The legendary artist who introduced the little trapezoid-shaped, stringed instrument Santoor alongside heavyweight classical instruments such as sitar and shahanai Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma has bid adieu to this world.
Nevertheless, the path created by him for the Santoor into the world of ragas and riyaz will forever be in our hearts.
Pdt Shiv Kumar passed away at the age of 84 in Mumbai after suffering a cardiac arrest. In a journey of 84 years, Kumar has composed many original songs and music. He, after collaborating with famous flute artist Hari Prasad Chaurasia has created music for several popular films such as Silsila, Lamhe, Chandni and Darr under the name 'Shiv Hari. These songs became blockbusters making him win Platinum and Gold Discs reflecting their massive success. He was awarded the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award(1986) and also international honorary citizenship of the city of Baltimore, USA.
Pt. Shiv Kumar Sharma started learning the santoor at the age of 13 and left Srinagar for Mumbai, with only Rs 500 in his pocket and a Santoor. The small instrument which was an accompaniment for Sufiana Music from the folk circuit of Jammu and Kashmir was popularized by him who gave it a classical status in Indian music.
His first public performance was in Mumbai in 1955 and after some years of struggle, he managed to bring out a solo album in 1960. In 1967, he started working with the flute legend Hariprasad Chaurasia and guitarist Brij Bhushan Kabra to produce the acclaimed concept album 'Call of the Valley' which turned out to be one of the greatest hits in Indian classical music.
Pt. Shiv Kumar Sharma faced several challenges to put Santoor on classical centre stage. Ultimately, he succeeded with his extraordinary skills and zeal for his music. He received the Padma Shree in 1991 and the prestigious Padma Vibhushan in 2001 for his contributions to Indian Classical music.
Even after huge success in the field of music, he remained focused and carried his delicate santoor to concerts around the world. Throughout his life, Pt. Shiv Kumar maintained, "Classical music is not for entertainment, it is to take you on a meditative journey. It is supposed to be experienced."