Suresh Vyas: Continuing the Living Tradition of the Maihar style of Classical Indian Music

My Gharana

From time immemorial, India’s traditions have been transmitted from one generation to the next by means of a formal institution called the Guru-shishya parampara or ‘master-disciple succession’. Traditions of Music, Dance, Medicine, Science, Philosophy and many more have all been codified into bodies of knowledge that then were passed on by gurus to their disciples. This pedagogy has helped in maintaining the tradition of Indian classical music too. A guru who belongs to a particular gharana (or school of music) will pass on the style of this gharana to his shishya or disciple and over a period of time the shishya absorbs all the necessary traits and style of this gharana and in this way the cycle continues.

Amongst the different gharanas, Senia-Maihar Gharana is one of the most prominent names in the development of North Indian classical music and its heritage. Suresh's style of music is of the Senia-Maihar Gharana, and owes its style to the near-mythical musician Tansen, a star in the court of Akbar the Great. In the 20th century, this ancient school of classical Indian music found a rejuvenating savior in Ustad 'Baba' Allauddin Khan (1862 - 1972).

An acclaimed genius, the Baba was demonstrably proficient in over a hundred instruments. He trained arduously under legendary musicians, amassing an enormous repertoire. He then assimilated all this knowledge to form a unique style, which is called Senia-Maihar Gharana.

As the founder of the Senia-Maihar Gharana music, Baba developed a comprehensive and systematic style. Besides he improvised the sitar and the sarod and infused them with the been-baj of the Rudra-veena, the Surbahar and the Sursingar. This piece of engineering paved the way for the systematic development of a raag through its Alaap, Jod, Jhala and Gatkari. This presentation has been unique to the Senia-Maihar gharana instrumentalists.

This instrumental engineering combined with a rich understanding of classical music and a rigorous discipline for remaining committed to pure classical music is the greatest contribution of the Senia-Maihar gharana as chiselled by Allauddin Khan Saheb.

Ustad Allauddin Khan was an extraordinary performer, composer and teacher. He is best known globally as the guru of India's finest Hindustani classical music instrumentalists — Pt.Ravi Shankar (Sitar), Ustad Ali Akbar Khan (Sarod), Ma Annapurna Devi (Surbahar), Pt. Pannalal Ghosh (Flute) and Pt. VG Jog (Violin) to name just a few of his disciples.