Journey with a Hundred Strings

Journey with a Hundred Strings

Product ID: 7184

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Author: Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma
Ina Puri/
Publisher: Penguin
Year: 2002
Language: English
Pages: 193
ISBN/UPC (if available): 0670049336


Santoor maestro Shiv Kumar Sharma is one of India’s living musical legends. In this lucid memoir, the artist recalls his youth in tranquil Jammu and Kashmir, his lean years as an aspiring young professional in Bombay.

Born and raised in Jammu, in a house where, from dawn till dusk, someone or another was singing or playing an instrument, Shiv Kumar Sharma began his musical life as a tabla player under the tutelage of his Benares-trained father. One day when he was fourteen, his father returned from Srinagar with a santoor and announced that he had found his son’s true calling. The bemused boy took the instrument-traditionally used only in Kashmiri Sufiana songs- and, over the next few years, performed surgery to adapt it for Hindustani ragas. The results are musical history.

In this lucid memoir, the artist recalls his youth in tranquil Jammu and Kashmir, his lean years as an aspiring young professional in Bombay, his long, not always happy association with All India Radio, his work in the film industry, his most blissful moments on stage, his tours around the world and, most compellingly, his struggle to establish the santoor as a classical Indian instrument in the face of skeptical, sometimes dismissive critics.

Along the way, he illuminates a remarkable series of relationships and encounters: gutu-shishya bonds, life-long friendships, dazzling jugalbandis and, of course, musical rivalries, good-natured and otherwise. Here are Pandit Hari Prasad Chaurasia, Pandit Ravi Shankar, Ustad Allah Rakha Khan, Zakir Hussain, Brij Bhushan Kabra, George Harrison. Yash Chopra, Lata Mangeshkar and a host of household names-doing riyaaz, recording LPs, discussing style and technique, gathering at All India festivals and cooking for each other at the end of a long day.

The life chronicled here is rich in professional achievement, personal companionship and pure, solitary artistry, 'I am here', says Shiv Kumar Sharma,' with a mission: to reach out and touch the hearts of people with my music. And I shall do my duty as best I can'.


This kind of musician probably comes along once in a few hundred years.
-Zakir Hussain



PART I: Siren Songs

2.Finding the World

PART II: On the Dais

5.Santoor: The Instrument
7.The Tabla and My Accompanists

PART III: Spreading My Wings

9.Leaning on Bollywood
10.Back on the Classical Road
11.Home and Away
12.Notes across the border

PART IV: In The Studio

13.The Musical pen
14.Recording a Legacy
15.The Director’s Chair

PART V: Sharing The Tradition

16.Becoming a Guru
17.Like Father, Like Son
18.On the Road in the ‘80s

PART VI: Beyond The Metropolis

19.Music and Spirituality
20.The Sangeet Research Academy

PART VII: Looking Forward

22.The state of the Indian Arts : The Arts and the Indian state