Kirana Gharana holds a very special place amongst the traditional styles of North Indian Classical vocal music. Widely recognized to be founded by Ustad Abdul Karim Khan (although opinions differ amongst the musicologists) from the village of Kirana (or Kairana) near Muzaffarnagar in Uttar Pradesh, Kirana gharana has given us several excellent performers of the Khayal style of singing including masters like Pandit Bhimshen Joshi, Pandit Rasiklal Andheria, Ustad Amir Khan, Ustad Mashkoor Ali Khan and many others. In July 2010 at the North America Bengali Conference (NABC 2010), Kallol of New Jersey will be presenting yet another exponent of the Kirana Gharana, Pandit Kaivalya Kumar Gurav.
Kaivalya Kumar’s grandfather Pt. Ganapatrao Gurav was a first batch disciple of Ustad Abdul Karim Khan. Kaivalyakumar’s father and guru Pt. Sangameshwar, trained by Pt. Ganpatrao, was well known for singing in the true Kirana tradition. And Pt. Sangameshwar in turn has groomed Pt.Kaivalyakumar into an outstanding vocalist of the current times.
Ironically, during the early part of his life, Kaivalya Kumar tried hard to avoid a career in music. Discouraged by his father’s moderate success in the profession, Kaivalya educated himself for a career in business, and engineering. When none of these gave him the satisfaction he was looking for, Kaivalya Kumar turned to his roots in classical music and surrendered himself to rigorous training under his father. And within a short period of time, Kaivalya established himself as a grade “A” artist of All India Radio and Doordarshan at an age of only 35. Now Kaivalya Kumar is one of the most sought after artists in India. A great singer of Khayal, Pt.Kaivalyakumar also renders Marathi Natya Sangeet and Abhang, Bhajans, Kannada Vachana and Dasara Pada with equal finesse and all of which has won him the acclaim of listeners and critics alike all over India and abroad.
Attached is a small clip (performing Raga Shankara) from one of his concerts: