A very sad day indeed for Indian Music today. The great Sitar Maestro Pt. Ravishankar is no more. I read about this first on Twitter from a post by Rajeedp Sardesai.
While I have listened to his Music on Magnetic tapes and Records, I was very fortunate to hear him live only once in my lifetime. I do not remember the exact year but it was during 1979-83 period when I lived in Satna - Madhya Pradesh and was a regular visitor to the Maa Sharda Devi Temple of Maihar. It was about 40 km away and driving on Enfield Bullet was easy.
Baba Allaudin Khan Sangeet Mahotsav – Maihar, MP became a famous festival for few of my friends and me to visit and listen to divine Music every year spending overnight in the Shamianas - Taping it on our Bush portable stereo of those days and listening to the magnetic tapes later at home.
We were lucky that week. We heard Pt. Bhimsen Joshi, Kumar Gandharv and many famous singers. As luck would have it we also had Ustad Alla Rakha Khan and it was probably the first of the performances of Ustad Zakir Hussain SoKhan on Tabla. What a rare show the Jugal Bandi of the Father and Son Live. I wish technology was better or I had means to Video record it. I am not sure, they filmed it.
Those were cold winter nights, we would carry 'Kambals' to keep us warm and to keep us awake I was lucky to have friends for company who were great music listeners and at every nuance would give 'Daad' with Mukta Kanth ( Loudly).
Suddenly, we saw Pt. Ravishankar on stage and we recorded his Sitar Vaadan. Which was with me for years on the tape. In a short break we saw Panditji coming down and touching Ustad Alla Rakha Khan's feet. It was learnt that the Great Ustad made a request to Panditji that he should SING ! No one knew that Pt. Ravishankar would be asked to Sing ! We saw Panditji praying to the Great Ustad that " Gaayaki hamare Gharane me nahin hai" - We are not traditional singers" but the Great old man of Indian Music was not prepared to listen. Finally, Pandit Ravishankar sang and sang till early morning ! We saw the great father son duo of Ustad Alla Rakha Khan and Ustad Zakir Hussain giving company and it was a listener's delight.
What a rare occasion that was and all of us who listened to them rightfully bragged about it with those who missed it. It was sheer luck.
R.I.P. Panditji - India and Indian Music shall always miss you.