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Shamim Ahmed Khan & Jamaluddin Bhartiya - Farewell to Two Sitar Virtuosos

Obituaries by Yogendra
(March 2012)

Shamim Ahmed Khan, sitar virtuoso of the Maihar gharana, passed away in Mumbai on February 14th at the age of 73 after a heart attack. He came from a family of singers from Baroda in the tradition of the Agra gharana and received a musical education from an early age. As a teenager he followed his love of the sitar and became a student of Ravi Shankar in 1955. From 1960 onwards he taught at Ravi Shankar's Kinnar School of Music in Mumbai. In 1967 Shamim Ahmed Khan accompanied his teacher to the United States, where he performed, taught and recorded throughout the 1970s. Later he settled down again in Mumbai and lived there as a highly regardeded performer and teacher.

A CD by Shamim Ahmed Khan with the ragas Bhairav, Madhuvanti and Chandrakauns and a dhun (with Nayan Ghosh on the tabla) is available from India Instruments for 15, - Euros (NRCD 0093, plus shipping).

Just a day after Shamim Ahmed Khan and living only 2 km away from him in Mumbai, sitarist Jamaluddin Bhartiya passed away, too. He was 83 years old. He came from a traditional family of musicians and was a student of Ravi Shankar as well. But Jamaluddin Bhartiya had also learnt from Khyal singer Amir Khan and combined the Maihar style of Ravi Shankar with the vocal articulation of Vilayat Khan in his playing - so much so that he not only played sitar, but also sang in his concerts. He became known to audiences in Central Europe in the 1970s, when he temporarily settled in Amsterdam where he established a school for Indian music. Jamaluddin Bhartiya's student Darshan Kumari still continues teaching sitar in this tradition in Amsterdam to this day - and was the first teacher of India Instruments' founder Yogendra in the early 1980s.