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Shehnai | Indian Classical Wind Musical Instrument

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Shehnai

Origin of the shehnai

Shehnai was invented by correcting Pungi, both Pungi and Shehnai were invented in India with the words “Sur” and “Naal”, which means the tube from which the sound is extracted! Shehnai is thinner and longer than Pungi and has a thinner tone at its core. It is not clear when the clarinet originated in India. The clarinet is most commonly used in India. According to some beliefs, shehnai also means “king” and “barber”.

There are 6 holes in it, it is made of bamboo wood, it is mostly of wood but nowadays some part of it is made by metal but more part is made of wood! In India, it is used in beautiful manglic works because its vowels and sounds are considered manglic.

Shehnai is mostly used in classical music, it is mostly seen in classical programs in temples and weddings. The main reason for its fame is ‘Ustad Bismillah Khan‘.

Indian Shehnai players

Qamruddin Bismillah Khan
Pandit S. Ballesh (Ballappa Sanna Bharamappa Bhajantri)
Anant Lal
Ali Ahmad Hussain Khan
Lokesh Anand
Raghunath Prasanna

Qamruddin Bismillah khan

Ustad Bismillah Khan was born on 21 March 1916 in dumraon of Buxar district, which was under British occupation at that time. Bismillah Khan was always addressed with the title Ustad, an Indian musician who is credited with popularizing the shehnai. Ustad Bismillah Khan was awarded India’s highest civilian honor Bharat Ratna” in 2001. He became the third Indian musician to be awarded the “Bharat Ratna”.

Shehnai Bismillah Khan

Ustad Bismillah Khan was born into a family of traditional Muslim musicians, his father’s name was Pegambar Bux Khan and his mother’s name was Mitan, his father Pegambar Bux Khan, his grandfather Ustad Salar Hussain Khan and grandfather Rasul Bux Khan were musicians in the court. Ustad’s name at birth was Qamruddin so that he could speak poetry with his elder brother Shamsuddin.

At the age of six, he moved to Uttar Pradesh’s district Varanasi. Ali Bux “Vilayatu” Khan, the shehnai player at the Kashi Vishwanath temple, Bismillah Khan went to apprentice Ali Bux with his uncle at the Allahabad Music Conference.

On 17 August 2006, Bismillah Khan’s health worsened and he was admitted to the Heritage Hospital in Varanasi for treatment, Ustad Bismillah Khan’s final wish was to pay tribute to the martyrs by performing his art in India gate but his wish was not fulfilled and he died of cardiac arrest on 21 August 2006.

The Government of India declared a day of national mourning on his death. His corpse along with a shehnai was buried under the Neem tree in the Fatman burial ground in Old Varanasi with a 21-gun salute from the Indian Army.

Pandit S. Ballesh

Pandit s. Ballesh was born on 1 April 1958 in “m.k. hubli” of belgaum district, Karnataka.
Pandit s. ballesh Patiala Gharana Hindustani singer and Banaras Gharana was the specialist of shehnai vadan and ghazal singer.

Shehnai Pandit S. Ballesh

Ballesh trained under the shehnai virtuoso “ustad bismillah khan”. He is a member of Panchakshara Gavai brotherhood. he has performed in classical music festivals, jugalbandi (duets), and film music.

Ballesh’s father’s name is shehnai samrat pandit sanna bharamanna and their mother’s name is Mrs. yelamma. Members from all his generations played the clarinet. Pandit s. ballesh often performed his art in Air Dharwar and Doordarshan.

Awards

  • Karnatak Kalashri radio mirchi jury award.
  • surmani award in 1970.
  • shehnai samrat.
  • shehnai ratna.
  • sangeet ratna.
  • sahaddi apanna kalashree puraskar.
  • shehnai chakra varthy.
  • bhimsen samman international award.
  • kannada rajyotsava award.
  • excellent in music award.
  • Zee tamil.

Anant Lal

Anant Lal was born in 1927 in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh often referred to as Pandit. He was an Indian classical musician who played the clarinet, he has also worked in all India radio. Anant Lal was one of the leading exponents of shehnai in Hindustani classical music.

Shehnai has been a Musical instrument in the family of Anant Lal for 200 years, Anant Lal initially received tuition on the instrument from his father Pandit Mitha Lal, and his uncle at the age of nine years, later Anant Lal Varanasi’s thumri vocal teacher Pandit Mahadev Prasad became a student of Mishra.

Ali Ahmad Hussain Khan

Ali Ahmed Hussain Khan was born on 21 March 1939 in Kolkata. His grandfather Wazir Ali Khan was the first person to perform on Indian classical music at Shehnai at the Buckingham Palace. His father Ali Jaan Khan and uncle Nazir Hussain Khan and Imdad Hussain Khan of Banaras were also famous shehnai specialists.

He taught shehnai at the Academy of Music Research in Calcutta in 1974. He was regularly featured on All India Radio and on Indian television. He has the distinction of composing a signature tune for Indian television with Pandit Ravi Shankar.

He played jugalbandi commercially and in live performances with artists like Vilayat Hussain Khan, Pandit Manilal Nag on sitar, V. G. Jog on violin, and Munewar Ali Khan, vocals. His recordings are numerous and under a variety of labels.

Ali Ahmed traveled to India and abroad. His concerts include countries such as the United Kingdom, Germany, Switzerland, Netherlands, France, Belgium, Russia, Tunisia, Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia and the Philippines.

On several occasions he has been invited / sponsored by governments and / or music festivals. He performed a duet with pianist Peter Michael Hamel at the Indo-German Festival. He participated in the music festival Rag-Mala in the US and Canada in 1994.

Lokesh Anand

Lokesh Anand was born on 13 March 1978 in Delhi. He is empanelled with the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (Government of India). The key features of Anand’s shehnai playing are clean fingering technique, richness in sound and clarity as well as command over speed. Lokesh acts in singles and duets and also performs fusion.

Shehnai Lokesh Anand

Started training with his father Kalicharan when Lokesh was 8 years old. His father taught him basic techniques that set him apart from others. Later in life, Lokesh received training from Pandit Anant Lal, Pandit Dayashankar, and Pandit Jasraj.

raghunath prasanna

raghunath prasanna was born on 1913 in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh. He was known for using the techniques of shehnai in flute playing, also inspired by vocal music.

He was married to Saraswati Devi. They had seven children. One of them is flute and shehnai player Rajendra Prasanna, whose sons Rishabh, Rajesh, and Ritesh play the flute.

Shehnai Raghunath Prasanna

Raghunath Prasanna studied music from his father Gauri Shankar, a shehnai player, and Dauji Mishra of Varanasi. He was the first to introduce the art of flute (Tripura Bansuri and Krishna Bansuri) in the family tradition, which until then was known for shehnai playing.

At an early age, Prasanna worked as a staff artist in various All India Radio stations including Lucknow, Allahabad, and Ranchi. Later, he attended the Banaras Hindu University and eventually obtained a seat in the Song and Drama Division of the Government of India. Raghunath was also known for playing Tripura and Krishna bansuris.

His techniques have been adopted by his younger brothers and disciples Vishnu and Bholanath Prasanna, his sons Rakesh and Rajendra Prasanna, Niranjan Prasad, and Bhanu and Ronu Majumdar.

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