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Anand Bhate
GharanaKhayal - Kirana
Anand Bhate
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Bhimsen Joshi
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Anand Bhate is one of the most promising artistes in the new generation of the great Kirana tradition. He started his musical journey in early childhood and continued to present different aspects, such as Hindustani Classical Music, Marathi natyasangeet and devotional compositions. Afterwards, for more than 15 years now, he has been a disciple of the great classical vocalist, Pandit Bhimsen Joshi, doyen of the Kirana gharana and a living legend.

Anand was a gifted child prodigy from a family that had a background in classical music as well as Marathi drama. His great-grandfather, famously called Bhatebuva, was known for his prowess in rendering the thumari and natyasangeet. Anand’s father is a devoted fan of Balgandharva, the legendary singer-actor of the Marathi stage during the first half of the last century.

Anand’s natural talent for music blossomed at a very young age. It was Anand’s discerning father who started honing it when he was not yet 10. His two elder sisters, who were also learning music at the Gandharva Mahavidyalaya, also used to pitch in. At that time he used to play the bulbultarang, but before long, he could play the harmonium without any tuition. Anand’s father took him to Chandrashekhar Deshpande for systematic training in Marathi natyasangeet. As a result, Anand was soon able to sing various songs from various Marathi musical plays exactly in the manner and style of Balgandharva himself and also started to give public performances.

He gave his first public performance in 1981, at the age of 10, and became a young star almost overnight. Connoisseurs were spellbound by Anand’s luminous rendering of Balgandharva’s gayaki and affectionately conferred on him the ‘title’ Anand Gandharva. In the ensuing few years Anand had many successes. He gave natyasangeet performances on All India Radio as well as on Mumbai Doordarshan and many public performances at various places in India. He cut his first natyasangeet cassette in 1983.

Meanwhile, again thanks to his father, Anand had also begun his systematic initial training in classical music with Pandit Yashwantrao Marathe, who initiated Anand into the intricacies of Khayal gayaki. He got many opportunities to perform, particularly at the residence of Hirabai Badodekar, another stalwart of the Kirana gharana. He invariably impressed his audience—which, on occasion, included stalwarts like Pandit Ravi Shankar, Ustad Alla Rakha, Ustad Zakir Hussain, P. L. Deshpande and Dr. Vasantrao Deshpande, among others.

His fame reached the Marathi-speaking diaspora in the US. He was invited to perform at the Brihan Maharashtra Mandal convention in Chicago in 1984 where he captivated the audience. This was a landmark event. It was followed by many more performances in the US and Canada. Everywhere it was as if “he came, he saw, he conquered”.

As already mentioned, Anand became a disciple of the great Pandit Bhimsen Joshi in 1988, which was, indeed, a long-cherished dream coming true for Anand. Under Bhimsenji’s guidance, Anand has emerged as a notable Khayal-singer of the younger generation that has to carry forward the glorious tradition of Indian classical music in general and the Kirana gayaki in particular. Lately, he has performed at the Sawai Gandharva Music Festival at Pune in 2002, 2005 and 2007.

Alongside his career in music, Anand has also had brilliant academics inherited from his mother, a professor in a renowned institution herself. He figured in the merit list at both the SSC and HSC examinations and went on to do his BE (Electronics) and M.Tech (Computer Science) from the University of Pune. At present, he is a Group Manager with Zensar Technologies at Pune. In the course of his professional position as a software engineer he travels abroad many times and also gives performances.

Anand is a dedicated and hard-working professional—both as an engineer and as a musician. His professional work does not deter him from pursuing his passion, music.
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