Born On: November 9, 1924
Born In: Osmanabad, Maharashtra
Died On: January 10, 2002
Career: classical singer
For a person whose first love, first commitment and first passion is music, he is bound to make it big in the industry with a long list of disciples following him. In the music industry, it is C.R. Vyas who is regarded as one of India's leading vocalists. With immense contribution to the world of Hindustani classical music, C.R. Vyas was successful in making it big into his dreams and goals, thereby carving a niche in his related field. Since childhood, he was ambitious and high-powered on learning music and ended up creating his own distinct style with a perfect blend of melodies from various gharanas. He is best remembered for singing the khyal style, a modern genre of classical singing in North India, much similar to the qawwal singing style.
Born into a family of keertankars and Sanskrit scholars, C.R. Vyas was born in an obscure village of Thair, near Osmanabad in Maharashtra. He was born in a village that did not have any facilities for formal education. However, that did not stop his determined mother, who wanted her sons to have good education. As such, she went on a hunger strike for days just to convince her husband to provide good education for all the three sons. Eventually, his father gave in and the kids were admitted to a school in the town under the guidance of Vyas's maternal uncle. Though Vyas's uncle was a farmer, he was an excellent sitarist. This helped Vyas to a great extent in his music interest, when his uncle admitted him under the tutelage of his friend Pt. Govindrao Bhatambrekar of Kirana gharana where he learnt music for over a decade. It was the demands and willpower of his guru that Vyas managed to build up his classical base.
At the age of 21, Vyas wanted employment and a guru who could help him with his musical quest. Therefore, he left the village with 50 rupees from his father and went to Mumbai where he stayed for the rest of his life. To his luck, he found a job in an engineering college in Matunga. Though poor but firm, Vyas managed to find a home with one of his relatives in Girgaum and traveled the distance from home to college on foot. While the days were spent teaching music in the college, the evenings and weekends were spent by attending concerts and identifying every stylistic nuance and idiom that he came across. Eventually, he started delivering concerts to earn his living. He was fortunate enough to get admitted in the team of Pt. Rajamrambuva Paradkar of Gwalior gharana who noticed him on one of his performances. The next 15 years were spent in attaining training in the traditional gurukula style. During this time, he got married to his guru's sister-in-law. His wife supported him in all walks of life with his deepest passion for music and simple habits.
Vyas, to support his family financially, found a white-collar job in ITC, but this did not separate him from his first love, for he did teach music at Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan. As years passed by, Vyas found a new teacher in Jagannathbuwa Purohit of Agra gharana, who wrote several bandishes under the pen name "Gunidas". This guru-student relationship helped Vyas carve himself as a finished artist over the years. By the time he reached into his fifties, Vyas was one of the rare musicians to have mastered the music of three gharanas. Vyas was a composer par excellence with distinct elements in his own individual approach. Today, several of his compositions are sung by various other artists, most being his disciples. The depth and range of his voice were sufficient to identify his vigorous and intense music love for music. He delivered several performances in different cities and towns of India. He even traveled abroad to countries, such as England, America, Canada, Holland, France, Afghanistan, and others as a lead vocalist. He appeared as a lead artist on All India Radio (AIR) and numerous television programs.
Contribution To Music
C.R. Vyas composed several ragas and bandishes under the pen name of "Gunijan". Dhankoni Kalyan, Sanjogiya, Shiv-Abhogi, Sagera, and Shuddha Ranjini are some of his celebrated ragas popularly performed in concerts. He gave over 200 bandishes in different ragas. To honor his Guru Gunidas, Vyas began the Gunidas Sangeet Sammelan in 1977 which is still celebrated in Mumbai and in various parts of India. He even penned a book titled "Raag Sarita" which includes a detail about his contributions to the filed of music. He was honored with several prestigious awards throughout his music career.
On his tour to Calcutta in 2002, C.R. Vyas died on 10th January, leaving the entire music world stunned and shocked.
C.R. Vyas's disciples include a long list of young talented artists of today. The most prominent ones are Pt. Jitendra Abhisheki, Prabhakar Karekar, Ganapathi Bhat, Suhas Vyas (his son), Kunda Weling, Sanjeev Chimmalgi, and Alka Joglekar. Musicians, like Veena Sahasrabuddhe, Lalit Rao, Shubha Mudgal and the sarod player, Biswajeet Roychowdhry who have picked up musical ideas from his compositions.
Awards & Accolades
Tansen Sanman by Government of Madhya Pradesh, 1999
Master Dinanath Mangeshkar Puraskar, 1999
Marathwada Gaurav Puraskar, 1998
Ustad Hafiz Ali Khan Award, 1994
Padma Bhushan Award, 1992
Maharashtra Gaurav Puraskar, 1990
Sangeet Natak Akademi Award, 1987
1924: Born in Thair village, near Osmanabad, Maharashtra
1938: Joined Pt. Govindrao Bhatambrekar of Kirana gharana
1945: Went to Mumbai
1977: Began Gunidas Sangeet Sammelan
1990: Was awarded the Maharashtra Gaurav Puraskar
1992: Honored with the Padma Bhushan Award
1999: Bestowed upon with Master Dinanath Mangeshkar Puraskar and Tansen Sanman
2002: Died in Calcutta on 10th January, aged 77.