Quotes by Kishori Amonkar


Kishori Amonkar (10 April 1932 – 3 April 2017) was a classical vocalist. She is considered to be one of the foremost singers in the Hindustani tradition and is an innovator of the Jaipur gharana, or a community of musicians sharing a distinctive musical style. Amonkar trained under her mother, classical singer Mogubai Kurdikar but experimented with a variety of vocal styles in her career. She is considered one of the pre-eminent representatives of Hindustani classical music.

“Bharat Ratna has been given to Sachin Tendulkar. If that’s the decision the government has taken, it’s better that they do not include me in the same category.” – Kishori Amonkar.

Source: FirstPost

“An award by itself does not heighten one’s stature or help in gaining knowledge. It shouldn’t be something any artiste should hanker after.” – Kishori Amonkar.

“At a time when there is chaos all over, people crave inner peace. Classical music can do that if you give it a chance.” – Kishori Amonkar.

“I’ve watched some of these reality shows. Little children are made to believe that vocal acrobatics is what music is about. This is far removed from holding on to a note. In the long term, they will find classical music repulsive.” – Kishori Amonkar.

“I get particularly upset when they call these competitions mahayudh and the likes. Music is meant to create peace, not war.” – Kishori Amonkar

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Source: DNA

“There is nothing called a gharana. There is only music. It has been bound in these gharanas and that is like dividing music into specific castes. One should not teach the students the limits of this art.” – Kishori Amonkar.

“People called me a rebel. I don’t think I am one. I am a vehement person and I speak the truth. When you’ve experienced the sublime, the abstract begins to acquire a form. Then what the critics said did not matter. It still does not matter.” – Kishori Amonkar.

“What you get from my music now is what you didn’t get ages ago. There is so much more thehraav (stillness). I know my track and I know my destination. Whether I will reach there or not, I don’t know, but I will do this till I am alive.” – Kishori Amonkar.

Source: Indian Express

“My mother wouldn’t talk about music. She would sing and I would repeat. I would copy her without asking her anything. Aai was so strict that she would sing the sthayi and antara only twice and not a third time. I had to get every contour of the piece in those two instances. That taught me concentration. The guru needs to be this good. You cannot have a guru who constantly wonders, ‘When will my student sit on the stage and do a programme? Will she go abroad?’ That person can be a teacher, not a guru.”

– Kishori Amonkar.

“You have to walk and run on your own. The guru gives you strength to be able to do that. If you don’t, then you remain ordinary. My mother made sure I wasn’t ordinary.” – Kishori Amonkar.

“I need my audience’s help, not their interruptions. People have to understand that music isn’t entertainment. It is not to be sung to attract the audience. Which is why I never play to the gallery. The audience cannot disturb the loneliness of an artiste.” – Kishori Amonkar.

Source: FirstPost

“Our music is the fifth Veda. The Vedas teach you Brahma Vidya. You cannot learn that from a machine. If you go on contemplating and meditating upon the divine art, I am sure you will reach the ultimate destination of a note – which is Brahma. I am trying my best to reach that.” – Kishori Amonkar.

“Indian music is nothing but the expression of a feeling. If I say, ‘I love you,’ can you measure it? You just have to feel that vibration.” – Kishori Amonkar.

“The worst exploitation of the audience is by gimmicky artists. Listeners have been led to believe that they should be excited by a performance. That goes exactly against the principles of Indian classical music, which brings you peace!” – Kishori Amonkar.

Source: The Hindu

“Just like the way I don’t understand the meaning of the caste system, I don’t get the idea behind segregation of gharanas. Music is the study of human existence. If Brahmins are supposed to propagate knowledge, how have they served by justifying the caste system? Brahma is present in every human being and every person is capable of music. So to me, the gharanas don’t really serve a purpose. At the end of the day, all music is one and they have to spread the knowledge of music and not selective knowledge.”

– Kishori Amonkar.

“I’ve always been honest about everything whether one likes it or not. There are no two ways about anything. It’s either this or that. I don’t leave any room for ambiguity or confusion in my world of music. Probably, this is why things affect me more than they do to others. I am not scared of anyone or anything.” – Kishori Amonkar.

“We just have to accept technology. I think it is useless at times. I would rather sing without a mic, but that is not possible. So we do have our own limitations, but the larger picture is to surpass all electrical obstacles and stick to atmosphere of raagas.” – Kishori Amonkar.

Source: Asian Age

“Music is a means of communicating my innermost feelings to the world. It is a manifestation of feelings that are unseen, untouched, unexpressed. Like a mother’s unconditional love for her children, which remains unspoken, but is so palpably there. It is the one medium that is very like our feelings – it has no words, no beats, just an expression and a tempo.”

– Kishori Amonkar.

“I would say I was born a musician. Having the great vocalist Mogubai Kurdikar as a mother ensured my initiation into the world of music from the womb itself. My mother’s practice sessions continued even during her pregnancy. And I, yet to be born, imbibed it all. My father died when I was just six years old. My mother thus became everything to me – mother, father and guru. She was the greatest influence in my life.”

– Kishori Amonkar.

“Every art is emotive by nature; technique alone is not enough, the art should have a soul as well. Else, music is reduced to mere carpentry work without any spirit.” – Kishori Amonkar.

“Sadly, technique has taken precedence over soul today. Which is why classical music is sinking fast. More prominence is given to beats and words and not to the underlying feelings. Such an approach only generates excitement in the audience, which should not be the intent. Classical music has a more sublime purpose than mere enjoyment. A manifestation of a raga cannot be concluded in two to three minutes.”

– Kishori Amonkar.

“Is it possible to sing a film song beyond five to seven minutes? You cannot. But a classical composition can last for two to three hours. This is due to the inherent power of the notes that make up such a composition. In a classical performance, the focus is on the play of notes, through which feelings are conveyed.” – Kishori Amonkar.

“I find it strange that many popular musicians advise budding artistes to learn classical music if they want to be
successful playback singers. It makes me wonder – can anyone treat classical music as a stepping stone to film music? After scaling the heights of heaven, who would you like to come down to earth?” – Kishori Amonkar.

“There are many people, even from the non-classical fields, who are jealous of my success.Such is bound to be the case when you scale the heights in your chosen discipline. As nobody can dare make adverse remarks about my music, they do so about my character. All this talk of my being temperamental and moody is rubbish. It has not affected
my audience. So it does not affect me. Rather than respond to such accusations, I prefer to concentrate on my goal.” – Kishori Amonkar.

Source: Femina

“Music is not just about words and beats. It is also about the emotion behind the rendition. Words turn into music when emotions are woven into them. And, the notes – not just the basic seven, but the hundreds of other mini and micro-notes help to bring out the soul of a music composition.” – Kishori Amonkar.

“To express music faithfully, you have to be very intense. Unless you are intense within, you cannot perceive the feeling clearly. And, if you cannot perceive the abstract existence of a particular feeling, you will not be able to color the notes with that exact feeling… Every intensity has a very small space; a laser sharp focus It gets compressed and comes to a point where nothing but the truth remains. Art becomes simplified and condensed with the intensity of feeling. The beginning is not art, nor is the end – it is the thread linking the two that emerges as art, whether on canvas, or in stone… I ask my students to concentrate on the notes; practice on one note for hours together. It is like meditation; only instead of a mantra, you have a note. Unless you sing a note correctly, you cannot fathom its nature… In our shastras it is stated that every note has its own fragrance, color, form, and character. It has a home it originates from, and an abode as its final destination. The ancients had a high meditative level and they concentrated on a subject with single minded purpose. But, now the music that is taught is to produce public performers.”

– Kishori Amonkar.

“The base of my music is still that of the Jaipur gharana. Jaipur gharana is like a mother to me. I may have given up some of the special features of that tradition, for instance, I have incorporated alapachari which that tradition does not recognize, and which is divorced from rhythm or I may have discarded the identity between laya and swara; but take away the Jaipur base from my music, and see how it collapses.”

– Kishori Amonkar.

“I am a purist, and will always try to remain one, in the sense that I will remain faithful to the feel of a raga. The generalized rules are of great help to beginners and also for the meticulous performer-musicologists. An artist of originality understands and delineates the raga according to his or her genius, which is probably the right thing to do.”

– Kishori Amonkar.

Source: SwaraTala

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Quotes by Kishori Amonkar

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