Very few musicians become synonymous with their instrument, but Ustaad Bismillah Khan, who passed away on this day ten years ago was one of them. The words ‘shehnai’ and Bismiilah Khan cannot be separated, as this legendary musician from benares is solely responsible for elevating his instrument from being a folk instrument played in certain ceremonies, to a solo instrument of Indian Classical music, played in concert halls across the world.
He was awarded India’s highest civilian honour, the Bharat Ratna, in 2001, becoming the third classical musician after M. S. Subbulakshmi and Ravi Shankar to be accorded this distinction.
For all Indians, his melodious shehnai playing also became synonymous with the sound of Indian weddings – as no ceremony felt complete without his recordings gracing the occasion.
Sit back and enjoy your Sunday with some of his best recordings.