Pandit Shivkumar Sharma
Pandit Shivkumar Sharma is an exceptionally gifted musician. In a sense he is a complete artiste, having had his training in vocal, percussion and instrumental music, from none other than his father, Pandit Umadutt Sharma, a distinguished State Musician of Jammu and Kashmir However, it was the father's express desire that Shivkumar should dedicate himself to popularizing the Santoor. Pandit Shivkumar Sharma has not only elevated this folk instrument of Kashmir to the concert hall status but thanks to his endearing efforts, the Santoor has taken its place in the concert halls around the world. With a style evolved out of gayaki (vocal), gatkari (instrumental technique) and layakari (rhythmic improvisation) Shivkumar imparts to his santoor recitals a multidimentional appeal. His raga renderings delight the purists as much as his light themes beguile the lay listeners.
Sivkumar Sharma was born in Jammu, in the state of Kashmir, on 13th January 1938. After training as a vocalist from the age of five followed by further training in percussion through the Tabla, he took on other instruments, such as the Sarod, Violin and the Harmonium. At the age of fourteen, he was introduced to the Santoor by his father, an instrument on which the latter had done considerable amount of research. Santoor had many structural deficiencies as an instrument to enable it to be appropriate to play certain basic nuances of classical music form. One such example is the "meend" which involves the glide or slide which enables to create a semblance of a continuum of one note to the other rather than moving discretely from one note to the other, thereby producing an effect similar to the vocal rendering of notes. Pandit Sharma grappled with many such problems presented by the Santoor and adapted the instrument to overcome comments of many critics that, unlike sitar or sarod, santoor was not capable of mimicking vocal techniques. He achieved this by increasing the number of bridges to get a wider range of octaves, and changed the system of tuning and the structural configuration of the strings to allow for more precision on note reproduction.
Shivkumar Sharma gave his first public performance in Bombay in 1955. He recorded his first solo album in 1960. In 1967, he teamed up with the Bamboo Flute Maestro, Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia and the Slide Guitarist, Pandit Brij Bhushan Kabra, to produce a thematic album "The Call of the Valley" , easily one of the greatest hits in the field of Indian Classical Music.
The measure of Shivkumar Sharma's achievement with the Santoor has parallels with that of the great master of the Shehnai, an oboe-like instrument, which was also more a folk instrument than a classical one, before the legendary Ustad Bismillah Khan came on the scene almost seven decades ago. The names of Shivkumar and Santoor are synonymous..! Recording Awards (Classical and Film)
Platinum Disc for 'Call of the Valley'
Platinum Disc for music of film 'Silsila'
Gold Disc for music of film 'Faasle'
Platinum Disc for music of film 'Chandni'
Special Award for outstanding music and sale of film 'Lamhe'
Special Award for outstanding music and sale of film 'Darr'