“Whatever I am is because of him,” said santoor player Satish Vyas on the death of his guru, Shivkumar Sharma, the maestro who passed away on Tuesday.
Speaking to The Observer, Vyas recounted his first meeting with Sharma. “Being a renowned singer’s (C.R. Vyas) son, music was always in my house. In 1996, I went to a music concert in Mumbai. On the stage, I saw a charismatic man with an instrument I had never seen. I saw the santoor for the first time.”
He got curious and decided he would learn to play the instrument. “I got into Indian classical music because of Shivji,” he said.
“In 1975, he told my father, ‘The son of such a big person coming to learn music from me is such a big thing’,” Vyas recalled.
Sharma thought of him as his own child. “I was more at his place than my own. The love I got from my guru and his wife was equivalent to the kind of love my parents gave me,” he said. “I cannot explain in words how grieved I am after hearing this news. Apart from being a great singer and musician, he was a great person also.”
Talking about the maestro’s legacy, he said: “I can never match what he used to teach his students, but I can and will definitely try to give his teachings to the next generation.”
End of an era, say fans
Jayant Bhopatkar, a fan and tabla player from Seattle informed The Observer: “Deeply saddened to know of the demise of eminent santoor virtuoso Pt Shivkumar Sharma. His music struck a chord in every Indian’s heart and his collaboration with Hariprasadji (Hari Prasad Chaurasia the flautist) to form Shiv-Hari will live for an eternity. An end of an era, for sure.”
Surashree Joshi, a classical singer from Pune, said: “It was a big shock… These are legends, you expect them to live forever. The same thing happened to me when Pt Birju Maharaj expired. They will live through their art.”
“There is something very soothing about his music and the way santoor sounds,” Joshi said.
Rahul Sarodi, a classical singer from Mumbai, said: “He was one of those who represented our music on a global scale. It is indeed heartbreaking.”
Vinod Dwiwedi, a Dhrupad classical singer from Kanpur, said the maestro’s son Rahul Sharma and followers will continue his legacy.
Sharma passed away at his Mumbai residence following a heart attack.
He was awarded the Padma Vibhushan, and Sangeet Natak Akademi award. Along with Chaurasia, he composed music for films like Chaandni, Lamhe and Darr.