Growing up with music

PLAYING SOLO Young harmonium player Vinay Mishra credits his musical inclination to the city of his birth: Varanasi. ANJANA RAJAN

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Vinay Mishra, who comes from a family of doctors, has grown up surrounded by music. He was born in Varanasi, a city famed for being home to legendary exponents of Hindustani music. There is something in the air and the water of Varanasi, or Banaras, they say, that makes music sweeter than nectar and unforgettable. Added to the good fortune of being born in this city of *rasa’ or the essence of taste, Vinay also had a grandfather and father who loved music.
Taking to the instrument
Vinay, an accomplished harmonium player, started off learning to sing. He also learnt the sitar, and although “the essence of classical music is ragadaari, and the essence of ragadaari is vocal music,” the harmonium holds a special place in his heart. “I always had a harmonium at home. But I used to wonder why one did not hear of eminent solo harmonium players. That’s because till then I had not heard of the great soloists of this instrument, but anyway, it drew me to learn it. I became a disciple of Ustad Mahtab Khan Saheb and his father Ustad Chand Khan Saheb.”After completing a degree in music from Banaras Hindu University, Vinay came to Delhi to pursue his Master’s degree. Now he has completed his M. Phil, specialising in the harmonium, and is hoping to be accepted for a Ph. D to further his research in the instrument.“I have written about at least 20 great players of the harmonium. I discovered a number of lesser known names,” says Vinay.Though his family likes music, no one expected Vinay to take it up professionally. But, says Vinay, “By the time I did my graduation, I knew I had to do this.” Though apprehensive at first, his family soon grew to be proud of him as he got a chance to play as a harmonium accompanist to some of the most eminent musicians in Varanasi’s iconic Sankat Mochan Festival when he was hardly 20.Today, though, Vinay is keen to build a name as a soloist too. Delhi life leaves one little time for practice, he notes. Long commuting hours and extraneous considerations sap the energy. “Your clothes are observed more than your playing,” he quips.But Vinay is enthusiastic. He continues to take guidance from his gurus in Varanasi, besides senior harmonium exponent Appasaheb Jalgaonkar in Pune as well as vocalist Ashwini Bhide Deshpande.

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6 Responses to “Growing up with music”

  1. Hello mishraji.

  2. Hi ,
    Good Job.

    Shiwani

  3. I have seen the dedication and tryst of this young talent from quite close quarters during my stay at Gwyer Hall in D.U.. His simplicity and humbleness also renders harmony to the music generated by his magical fingers on the harmonium..I am of firm belief that he will emerge as a leading light in the arena of Harmonium playing in the future…wish him all round-success in his musical endeavors

  4. I am trying to study the life of one of the greatest harmonium players ever : Pandit Eknath Thakurdas. Would Vinay Mishra have details about his life - and would it be possible for him to share it with me? Would greatly appreciate this.
    Thanks
    Ram

  5. You are now shining in the world of music and we all your good wishers hope for a certain success in your life.

  6. Hi Big Bro,

    U r literally looking nice n all d best…….

    Tanu n Buchi

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