Dr. Gopal Shankar Misra (Vichitra Veena) with Chote Lal (Tabla) at Chait Singh Ghat Varanasi, ca. 1988.

Other sources of inspiration

When I was in Varanasi I also learned a few years Sitar from Dr. Gopal Shankar Misra (1957 - 1999).

Gopal Shankar Mishra was an acclaimed artiste of Sitar who was invited all across Indian and abroad. But because Vichitra Veena held a special meaning for his father, he could not let it lie silent. The vichitra veena is made of a broad, fretless, horizontal arm or crossbar (dand) around three feet long and six inches wide, with two large resonating gourds (tumba), which are inlaid with ivory and attached underneath at either end. The narrow ends of the instrument are fashioned into peacock heads, the national bird of India – a most appropriate carving as Gopal often drew a metaphor between the colours in the bird's tail and the musical range that the veena offers.


Mishra's father, Lalmani Misra, was born in the 1920s and became a singer and instrumentalist who performed dhrupad and khyal, and played the tabla, the sitar, and revived the vichitra veena by creating playing-technique for it. In his early years he had toured the globe as music-director to dance troupe of Pt. Uday Shankar. Dr. Lalmani Mishra was a performing musician and an academic, who served as Dean of the Faculty of Performing Arts at Banaras Hindu University, where he worked as a teacher and administrator, until his death in 1979.


He toured extensively in India, USA and Europe and was fulfilling his father's wishes by introducing the instrument to new situations and audiences. It was through Gopal Shankar Mishra that the vichitra veena finally found wider international fame. The veena is associated with Saraswati, the Goddess of learning in Hindu mythology. In Hindi "vichitra" means peculiar and the veena is part of a family of chordophone or stringed instruments said to predate the sitar. It evolved from the ancient Ban and later was known as Batta-Been. Gopal inherited the style known as Mishrabani, from his father who had brought the instrument to prominence in Northern Indian music.

B. C. Patekar (Vocal)

I also learned some basics in vocal music in Khyal-Style with B. C. Patekar. He was a great teacher with a deep knowledge of Jaipur-Atrauli Gharana founded by Allaudiya Khan (1855-1946).

Other sources of inspiration

I also learned and got inspiration from many renowned musicians in India

Partho Chatterjee (Sitar)

Amit Roy (Sitar)

Steven James (Sarod)

Shubhendra Rao (Sitar)

Ken Zuckerman (Sarod)

Bodhaditiya Mukerjee (Sitar)

Mangala Tiwari (Vocal)

Shri Patekar (Vocal)

Sohan Lal (Shenai, Bansuri)

Rabindra Goswami (Sitar)




Mangala Tiwari (Vocal)

Mangala Tiwari (Vocal) has been always a friend and inspiration when I stayed in Varanasi. I took some lessons from her and she taught me a few vocal compostions in Khyal Singing.


Die Sängerin Mangala Tiwari lebte in Varanasi und wurde durch ihren Grossvater Pandit Shiv Prasad Tripathi, einem bekannten Dhrupadsänger aus Varanasi, unterrichtet und später von Pandit Mukund Vishnu Kalvint im Stil der Gwalior Gharana in Khyal geschult. Sie promovierte als Master of Music, Master of Arts und Bachelor of Education an der Benares Hindu University (B.H.U). Sie unterrichtete an der Krishna Murti Foundation, Vasant Mahila Mahavidyalaya in Varanasi. Neben Konzerten machte sie Aufnahmen für All India Radio und TV- Musiksendungen in Lucknow und Delhi sowie Kompositionen für Tanz- und Theateraufführungen. 1989 erfolgte eine Einladung von der University of Musical Sciences und dem Royal Conservatorium in Kopenhagen (DK). 1997 gab Sie Konzerte und Workshops in der Schweiz, u. a. am Museum Rietberg in Zürich und für Sounds of India in Bern. 

Budhaditya Mukherjee (Sitar)

Back in 1995 the great Sitar Player Budhaditiya Mukherjee taught at a summer workshop at Fondazione Giorgio Cini in Venice where I attended his classes. It was very inspiring to be so close to a maestro of his art. I still practice regulary some of the paltas (exercices) I learned from him.