Kirana gharana

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Kirana Gharana is one of the most prolific Hindustani khyal gharanas.[1] It was founded in 13th-century by Gopal Nayak, a dhrupadiya or dhrupad singer, and a Hindu court musician based in Kairana, a town in present Shamli district in Uttar Pradesh. However, later he embraced Islam, and soon he mastered the khayal tradition.[2] Two important exponents were Abdul Karim Khan and Abdul Wahid Khan and later Bhimsen Joshi.[3]


The name of this school of music derives from Kirana or Kairana, a town and tehsil of Shamli District in Uttar Pradesh.[4] It is the birthplace of Ustad Abdul Karim Khan (1872–1937), who was one of the most important musicians of this gharana and of Hindustani music in general in the twentieth century, and considered by some to be the real founder of the Kirana Gharana, while the roots of the tradition can be traced back to his great-grandfather Ghulam Ali and Ghulam Maula, the brother of Ghulam Ali. A frequent visitor to the Court of Mysore, Ustad Abdul Karim Khan was also influenced by Carnatic music.

Singing style[edit]

Much to the credit of Abdul Karim Khan, today most Hindustani musicians from Karnataka are exponents of Kirana Gharana and Kirana Gharana has imbibed many of the features of the Carnatic tradition. Particularly the culturally fecund border region between Karnataka and Maharashtra is famous for its tradition of the Kirana school of singing.

Another towering figure of this gharana in the early 20th century was Abdul Karim Khan’s cousin Abdul Wahid Khan (1871?-1949).

It was late in the nineteenth century that the two ustads Abdul Karim Khansahab and Abdul Waheed Khansahab revolutionized the very concept of khayal gayaki by introducing the vilambit or the slow tempo method to delineate the raga note by note.

In the Kirana Gayaki, the individual swaras (notes) of the raga are considered not just random points in the scale but independent realms of music capable of horizontal expansion. Mind blowing, emotion drenched pukars in the higher octaves form a part of the musical experience. Another unique feature of this gharana is the highly intricate and ornate use of the sargam taan (weaving patterns with the notations themselves) which was improvised by Ustad Abdul Karim Khansahab as a direct influence of the Carnatic classical style.

Favorite ragas of performers from the Kirana gharana include Todi, Lalit, Multani, Patdeep, Puriya, Marwa, Shuddha Kalyan, Darbari Kanhara, and Komal-Rishabh Asavari. Noted Marathi thespian PuLa Deshpande has pointed out that performers from the Kirana gharana have had a "soft corner" for the Komal Rishabh note of the Indian Classical Music scale. The ragas mentioned above as Kirana favorites support this observation.


Gopal Nayak
Nayak Dhondu
Nayak Bhannu
Ghulam Ali
Ghulam Maula
Utd. Bande Ali Khan
Utd. Eliahee Baksh Khan
Utd. Abdullah Khan Utd. Kale Khan Utd. Nanhe Khan
Utd. Majid Khan
Utd. Abdul Habib Khan
Utd. Abdul Karim Khan (founder)
Utd. Nanhe Khan
{{{ h}}}
Utd. Abdul Wahid Khan
Pt. Ganpatbuwa Behere Pt. Balkrishnabuwa Kapileshwari Pt. Sawai Gandharva Pt. Dasharathbuwa Muley Pt. Vishwanathbuwa Jadhav Smt. "Surashri" Kesarbai Kerkar Roshanara Begum
Pt. Shankarrao Sarnaik
Pt. Sureshbabu Mane
Pt. Ganpatrao Gurav
Pt. Pran Nath
Begum Akhtar
Pt.Sukhdev Prasad
Smt. Hirabai Badodekar
Utd. Shakoor Khan (sarangiya) {{{! }}}
Smt. Gangubai Hangal Pt. Basavaraj Rajguru Firoz Dastur Bharat Ratna Pt. Bhimsen Joshi
Pt. Baburao Jadhav Pt. Rajaram Jadhav Pt. Pandurang Jadhav Smt.Shakuntalaraje Jadhav
Pt. Mani Prasad
Utd. Hafizullah Khan
Mohammed Rafi (playback singer)
Pt. Ram Narayan (sarangiya)
Pt. Sangmeshwar Gurav
Smt. Saraswati Rane Dr. Prabha Atre
Smt. Krishna Hangal Shrikant Deshpande
Pt. Madhav Gudi
Pt. Shripati Padegar
Shrinivas Joshi
Utd.Rashid Khan (influence)
Utd. Mashkoor Ali Khan
Ustad Mahmood Khan (Sarangi)
Smt. Pranati Mhatre
Rajendra Kandalgaonkar
Pt. Kaivalya Kumar Gurav
Jayateerth Mevundi
Anand Bhate
Arshad Ali Khan

Prominent exponents[edit]


  1. ^ "Torch-bearers of kirana gharana, and their followers". Times of India. Jan 26, 2011. 
  2. ^ Lavezzoli, p. 246
  3. ^ "Kirana gharana". ITC Sangeet Research Academu. Retrieved 21 July 2013. 
  4. ^ Kirana Gharana at


External links[edit]