More Music from Ramakrishnabua Vaze

Here are three more of the classic 78 rpm discs recorded by Pandit Ramakrishna Vaze (1871 – 1945). At some point soon I will post the long version of his Miyan ki Malhar, a classic recording from the AIR archives; it’s longer than the maximum allowed by YouTube, so I’ll be using Vimeo for that one.

The complex compound raga Khat

Deodhar tells some amusing stories of Vazebua’s eccentricity:

“In 1927 I requested Buwasaheb to pay a visit to my music school. He appeared in a loose shirt and haphazardly torn cap…Some of our boys and girls sang for him. After this I requested him to say a few words to the students. He started his address with these words, ‘I am a simple person. I do not like to dress up. I have a jacket — I even wear it sometimes. I say, Mr. Deodhar, come to my house and I shall show you my jacket. Very beautiful material. One cannot acquire learning by putting on fine clothes — can one now?’ Some of our girls could not help laughing at this. They put their hankies to their lips and giggled. I felt embarrassed. IN an attempt to change the subject I told Buwasaheb that our students were anxious to hear him sing…He duly appeared at the school as promised, and sang beautifully for our students.


“Shri Korgavkar…decided to start a harmonium class in Belgaum…he sent a most courteous invitation to Vazebuwa to preside over the inauguration function. Vazebuwa agreed….Buwasaheb was requested to give his presidential address. Buwasaheb stood up. The audience was all attention. Buwasaheb started, ‘Friends…friends.’ But he was at a loss to find anything more to say. After an embarrassingly long silence he said, ‘Nothing…nothing,’ and sat down. After repeated clamour from the audience and entreaties from the organizers, Buwasaheb once again stood up and continued his speech, ‘Ladies and Gentlemen! Today we are inaugurating this harmonium class. This instrument is known as a harmonium. We call it bend-baja (a derogatory term usually associated with a mouth-organ). So from today anyone who wants to learn to play bend-baja can do so.’

B.R. Deodhar: “Pillars of Hindustani Music,” pp. 128-130

A tarana in the mid-day raga Brindabani Sarang

Ashok Ranade, waxing pedantic:

“The general practice of the Hindustani musicians has been to introduce lengthy taans ranging over a span of two or more octaves. In contrast, Pt. Vazebua believed a great deal in deploying shorter passages, also in employing an element of tonal contrast. Therefore, his taans do not appear to be an act of reeling off of paltas….His taans succeed in their truer aesthetic task of becoming significant consolidations of raag-images and being the instantaneous recapitulations of the more important of the raag-themes. Pt. Vazebua’s taan-units are generally found to consist of four/five component notes uttered with remarkable energy. In fact, in places he seems to have gone out of tune — but this could have been due to his advancing age. (One of the discs has a label mentioning his age to be 82 years when the disc was cut.) The vigor with which the taans were presented makes an impact of such a depth that to an extent, the volume seems to compensate for the lack of speed (as Pt. Vazebua’s taans were not impressive in respect of the agility of movement).

Ashok D. Ranade: “On Music and Musicians of Hindoostan,” p. 147

Raga Khamaj

6 Aug 2013, 12:00pm
by prakash burde

How could Pandit Vaze could cut 78 rpm record at 82, when he lived for only 74 years of age?I refer to Ashok Ranade’s remarks which you quote in your “running gamak”. He died in 1945. That means all his records were cut while he was in his late sixties or early seventies. Therefore one can discern tremor in his voice at times but the quality of classicism is never affected. His taans too are splendid.


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