I shall never forget the afternoon of October 13, 1987: AIR delivered the news flash that Kishore Kumar had passed away.

Popular music is intrinsically generational: every prevailing mode of the day is consigned to obscurity when a new fashion takes over. It is extremely rare for practitioners of popular music or their style to survive this cyclic churn.

Kishore‘s adbhuta artistry and voice, however, were “not of an age, but for all time.” Of his Indian contemporaries, he is the only one most likely to appeal to generations yet unborn.

Kishore Kumar and Rajan Parrikar

A Treasured Memory – Panjim, March 1986
Photo by: Gourish Nadkarni

 

From the unfinished/unreleased NEELA AASMAN (1959), composed and sung by Kishore Kumar:

 
 
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Smt. Sahasrabuddhe passed away on June 29 in Pune. She was 67.

We never met in person although I understand she frequently sojourned in the San Francisco Bay Area. In 1995 I accompanied her brother Kashinath Bodas on the harmonium in a couple of baithaks; I clearly remember his fond references to his sister (two weeks after those concerts he died of a heart attack in Canada).

I once played for Ramrang her rendition of his composition beeta gaye ri in Raga Hemant. He noted right away that she had made tweaks to the bandish. Nevertheless he expressed approval of, what he termed, her “bibeka” (Ramrang was always receptive to fresh input) and remarked that she had remained true to the “aatma” of the composition.

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