Considered as one of the greatest performers of Khyal in India, Pandit Amiya Ranjan Bandyopadhyay was born on February 21, 1927. His family has been renowned as one of the richest in terms of musical tradition and proponents of Bengal’s own Bishnupur Gharana of Indian Classical Music, a tradition that goes back over a hundred and fifty years. His father was the legendary Sangeetacharya Satya Kinkar Bandyopadhyay. At present, Pandit Amiya Ranjan Bandyopadhyay is among the most senior Khyal artistes performing in. He is of equal renown as a proficient teacher of classical music, largely due to his artistic skill as well as analytic insight into music. Besides being one of the founding fathers, he has also been the Head of the Department of Vocal Music of Rabindra Bharati University. Following a teaching career that lasted over thirty years, he finally took retirement in 1992. In the year 2000 he was appointed as a Visiting Professor of Music in Viswa Bharati. He continues to serve in selection Board of several Universities.
Elaborating upon the richness of raga based music, Pandit Amiya Ranjan Bandyopadhyay talks about multiple forms including pure Dhrupad or the modern Bengali songs. The latter assumes its form primarily because of the use of a chord structure borrowed from Western Music, the underlying melody however remains essentially raga based. But as for his personal preference, he finds Khyal to be unmatched. Even though he acknowledges the power and richness of Dhrupad, he considers that as a performer he should also respect the demand and taste of his audience, which he found to be more, inclined towards Khyal than Dhrupad. Thus, even though he hails from a Dhrupad-rich Gharana, he had adopted himself to Khyal.
This idea of adapting to the changes and demands of the day and age, Pandit Amiya Ranjan Bandyopadhyay talks the importance of remaining contemporary despite the apparently rigid paradigms of Indian Classical Music, both theory and practice. He talks at length about the technical and grammatical shifts that seemed to have taken place over the years and how certain styles have become popular while others have become obsolete. He further draws attention to the fact that there has been a dominant tendency of the gharanas slowing erasing out their nuanced differences and moving towards a rather homogenous and standardized idea of music, owing largely to an increased cultural exchange among gharanas. At the same time, the idea of publicity has also increased and many a time, the very appreciation or evaluation of an artiste is being judged according to his or her publicity. He concludes by stating his idea of field and focus whereby he emphasizes on the significance of music over words, in a song. That is, the tune is the focus while the words remain within the field of vision.
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