakhawaj

Incredibly enough I googled and found a youtube video with Burhanpurkar Ji’s solo playing taken from an old 78 rpm record. The playing is very virtuosic,  but of course with the tinny sound of a 78 rpm shellac recording, we can only get a distant glimpse of what it would have sounded like in real life- a rare example of pakhawaj solo on shellac. That HMV released it showed the stature that Govindrao Burhanpurkar had among his contemporaries. Hats off to Warren Senders for uploading this and other  78 rpm gems.

Another rare recording of pakhawaj sangat or accompaniment that I have is of  Ambadas Pant Agle  – grandfather of pakhawaj players Sanjay and Chitrangana Agle accompanying Rudra Veena player Abid Hussain Khan of Janjira – a relative and elder of renowned Veena player Late Asad Ali Khan.  Abid Hussain was also a Dhrupad singer and one of the many important tasks of Dhrupad archivists would be to locate his recordings and find students of his who might remember things taught by him.
– Raga Desh, Abid Hussain Khan, Ambadas Pant Agle.  All India Radio Broadcast on 19th September 1963. Recorded by Maharawal Mahipalsinghji of Dungarpur.

Govindrao Burhanpurkar, S. V. Patwardhan, Ambadas Pant Agle – all belonged to the Nana Panse school of pakhawaj,  which emphasized a kind of soft,  sensuous and poetic style of playing as opposed to the  more manly and forceful Kudao Singh style . The Nana Panse style was more prevalent in Maharashtra and Central India while the Kudao Singh style of which Ramashish Pathak and Ayodhya Prasad  are fine  examples  is found in the North and in Bihar.

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5 Responses

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  1. I must thank dhrupad1234 [AS] for writing such an extraordinary article on “A Tribute to Ustad Fariduddin Dagar”.

    I enjoyed every bit of it as it reminded me of our association with late Padmabhushan Ustad Nasir Aminuddin Dagar, one of the senior Dagar Brothers, rudra veena maestro late Ustad Asad Ali Khan, Pandit Ashok Pathak on surbahar, Anindya Bandopadhyay on sursingar, Nandy Sisters [Aloka Nandy & Ashoka Dhar] on vocal, Gopal Das on Pakhawaj and Tarak Chand Boral on Pakhawaj as we invited them to perform for Surdhwani in Wolverhampton in a 2-Day Dhrupad Festival in November 1992 through AMC.

    We enjoyed so much during those two days.

    I really felt sad when I heard that Ustad Asad Ali Khan had passed away as we featured his rendition on rag Malkauns on the 8th of June 2011 and he passed away soon after that.

    I am a co-producer and co-presenter of Surtarang Broadcast and would like to broadcast lte Ustad Nasir Aminuddin’ s Mian Ki Malhar, Bhairavee, Ustad Zia Fariduddin’s raga Bhimpalasi, Dagar Brother’s Darbari Kanada, Dhamar Darbari Kanada, raag Adana. I particularly loved late Ustad Nasir Moinuddin & late Ustad Nasir Aminuddin Dagar, the senior Dagar Brothers singing Darbari, the king of ragas in dhrupad style. It is a unique rendition by the real dhrupadiyas.

    I also enjoyed late Ustad Zia Fariduddin Dagar singing [courtesy: AMC, London].

    If you can share some of the rare music with us, we can broadcast them via Surtarang [Wave of Melody]. When I was the Hon General Secretary of Surdhwani in ’92, I had the honour of meeting the legend late Padmabhushan Ustad Nasir Aminuddin Dagar. I also have a rare picture of his performance in Wolverhampton [UK] like the b/w print of Sangeet Natak Academy archive. I will always treasure fond memories of late Padmabhushan Ustad Nasir Aminuddin Dagar and late Ustad Asad Ali Khan.

    Albeit I didn’t have the opportunity to meet late Ustad Zia Fareeduddin Dagar yet I learnt a bit ’bout Khan Shahib and his disciple Mani Kaul, the noted Film Maker through Deepak Raja’s ‘World of Hindustani Music’ and I enjoyed reading the article.

    I am priviledged and honoured to have known these two great master musicians of our country.

    Many thanks for sharing this article with us all.

    • Yes Maitreyi Ji.. There is something in that Darbari of the Elder Dagar Brothers that makes it one of the best recordings ever released. For me that recording is very special because it was the first piece of Dhrupad I had ever heard in my life. I hope a very good reproduction from the Vinyl L.P. comes out again on C.D. I would really love to hear Aminuddin Sab’s performance at your 1992 festival. Ashish Sankrityayan

      Ashish Sankrityayan

      August 24, 2011 at 3:00 am

      • Dear Ashish,

        Many thanks for your prompt reply. I knew the article was from you! Unfortunately, I do not have Aminuddin Khan Sahib’s performance in Wolverhampton as we had the musicians through AMC, London. I’m sure they will have it in their archive. Please get in touch with them and if they have, kindly send me a copy for broadcasting. In those days, musicians didn’t allow the promoters or organisers to do any recordings and therefore, we were unable to do it. It is such a pity though as that performance could have been beneficial to many young musicians who would like to learn and would like to be the torch bearers of the Dhrupad.

        I was listening to Khan Shahibs’ exquisite renditon on raga darbari quite a few times; while I was working on my computer until very late. I found it very relaxing, soothing and out of this world!

        Please send me some tracks via MP3 for broadcasting as people ought to hear the real dhrupadiyas.

        All the very best.

        With warmest regards.

        Maitreyee Sarcar.

  2. Many many thanks for sending this……….

    Nirmal Kanti Biswas

    May 13, 2013 at 1:15 am

  3. I have read the comment by Nirmal Kanti Biswas. I must admit that this black and white photograph with Pt Govindrao Burhanpurkar is unique and it portrays a classical recital very well.

    The grand old man with the elegant bordered cap on the pakhawaj in this photo is none other than great pakhawaj maestro of yesteryears Pt Govindrao Burhanpurkar as Mr Nirmal Kanti Biswas has mentioned earlier.

    I think Pt Govindrao Burhanpurkar makes the photograph very attractive, interesting and informative.

    After listening to late Padma Bhushan Ustad Nasitr Aminuddin Dagar live in 1992 and the Darbari Kanada/Adana LP, I fell in love with Dhrupad style of singing.

    We at Surtarang will pay tribute to another Dhrupad Maestro late Ustad Zia Fariduddin Dagar on the 24th of July. So, those who love Dhrupad, mustn’t miss the opportunity to listen to the great maestro via Surtarang broadcast via http://www.surtarang.co.uk and http://www.wcrfm.com

    Once again I would like to thank Dhrupad1234 for sharing this gem of a photograph with us all.


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