Legendary Indian Classical Vocalist Pandit Jasraj passed away on Monday in New Jersey, the U.S due to cardiac arrest. He was 90.
Pandit Jasraj had been staying back in the United States due to the travel restrictions in India due to the pandemic. A man who always adapted to changing times, he was spending his time performing and teaching music to his disciples online.
His demise was confirmed by his daughter Durga Jasraj.
Well-wishers and fans expressed their deepest grief over the loss of the doyen. Oscar-winning musician A.R. Rahman too tweeted that “India has lost one of its finest stars.”
Born in Hisar in 1930, Pandit Jasraj began learning tabla and vocal music from his brothers at a young age. Eventually, he became a radio performer and moved to Calcutta in 1947.
After finally settling in Mumbai, he continued his mission of globalising Indian Classical Music. He established schools in Atlanta, Tampa, Vancouver, Toronto, New York, New Jersey, Pittsburgh, Mumbai, and Kerala. He also performed and recorded internationally.
Pandit Jasraj was an exponent of the Mewati Gharana and played a pioneering role in the evolution of classical music without compromising on its core values. According to The Guardian, “Ornamentation like meend (sliding from one note to the next), kan swar (the use of grace notes), gamak (oscillation between notes), murkhi (a short cluster of notes) and laykari (rhythmic work), were all facets of the traditional classical way of singing which he emphasised in the Mewati style.’’
He also invented the Jasrangi, a form of Jugalbandi where male and female vocalists sing the same raga at separate pitches.
Pandit Jasraj received several prestigious awards like Padma Shri, Padma Bhushan and Padma Vibhushan. In 2019, the International Astronomical Union named a minor planet between Mars and Jupiter ‘Panditjasraj’ after him.
Image Source- The Quint