Bhola Nath Mishra, sarangi playerI visited Bhola Nath Mishra, a warm and cheerful sarangi player, several times at his quarters in Lucknow in April 1994. He was, at the time, the most interesting sarangi player in Lucknow from a combined musical and humanistic perspective. He played and sang several rags and talked extensively about music and life. He had an extensive knowledge of thumri, dadra, kajri, chaiti, the semi-classical song forms of purab ang music, and a highly developed propensity to savour the notes and phrases which he played. He taught me several songs in the course of my stay in Lucknow. He was able and more than willing to sit and play and sing for hours on end, drinking up my appreciation and comradie.

Bhola Nath Mishra learnt from his grandfather Sathyanarayan Mishra as his father passed away when he was a toddler. Sathyanarayan Mishra was an outstanding Banaras sarangi player.

Bhola Nathji started off by playing khayal for me, several rags, until he realised that I particularly wanted to hear his semi-classical repertoire, over which he nearly exploded with enthusiasm. Throughout our sittings together he freaquently sang the bandishes which he was playing. My reprehensible tabla playing can be heard in accompaniment.

 

The first piece was rag Jaunpuri:

 

Followed by Todi including vocal renditions of the famous bandishes "Allah Jane" and "Langara Kankariya Jina Maro":

 

Then Bhola Nath Mishra played the afternoon rag Multani and sang a couple of bandishes in Multani.

 

And then rag Rageshri and some nice bandishes sung including a lakshan geet, a type of song which describes the rag at hand. As Bhola Nath was an accompanist at the Bhatkhande College of Music, and as Pandit Bhatkhande wrote many lakshan geets, I would guess that that is the source. I have almost never heard lakshan geets from other sarangi players. Rageshri is followed by plenty of discourse on a variety of subjects.

 

The next pieces I will upload here are an amazing series of semi-classical songs: thumris, chaitis, horis, karis etc.