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Harmonium Maestro Tulsidas Borkar

Update: Tulsidas Borkar was awarded the Padmashree award by the Indian government in 2016.

Earlier this week I called on Tulsidas Borkar, the virtuoso of the harmonium, at his home in Mumbai. He is the quintessential Goan by temperament and manner, prototypical of an era that is now past. We talked about the great Goan musicians of the 20th C and their disproportionate contributions to Indian Classical Music. He then pulled out his harmonium and launched into an impromptu recital.

Tulsidasbab was born in 1934 in the village of Borim located in Goa‘s Ponda taluka (the same village gave us the poetic genius Bakibab Borkar). He had the privilege of receiving training for 10 years from Madhukar Pednekar – also from Goa, from the village of Malpem in Pednem taluka – perhaps the greatest harmonium wizard of the 20th C.

In the course of a long and distinguished career, Tulsidasbab has provided harmonium support to most of the leading Hindustani vocalists of our time – Amir Khan, Bhimsen Joshi, Mallikarjun Mansur, Kishori Amonkar, Jitendra Abhisheki, Basavraj Rajguru, to name a few. Even more important, he has produced the next line of musicians, with several of his students now counted among the top tier harmonium players in the country.

In 2005 Tulsidasbab was awarded the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award by the then President of India A.P.J. Abdul Kalam.

In the late 1970s and through the 1980s, the frequently-played filler interlude in between programmes on AIR-Panjim was a musical ‘button’ in Raga Tilak Des (Tilak Kamod with a dash of Raga Des) performed by Tulsidas Borkar.

Tulsidas Borkar (harmonium maestro) in Mumbai

Tulsidas-bab Borkar
5D Mark II, 85L II

Tulsidas Borkar, at his home in Mumbai<br>Canon 5D Mark II, 24-105L

Tulsidas Borkar, at his home in Mumbai
5D Mark II, 24-105L

Harmonium maestro Tulsidas Borkar<br>5D Mark II, 14L II

Harmonium maestro Tulsidas Borkar
5D Mark II, 14L II

  • Premanand - May 6, 2015 - 3:40 pm

    I think now I understand the third photograph (and with that I understand one of the uses of wide angles). Panditji’s hand is given a slightly exaggerated perspective as compared to the keyboard and even panditji himself. It is the hand/fingers of the “pandit” that creates the music/magic, the “vādya” is just the instrument (pun intended).ReplyCancel

  • Amar Patil - August 11, 2012 - 4:02 am

    Excellent !ReplyCancel

  • ram pandit - October 12, 2011 - 2:38 pm

    KHUP CHAAN….!!!

    rasikanvar jadu karnari bote…ReplyCancel

  • Sudhir Nayak - March 30, 2010 - 6:01 am

    Excellent pictures of Borkar Guruji! Some of the best of his many photos that have been clicked till now.ReplyCancel

  • Sanjeev - December 6, 2009 - 2:03 am

    Excellent !ReplyCancel

  • Ajay Divakaran - December 5, 2009 - 6:53 pm

    Beautiful pictures that capture the maestro in a natural way.ReplyCancel

  • Arun - December 5, 2009 - 12:06 pm

    Very nice! The last one, with the 14mm, wow, what a use of the lens! You were probably at the minimum focus distance of about 8 inches? I hope you send Borkarji a set of prints. He should be delighted with them.ReplyCancel

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