Song of Surrender

Saturday, 23 January 2016

Tabla legend Pandit Shankar Ghosh

23 January
By Shrinkhla Sahai

Known for his magnetic stage presence, energetic artistry and dynamic outlook, Pandit Shankar Ghosh was not only an acclaimed tabla maestro, but also a musical visionary. The 80-year old veteran passed away in Kolkata on 22 January 2016. Following an angioplasty in December 2015, he went into a coma and was in a critical state for 40 days before succumbing.

Born in 1935 in Kolkata, Shankar Ghosh was a disciple of Gyan Prakash Ghosh. He also trained with Feroz Khan, Anath Nath Bose and Sudarshan Adhikari. Amalgamating the techniques of numerous gharanas, he developed a repertoire and style marked by flair and individuality.  A remarkable soloist and accompanist, he performed with a galaxy of maestros of the last century. His most significant contribution to the world of music has been his experimental work with tabla ensembles. He led the unique drum orchestra Music of the Drum (later called the Calcutta Drum Orchestra) which became extremely popular and revolutionised percussion and collaborative music-making in the Hindustani classical genre.  

A founder member of the faculty of Ali Akbar College in California, USA, he developed engaging pedagogical methods and later initiated an online tabla academy.

The maestro is survived by his vocalist wife, Sanjukta Ghosh, son Bickram Ghosh, an eminent tabla player, daughter-in-law Jaya Seal Ghosh and two grandsons.

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