Ajoy Chakrabarty

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Pandit Ajoy Chakrabarty
Birth name Ajoy Chakrabarty
Born 25th December, 1952
Origin Shyamnagar, West Bengal, India
Genres Hindustani classical music
(Patiala Gharana)
Occupation(s) Vocalist
Years active 1977–present

Pandit Ajoy Chakrabarty (Bengali: অজয় চক্রবর্তী; born 25th December, 1952) is an Indian Hindustani classical vocalist, composer, lyricist and Guru, poised nearly as a cult figure among all the legendary Indian classical musicians.[1]

Although considered a scion and doyen of the Patiala-Kasur Gharana (style), primarily representing Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan and Ustad Barkat Ali Khan sahibs gayaki, he can equally portray even the most subtle features of other major classical gharanas of India like Indore, Delhi, Jaipur, Gwalior, Agra, Kirana, Rampur and even Carnatic music of South India.[2]

Recipient of as many as 5 prestigious national awards – Padma Shri (2011) - by the President of India, National Tansen Samman 2015 - by the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh,[3] Sangeet Natak Akademi Award (Delhi, 1999-2000), The Kumar Gandharva Samman (National Award, 1993) and the National Film Award for Best Male Playback Singer in 1989- "For bringing the rare depth of emotion, adorned by his command on the classical idiom" in Bengali Film “Chhandaneer” 1989.[4]

He has also received felicitations from both the former and present Chief Ministers of his own State, West Bengal. In 2012, Chief Minister of West Bengal, Mamata Banerjee conferred him the Maha Sangeet Samman and the Banga Bibhushan, two of the State’s highest awards. In 2015 he has received Guru Jnan Prakash Ghosh Lifetime Achievement Award.

He is the first Indian classical vocalist to be invited by Pakistan and China and by BBC for their Golden Jubilee Celebration of India’s Independence.

Pandit Ajoy Chakrabarty has performed in innumerable concerts and is perhaps the busiest classical vocalist of his generation today. He regularly, annually participates in all the major prestigious music conferences and festivals – all over India and abroad. He has performed in some of the most prestigious venues around the world like the Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Center, New Orleans Jazz Preservation Hall – in the USA, including being the recipient of Golden Key to the city of New Orleans; The Royal Albert hall and Queen Elizabeth hall in the UK, Theatre de la Ville in France; Sammukhananda, Nehru Center, NCPA in Mumbai, Shirifort auditorium in New Delhi-India, to name a very few.

Pt. Ajoy Chakrabarty has more than 100 albums to his credit, published from India, USA, UK, Holland and Germany that feature pure classical and light classical numbers including thumris, dadras, bhajans and other types of devotional songs. He also has numerous recordings of Shyamasangeet, Rabindra Sangeet, Nazrulgeeti, Raagpradhan and even Bengali Modern Songs that are widely popular.

Pandit Ajoy Chakrabarty is the resident senior most Guru of ITC Sangeet Research Academy, where along with teaching disciples he also resides with his wife Smt Chandana Chakraborty and son Ananjan, who is an upcoming music producer. Noted Indian classical vocalist Kaushiki Chakraborty is his daughter.

Early life and Gurus[edit]

Chakrabarty was born in Kolkata, West Bengal to Shri Ajit Chakraborty in a Hindu Brahmin family. He moved to India from his homeland, Bangladesh during the partition and raised two sons in Shyamnagar. His younger brother, Sanjay Chakraborty is a world class lyricist and composer.

He graduated top of his class in music, both in B.A and M.A from the prestigious Rabindra Bharati University in Kolkata and joined the ITC Sangeet Research Academy in 1977. Being the academy’s very first outstanding scholar, he became their only gold medalist fellow, a member of their Experts’ Committee and a senior Guru where he still serves as a prime mover in all its promotional courses to date.[5]

His father, late Shri Ajit Kumar Chakraborty was his first Guru. After this Shri Pannalal Samanta and Shri Kanaidas Baigari were the ones with whom his initial orientation with music happened, before he was warmly accepted by the ultimate and the greatest Guru of all times, Padmabhushan Pandit Jnan Prakash Ghosh. His training was then continued under Ustad Munawar Ali Khan (son of Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan).[6]

Besides that, he had learnt from several other maestros like Ustad Latafat Hussain Khan, Pt. Nibruttibua Sarnaik, Vidushi Hirabai Barodekar and in Carnatic styles from Professor, Dr. M. Balamuralikrishna, that kept enriching his musical expression and repertoire. Despite having such pure classical “taleem” in the Dhrupad-Khyal genre, he is amazingly adroit and a trend setter, in rendering all the lighter forms like Thumri, Tappa, Geet, Bhajan, Keertan, Folk, Film/Non-Film and modern songs, in several different languages, like Hindi, Urdu, Bengali, Tamil, Telegu, Persian and even in English, which all together, has given him the single distinguished recognition of being an absolutely one-of-a-kind musical personality, in the music scene of India today.

Singing career[edit]

Ajoy Chakrabarty at Kolkata

Chakrabarty is considered one of the vocal legends of Indian classical music. He is notable for imagination and sensitivity to lyrics, coupled with his uncanny sense of rhythm. Recipient of as many as 4 prestigious awards of highest order from the President of India – Padma Shri (2011), Sangeet Natak Akademi (Delhi, 1999–2000), Kumar Gandharva (National Award, 1993) and the Best Male Playback Singer (Bengali Film "Chhandaneer" 1990) – Chakrabarty has received felicitation from both the former and present Chief Ministers of West Bengal. The first Indian vocalist invited by the Pakistan and Chinese governments, Chakrabarty has performed in innumerable concerts and is still participating in prestigious music conferences, festivals, and venues, including Dover Lane, Rabindra Sadan, Kala Mandir, Science City in Kolkata; Sanmukhananda, Nehru Centre, NCPA in Mumbai; Kamani and Sirifort in Delhi; Carnegie and Kennedy Centre in the United States, Royal Albert and Queen Elizabeth in England; and Theatre De La Ville in France, to name a few. He also was awarded honorary citizenship in New Orleans, after performing with jazz musicians at Preservation Hall, the birthplace of jazz music.

Thus far, Chakrabarty has recorded over 100 albums, mostly published from India, the United States, Canada, UK, and Germany, composed of pure classical numbers including live performances and various other genres – Thumri, Dadra, Bhajan and other devotional songs like Shyamasangeet and many Bengali numbers, including songs of Tagore and Qazi Najrul Islam.[5]

Inspired by the ideals of his Guru Jnan Prakash Ghosh, Chakrabarty founded Shrutinandan – A Music Kingdom, a musical institution designed to preserve and perpetuate the tradition of Indian Raga music. By the late 90s, he started to nurture young and budding talents in his music school, and it has since developed into a 1000+ strong body after a period of a decade and a half.

Shrutinandan[edit]

Shrutinandan is a word composed of two ancient Indian concepts of life and living: 'Shruti' - the auditory perception of the Universe and 'Nandan' - the visual appreciation of the Universe. Hence at Shrutinandan one does not only learn music but also gets guidance of how to perceive life.

Panditji had conceptualized Shrutinandan even before it became a reality. Shrutinandan not only concentrates on music training but also creates an environment to kindle and develop proper humanity through music. Shrutinandan is truly a Musical Kingdom, welcoming pupils from all walks of path.

Shortly after receiving the Kumar Gandharva National Award from the Govt. of Madhya Pradesh, Shri Budhhadeb Bhattacharya, the then Chief Minister of West Bengal, expressed his wish to felicitate Panditji with a land for building the institution. Panditji became absolutely determined to fulfil this dream, and was then supported by Shri Sushim Mukul Dutta, the then Chairman and Managing Director of Hindusthan Lever. With his magnanimous help, Panditji could realize this dream, and the very building of Shrutinandan testifies to this reality. Also this context will remain unfinished if the name and contribution of Pandit Vijay Kumar Kichlu, former Executive Director of ITC Sangeet Research Academy is not mentioned. He personally supported Panditji throughout to realise this endeavor even when Panditji was a full-fledged Guru Member of ITC Sangeet Research Academy. In fact the building that stands today here at 70, Uday Shankar Sarani, Kolkata is actually a physical replica of the concept envisaged long ago by none other than Panditji himself.

Panditji has a very scientific and structured approach towards changing the age old, traditionally free styled teaching, of this rather abstract subject. Still today, every aspect of Shrutinandan, particularly the development of each student, is closely monitored by himself, along with a group of 35 teachers, personally trained by him. The success of his teaching method is demonstrated by his daughter and disciple Kaushiki Chakraborty, who is accepted globally as the torch-bearer of the Shrutinandan Concept and as an accomplished female vocalist. Along with her, Shrutinandan has produced more than 50 top quality young musicians who are performing at national level all over India and abroad.[7]


Personal life[edit]

Chakrabarty is married to Chandana Chakraborty. Their daughter, Kaushiki Chakraborty is an accomplished vocalist of Hindustani classical music. Their son, Ananjan Chakraborty is a sound engineer and upcoming music director/producer.

Movies[edit]

Year Song Film Co-Singer Composer Lyricist
1985 Bela Jay Shyamrai Baidurjya Rahasya None Tapan Sinha Tapan Sinha
Nain Mein Nandalal Baidurjya Rahasya None Tapan Sinha Tapan Sinha
2000 Isaiyil Thodanguthamma Hey Ram None Ilayaraja Ilayaraja
Har Koi Samjhe Hey Ram None Ilayaraja Ilayaraja
2001 Aan Milo Sajna Gadar: Ek Prem Katha Parveen Sultana Uttam Singh Anand Bakshi
2005 Yeh Kaun Mujhe Yaad Aaya Taj Mahal: An Eternal Love Story None Naushad Ali Naqsh Lyallpuri
Vaishnava Jan To Water Kaushiki Desikan Sukhwinder Singh Sukhwinder Singh
2011 Bhorer Alo Bhorer Alo None Jeet Ganguly Priyo Chattopadhyay
2013 Rabso Neha Laage (Bilaval Bandish Shunyo Awnko Kaushiki Desikan Gautam Ghose Gautam Ghose

Awards[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Sharma, Jyotirmaya (19 March 2005). "Ahoy Ajoy!". The Hindu. Retrieved 11 July 2011. 
  2. ^ Chatterjee, Guatam (5 August 2005). "Impeccable voice". The Hindu. Retrieved 11 July 2011. 
  3. ^ "Hindustani classical vocalist Pandit Ajoy Chakrabarty". SouLSteer. 2015-12-25. Retrieved 2015-12-25. 
  4. ^ "37th National Film Awards" (PDF). Directorate of Film Festivals. Retrieved 29 January 2012. 
  5. ^ a b "Official Website of Pandit Ajoy Chakrabarty". 2014. Retrieved 27 March 2014. 
  6. ^ Sharma, Jyotirmaya (28 April 2006). "In honour of Bade Khansaheb". The Hindu. Retrieved 11 July 2011. 
  7. ^ "Official Website of Shrutinandan". 2014. Retrieved 27 March 2014. 
  8. ^ "Padma Awards" (PDF). Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. 2015. Retrieved July 21, 2015. 
  9. ^ "Alva's Virasat off to a flying start". The Hindu. 6 January 2012. Retrieved 6 January 2012. 

External links[edit]