Pandit Shivkumar Sharma

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About Pandit Shivkumar Sharma

Shivkumar Sharma was one of the truly great visionaries in the Hindustani classical music firmament. His popularity created a knotty problem for his admirers. His success led to a demand for his recordings, to the degree that releasing a Shivkumar Sharma album acted like a kind of validation for a label. Consequently, the market was flooded with his records. His playing was consummate, and he rarely recorded a piece of work that was below par, which makes selecting a shortlist even more difficult. Sharma's story was one of dedication. He was born in January 1938 in Jammu Kashmir. His father Uma Dutt Sharma asked him to pursue the development of the Kashmiri santoor. Being a dutiful son he obeyed and persevered despite personal reservations. Though its Persian relative, the santur, had associations with Persian and Iranian classical music, elevating the Indian instrument to the classical concert platform was widely viewed as folly in conservative quarters. But Shivkumar Sharma persisted, experimented, restrung, and reconfigured his instrument. His first major santoor recital took place in Bombay in February 1955, but it wasn't until the '70s that he silenced "the die-hard connoisseurs of the music, musicologists and purists." Parallel with his development of the santoor he worked as a tabla player (he accompanied acts as diverse as the renowned Punjabi folksinger Surinder Kaur and sitar maestro Ravi Shankar), and his understanding of tabla playing and rhythm immeasurably enhanced his performance style and stagecraft. Shivkumar Sharma died in a hospital in Mumbai on May 10, 2022 from a cardiac arrest; he was 84 years old. ~ Ken Hunt

Jammu, Kashmir
January 13, 1938
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