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Bhimsen Joshi biography, performances, birthday, family & more

Pandit Bhimsen Joshi was an Indian vocalist from Karnataka who took Hindustani Classical music to new heights. His popular renditions primarily had devotional music (Bhajans and Abhangs). As a child, Bhimsen was fascinated by classical musical instruments like Harmonium and Tanpura and used to follow music groups wherever they played. Though, this made his father rather uncomfortable, but he never discouraged him. Bhimsen’s life has been a perfect example of perpetual learning. He spent majority of his youth travelling like nomads in search of his guru. In the process, he met several talented musicians and singers of high caliber who taught him various traits of music.

Pandit bhimsen joshi not only sang devotional songs in Kannada but also in Marathi and Hindi. He appeared in a song “Mile sur mera tumhara” which was an instant hit on Doordarshan and is remembered and revered to this very day. Bhimsen sang in a Bollywood movie Ankhahee as a playback singer and which earned him a national award for best male playback singer. He sang more in Kannada and Marathi feature films. For his immense contribution to Indian culture and music, the government of India conferred upon him, the highest civilian honor “Bharat Ratna“.

Bharat Ratna Pandit Bhimsen joshi - Mythical India
Pandit bhimsen joshi with his son Srinivas at a recording studio
Biography
Name  Pandit Bhimsen Joshi
Full Name   Pandit Bhimsen Gururaj Joshi
Occupation  Classical Singer
Known for  Singing Hindustani classical music. He popularized the “Khayal” form of singing and predominantly sang devotional songs.
Personal Life
Birthday  4th February, 1922
Birth Place  Hombal, Gadag District, Karnataka
Zodiac sign  Aquarius
Nationality  Indian
School  Left in search of his guru at an early age. Brief schooling as Madhava music school, Gwalior.
College  NA
Educational qualification  NA
Family
  • Father: Gururaj Joshi
  • Mother: Godavaribai
  • Siblings: One of the 16 brothers and sisters
  • Spouse: Married twice
    • Sunanda Kutti (1944) – Never divorced her
    • Vatsala Mudholkar (1951)
  • Children: He had 7 children from both the marriages
    • Raghvendra, Usha, Sumangala and Anand from wife Sunanda
    • Jayant, Shubhada and Srinivas from wife Vatsala
Professional life
Teacher
  • Agasara Chanappa
  • Shree Shyamacharya Joshi
  • Sawai Gandharva
Achievements  Joshi gave his first live performance at the age of 19. He was the most proclaimed devotional singer and that too in 3 different languages. Thus, he went on to become the most commercially recorded Hindustani classical vocalist of all time.
Awards
  • 1972 – Padma Shree by Government of India
  • 1976 – Sangeet Natak Akademi Award
  • 1985 – Padma Bhushan by Government of India
  • 1985 – National Film Award for Best Male Playback Singer by Directorate of Film festivals
  • 1999 – Padma Vibhushan by Government of India
  • 2002 – Maharashtra Bhushan by Maharashtra state government
  • 2003 – Swathi Sangeetha Puraskaram by the Government of Kerala
  • 2005 – Karnataka Ratna by Government of Karnataka
  • 2008 – Bharat Ratna by Government of India
  • 2009 – “Lifetime achievement award” by Delhi government
Lesser Known Facts
  1. Bhimsen left his home at the age of 11 in search of his guru after being inspired by the singing of Adul Karim Khan’s Thumri.
  2. It was his guru Shyamacharya who was recording for HMV records but couldn’t continue due to his ill health. The renditions for the rest of the songs were done by young Bhimsen and that proved to be a major breakthrough in his career.
  3. Bhimsen used to organize “Sawai Gandharva music festival” as homage to his guru. He continued this till his retirement in 2002.
  4. Even though he remarried in 1951, both his wives continued to live in the same house for quite some time. But, later his first wife Sunanda shifted to a rented accommodation within the city.