Pandit Shivkumar Sharma no more
Magnifying emotions with marvelous melodies on his santoor, Pandit Shivkumar Sharma always echoed the beauty of his home state Jammu through his music. Born to singer Uma Dutt Sharma on January 13, 1938, the Dogri-speaking music legend started his journey with singing and tabla lessons at the mere age of five, under the tutelage of his father. By the time he was 12, he had started performing for the local radio station in Jammu.
The legendary composer passed away earlier today at his residence in Mumbai at the age of 84, due to cardiac arrest. He had been suffering from kidney-related issues for the last six months and was on dialysis. Despite suffering from renal alignment and undergoing regular dialysis, he was due to perform in Bhopal next week.
He picked up santoor, originally a folk instrument resembling a dulcimer, at the age of 13 and went on to give his first public performance in Mumbai in 1955. Though his performance stirred up criticisms as traditionalists claimed that the santoor is not an 'unfit' instrument for Hindi music, he went on to win hearts, skating from local stages to international platforms.
Our cultural world is poorer with the demise of Pandit Shivkumar Sharma Ji. He popularised the Santoor at a global level. His music will continue to enthral the coming generations. I fondly remember my interactions with him. Condolences to his family and admirers. Om Shanti.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) May 10, 2022
Gliding along the strings of santoor, Sharma's melodies worked like magic, intoxicating music lover worldwide with the sweet and peaceful sound of this folk instrument. With him garnering love and praise in every step along his way to success, Sharma managed to familiarise and establish santoor worldwide.
Sharma ventured out into movies with the background score in V Shantaram's "Jhanak Jhanak Payal Baje" (1956). He went on to record his first solo album in 1960.
Aiming to introduce and integrate Kashmir's Sufism into Hindi films, Sharma predominantly incorporated local instruments and folk musical tunes into his compositions.
The passing away of Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharmaji marks the end of an era. He was the pioneer of Santoor and his contribution is unparalleled. For me, it's a personal loss and I will miss him no end. May his soul rest in peace. His music lives on forever! Om Shanti pic.twitter.com/GcLSF0lSh2
— Amjad Ali Khan (@AAKSarod) May 10, 2022
As one half of the Shiv-Hari duo, he went out to deliver some of the most cherished playback numbers with Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasi, for acclaimed films such as "Silsila", "Chandni", "Lamhe" and "Darr".
Alongside his Bollywood releases, Sharma went on to craft an array of experimental albums, including "The Glory Of Strings – Santoor"(1991), "Varsha- A Homage to the Rain Gods" (1993), "Hundred Strings of Santoor" (1994), "The Pioneer of Santoor (1994)", "Sampradaya" (1999), "Vibrant Music for Reiki" (2003), "Essential Evening Chants" (2007) "The Last Word in Santoor" (2009) and "Sangeet Sartaj" (2011).
He received the Padma Shri in 1991 and the Padma Vibhushan in 2001. He was also honoured with the Platinum Disc for "Call of the Valley" (1967), "Silsila" (1981) and "Chandni" (1989). Sharma was also awarded the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award, the highest Indian recognition given to practicing artists. It is awarded by the Sangeet Natak Akademi, India's National Academy of Music, Dance & Drama.
Yet another massive loss to music.#PanditShivkumarSharma ji is irreplaceable. His playing redefined the Santoor along with Indian music itself. His film songs with Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia ji as "Shiv-Hari" will also be beloved forever.
Strength to his family, fans & students. pic.twitter.com/KDJQVedci4
— VISHAL DADLANI (@VishalDadlani) May 10, 2022
Mourning the legendary composer's demise, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted, "Our cultural world is poorer with the demise of Pandit Shivkumar Sharma Ji. He popularised the Santoor at a global level. His music will continue to enthrall the coming generations. I fondly remember my interactions with him. Condolences to his family and admirers. Om Shanti".
Sarod maestro Amjad Ali Khan also took to his Twitter and wrote, "The passing away of Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharmaji marks the end of an era. He was the pioneer of Santoor and his contribution is unparalleled. For me, it's a personal loss and I will miss him no end. May his soul rest in peace. His music lives on forever! Om Shanti."
Tributes also poured in from numerous Indian artistes, including musicians Jeet Gannguli, Vishal Dadlani and actor Annu Kapoor, for the maestro.
Pandit Shivkumar Sharma is survived by his son, Rahul Sharma, who is also a santoor player.