My tribute to Kanekar Uncle ( Pandit Narendra Kanekar)

My aunt called up today morning to say that Kanekar uncle (thats how I addressed Pt. Narendra Kanekar, doyen of Jaipur and Agra gharana) passed away today at Bombay. Having know him and aunty Kanekar very well for 15 years, it came as a shock to me. My aunt, Dr. Bhanu Raman who was Panditji's disciple for almost 12 years is devastated at the loss of her guru.

Pt. Narendra Kanekar specialized in Gwalior, Agra and Jaipur, three principal Gharanas of Hindustani vocal music. He received his initial grooming in music from Pt. Manohar Barwe of Gwalior Gharana. He later became a disciple of Pt. Dattatraya Vishnu Kane (Kane Bua of Ichchalkaranji) of Agra Gharana. Kanebua was a prime disciple of Ustad Vilayat Hussain Khan Saheb. Pt. Ratnakar Pai of Jaipur Gharana was his Guru after he moved to Bombay. He was an A grade artiste on AIR and TV. He was blessed with a sweet yet powerful voice . Due to years of rigorous training, his depth and understanding of Hindustani classical music was legendary. He has told us once that after he commenced his training under Pandit Ratnakar Pai, people felt that his singing had lost the Agra gayaki which was his strongest forte. He hence used to present the ragas taught by Pandit Pai to Kanebua and polish and practice them with him the Agra way. His music thus was a wonderful amalgam of Jaipur and Agra gayakis. He has trained many students in the traditional Guru-Shishya discipline over the last few decades. Panditji was a master at singing Jod (Anwat ) ragas. He had a wide repertoire and his concert fare included traditional Jaipur and Agra Bandishes (compositions). I have listened to his brilliant renditions of Lalita Gauri, Bhoop-Nat, Jaita-shree, Nat-Bihag, Basanti-Kedar, Kausi-Kanada and many other rare ragas. Behind his rich and articulate vocalism lay deep feeling coupled with creativity and genius.

I first met Kanekar uncle at my sister's home when he used to come down to teach her music in the evenings. My sister Ramya was his first student in our family. My aunt began learning from him after some time later. During those days Uncle used to sing every Sunday morning at his friend Bhai Mayekar's residence. Bhai is an excellent Tabla player. Pt. Prabhakar Pednekar used to accompany him on the harmonium. My aunt and I used to attend these chamber concerts regularly. The first chamber concert at which he sang RAgas Bhoop, Nat and finally Bhoop-Nat remains etched in my memory as it revealed deeper facets of his Gayaki.We used to request him to sing some raga or the other at evey session and he used to oblige us with a smile. Kanekar uncle was an expert at singing Thumris too. He was a fan of Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khansaheb. Prem ki Maar Katar in Raga Sohoni and the famous Bhairavi Thumri Baaju band Khul Khul Jaa were some of his favorites. Those Sunday morning concerts are some of the best ones I have listened to ever. Panditji used to speak English excellently and I used to look forward to chatting with him. Besides being a musician, uncle successfully managed his career in the petroleum industry.He was meticulous not only in his music but in all walks of life. A memorable concert of his was at the Alladiya Khansaheb festival. Pandit Jitendra Abhisheki was to perform and couldn't make it due to ill health. We needed an artiste of Pandit Abhisheki's stature and Kanekar uncle agreed to fill in immediately. He sang a wonderful Miyan Ki Todi and Jounpuri-Bahar in the morning session on the concluding day of the festival. I also recollect his 75 birthday celebration concert in which he sang Nat-Bihag, Dagori and Suha Kanada. His renditions of Ragas like Bhairav, Shivmat-Bhairav and Shree had a meditative quality in them.

I hereby offer my heartfelt condolences Kanekar aunty and his near and dear ones. I pray to God that his soul rest in peace and that God give us ( those who knew Kanekar uncle well and were associated with him) the strength to bear his demise with fortitude. Pandit Kanekar will live on through his music and the legacy of students he has left behind. Kanekar uncle will also live on in our memories as a wonderful human being . I will always cherish the time I have spent with Kanekar Uncle and consider myself fortunate to have shared a warm friendship with him.

PS. adding a note here that I will soon share some of his best recordings 


Kaustubha Kane said…
I am Kaustubha Kane, grandson of Pt. D.V. Kanebuva. I happen to have some old recordings of Pt. Narendra Kanekar and right now I am converting them and uploading to Youtube.
It will take some days to finish uploading all of them, as I do it in my spare time. You can search his name on youtube or my channel- Kaustubha Kane and find his recordings.
Thanks for the blog.

Kaustubha Kane
Anand Ganapathy said…
Hi Kaustubh ,
Just saw your post on my blog. Don't check it so regularly these days .You are doing a great service to the world of Hindustani music and keeping the memory of Pt Kanekar alive . God bless.
Warm regards,
Anand Ganapathy said…
I am already following your channel ... Lovely recordings indeed .

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