Pandit Jitendra Abhisheki (Devanagari: जितेंद्र अभिषेकी; 21 September 1929 – 7 November 1998) was an Indian vocalist, composer and scholar of Indian classical, semi-classical, and devotional music. While he distinguished himself in Hindustani music, he is also credited for the revival of the Marathi musical theatre in the 1960s.
Early life and background
Jitendra was born in Mangeshi, Goa. His family was traditionally attached to the Mangeshi Temple of Lord Shiva. His father, Balawantrao aka Bikambhat, was a half-brother and a disciple of Master Deenanath Mangeshkar, and the temple priest and a Kirtankar (performer of Kirtana, a devotional music style). Balawantrao taught Jitendra the basic principles of Hindustani classical music. Jitendra received further training in vocal music from Jagannathbua Purohit and Azmat Hussain Khan of Agra Gharana, and Gullubhai Jasdanwala of Atrauli Gharana which is more widely known as Jaipur Gharana. He developed a distinct style of rendering khayál, which is known today as the Abhisheki Gharana. Panditji was also well known for his renditions of his Marathi Natya Sangeet compositions like “Guntatá Hrdáya Hai”, “He Suránno Chandra Vhá” and other songs/Marathi ghazalssuch as “Májhe Jívana Gáne”,”Kaivalyáchya”, “Sarvátmaka sarveshvara”, “Kátá rute kunálá” etc.
After receiving a degree in Sanskrit literature, Abhishekibuwa joined All India Radio (AIR) at Mumbai for a brief period, when he came in contact with several musicians and also got an opportunity to display his musical talents by composing several pieces for radio programs. Around this time, he received a scholarship from the Indian Government for advanced training in Hindustani classical music under Azmat Hussain Khan.
He composed vocal as well as background scores for 25 Marathi plays. After receiving a Homi Bhabha fellowship in the late sixties, he taught at a music school run in the USA by sitarist Ravi Shankar. He maintained his ties to his homeland of Goa through his association with the Kala Academy, counseling and guiding students from that state.
Besides son Shounak Abhisheki, Abhisheki’s well-known musical disciples include Asha Khadilkar, Devaki Pandit, Shubha Mudgal, Ajit Kadkade, Raja Kale, Prabhakar Karekar, Hemant Pendse, Dr Mohankumar Darekar, Vijay Koparkar, Mahesh Kale and Makarand Hingne, Sudhakar Gopal Deoley.
Awards and recognitions
- Homi Bhabha Fellowship (1969)
- Natyadarpan Award (1978)
- Padma Shri (1988)
- Sangeet Natak Akademi Award (1989)
- Maharashtra Gaurav Puraskar (1990)
- Gomantak Marathi Academy Award (1992)
- Balgandharva Puraskar (1995)
- Surashree Kesarbai Kerkar Award (1996)
- Master Deenanath Smriti Puraskar (1996)
- Lata Mangeshkar Puraskar (1996)
- Balgandharva Puraskar (Natyaparishad, 1997)
- Puraskar(Kailas Math Nasik, 1997)