Saturday, March 16, 2013

Ecstatic Fiddle: Pandit V.G. Jog

Pandit V.G. Jog

I came across the music of Pandit V.G. Jog through my father who had several LPs of his in our rather humble family record collection.  Jog, along with Bhimsen Joshi and Pannalal Ghosh were the holy trinity of Indian classical music growing up. In fact, they were the only three Hindustani classical musicians I knew, and over the years I fell under the sway of their playing and singing.

Vishnu Govind Jog, or simply V.G., was the man who more than any other made the Western violin a beloved and natural sounding member of the Hindustani musical orchestra.  A Marathi by birth, Jog lived most of his life in Calcutta that great eastern metropolis of culture and art.  His pedigree is burnished with some brief periods of study with the greatest of all modern Indian music pedagogues, Allaudin Khan, but the bulk of his training as a violinist came from V. Shastry and Dr. S.N. Ratanjarkar.  He received his Master’s degree in music from Lucknow where he remained for some time as an instructor himself. Groomed in the Gwalior, Agra and Bakhle styles, Pandit Jog's virtuosity, mastery of ragas and an uncanny realisation of space and time in the construction and knowledge of rhythm are his hallmarks. At a very young age, he rubbed shoulders with all time greats at the Bhatkhande College of Music, Lucknow, in the 1930s—the first great attempt at institutionalizing traditional music instruction. (Wikipedia)

Panditji travelled extensively around the world and performed in some of the great concert halls in the US and Europe including Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center.  In the late 1990’s he developed Parkinson’s disease which made it increasingly difficult for him to play his beloved violin.  He passed away in Calcutta in 2004 after attaining almost all the high civilian honors of his country and those in the South Asian region.

This is a cassette I purchased in his home city of Calcutta many years ago and is one of my favorite. His treatment, especially, of Raga Kirwani, is spectacular. He does, truly, manage to make waves of ecstasy on both these selections.

         Track Listing:
         01 Raga Shyam Kalyan
         02 Raga Kirwani

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