Family and disciples of Pandit CR Vyas, the legendary Hindustani classical singer, will gather at Ter in Dharashiv district on Tuesday to launch the year-round celebrations of his centenary year. Abhang gayan by Shri Ganesh Kumar at Trivikram temple in Ter marks the beginning of the celebrations.
Pandit Vyas was born as Chintamani Raghunath Vyas at Ter, a small village in Marathwada on November 9 1924. Born in a family of kirtankars, young Chintamani was inclined towards music. He started accompanying his father to kirtans at an early age. His mother wanted him to pursue higher studies to be a government servant. But he wanted to become an Indian classical singer and devote his life to music. He came to Mumbai in search of an ideal Guru. He was lucky to find two – Rajaram Paradkar and Jagannath Purohit. After his initial training with Paradkarbuva, CR Vyas started learning from Jagannathbuva. The reason for his shift was very simple – he wanted to learn the emotional nuances of singing.
Ragas and bandishes
Pandit Vyas composed many new bandishes with the pseudonym Gunijaan. He also created many new ragas. His ragas and bandishes are still sung by the younger generation of classical singers. He was one of the first teachers at the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Chowpatty and Vallabh Sangit Vidyalaya, Sion.
Despite wanting to devote life entirely to music, worldly duties prevented CR Vyas from doing so 24x7. He worked at the Imperial Tobacco Company (today’s Indian Tobacco Company) for many years to keep his home kitchen fires burning. During his tenure there he was responsible for one of the first sponsored Indian classical singing concerts and the first sponsored Drama Festival – the Berkeley Drama Festival. It was during a discussion with CR Vyas that the then CMD of ITC got the idea of starting a music academy as a CSR activity.
Pandit CR Vyas defied all logic when he sang for four hours at a stretch within three months of his severe brain stroke. Doctors had predicted he would not be able to sing for at least six months. It was sheer grit and passion for music that helped him achieve this feat.
In the celebrations at Marathwada, the second day will be marked by a vocal concert of CR Vyas’ grandson along with other disciples. Vyas’ son, santoor maestro Satish Vyas, will also be paying tribute to his father by playing santoor. The celebrations will end on November 9 with a vocal concert of the eldest son of Vyas, Suhas Vyas.