The Indian classical music world is in mourning following the passing of the legendary pakhavaj player, Bhawani Shankar. Shankar, 67, breathed his last in Mumbai due to natural causes, leaving behind a legacy that shaped the very fabric of Indian rhythm and percussion.
Bhawani Shankar was not just a musician; he was an institution in himself. His journey with the pakhavaj, an ancient Indian drum, began in his childhood and blossomed into a lifelong dedication to the art. His technique, characterized by intricate rhythms and profound depth, won him accolades and admirers globally.
The news of his demise has prompted an outpouring of grief and remembrance from the classical music community. Ustad Zakir Hussain, a maestro of the tabla, expressed deep sorrow, stating, “Bhawani Shankar’s hands spoke a language of rhythm that was both ancient and startlingly fresh. His loss is an irreplaceable void in our musical landscape.”
Renowned vocalist Pandit Jasraj recalled Shankar’s contributions, saying, “His pakhavaj was not just an instrument; it was a resonant voice that harmonized tradition with innovation. His passing is a profound loss to the world of Indian classical music.”
Sitar virtuoso Anoushka Shankar, daughter of the late Pandit Ravi Shankar, shared her condolences on social media, noting, “Pandit Bhawani Shankar’s music transcended the bounds of rhythm and melody. He was a true pioneer, and his legacy will continue to inspire musicians around the world.”
Bhawani Shankar’s career was studded with collaborations with numerous classical greats and performances at prestigious music festivals worldwide. He was also a revered guru, nurturing young talents who are now established artists in their own right.
The government of India recognized his contributions with several honors, including the coveted Sangeet Natak Akademi Award. His death is not only a loss to Indian classical music but also to the cultural heritage of the nation.
Plans for a memorial service in Mumbai are underway, with details to be announced by the family. The event is expected to be a congregation of the who’s who of the Indian classical music world, coming together to bid farewell to a true legend.
As the Indian classical music community comes to terms with this loss, Bhawani Shankar’s legacy remains immortalized through his recordings and the indelible impact he had on the art form. His journey with the pakhavaj may have ended, but the rhythm he set in motion will continue to echo through time.