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Background


The tradition of Hindustani Music in the regions of Dharwad, Gadag, Belgaum in Karnataka had its roots a century ago, with many legends originating from these areas. Previously a stronghold of Carnatic Music, the tradition and popularity of Hindustani Music spread and established deep roots in this region. The spread of the high traditions of Hindustani Music in Karnataka has its glorious genesis in this region. Interestingly, the State of Mysore gave the initial support and patronage to the growth of Hindustani Music in Karnataka. Shri. Nalvadi Krishnaraj Wodeyar (1884-1940), the Ruler of Mysore who had deep interest in Hindustani Music traditions had a few Hindustani Musicians in his royal court. They were given royal patronage and were supported in their efforts to achieve excellence in their music traditions. Moreover, a number of great Hindustani Music legends from all over the country were invited to perform at the annual Dashera celebrations in Mysore. These performances gradually spread to the northern parts of the State and the listening traditions transformed gradually to learning traditions in this part.
One of the legends of Kirana Gharana, Ustad Abdul Karim Khan (1872­1937) also visited Dharwad district often. He used to give a number of performances in Hubli and Kundagol. Kundagol's Ramachandra Saunshi learnt under him for 8 years and became the legendary Sawai Gandharva. Bhimsen Joshi, Gangubai * Hangal and Firoz Dastur were the disciples of Sawai Gandharva.
Saint musician Panchakshari Gawai, another great musician was well versed in both Hindustani and Carnatic traditions. He traveled widely in North Karnataka and ulti­mately settled down in Gadag. Amongst his disciples were the well known Saint musician Puttaraj Gawai, Basavraj Rajguru, Panchakshariswami, Mattigatti, Siddram Jambaldinni, Arjunsa Nakod. The traditions of Hindustani music are continued to this day with the rise of Pt.Venkateshkumar, Pt. D.Kumardas, Pt. Somanath Maradur, Pt. Shanmukha Gojnur, Pt. Ganapati Bhat, Pt. Parameshwar Hegde, Pt. Shripad Hegde, Dr. Shantaram Hegde and Smt. Sangeeta Katti, to name a few. One of the greats of Gwalior Gharana, Sri. Neelkanthbuva Mirajkar was also instrumental in the spread of Hindustani music in this region. He was from Bagalkot district but settled down in Miraj, Maharashtra. He has the distinction of being the guru of Pt. Panchakshari Gawai, Pt. Basavraj Rajguru and Pt. Mallikarjun Mansur.


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