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Hirabai Barodekar


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Srimati Hirabai Barodekar was born in 1905 at Baroda (close to Miraj in federal state Maharashtra). Her mother was Tarabai Mane and her father the legendary Kirana master Ustad Abdul Karim Khan. Kirana gharana is one of India’s music schools.

She grew up with two sisters: Kamalabai Barodekar (Gulab) and Sarswati Rane (Sakina or Chotutai) and two brothers: Suresh Babu Mane (Abdul Rehman) and Papa (Abdual Hamid or Krishna Rao Mane).

She was considered the nightingale of India, chosen to sing vande matram (National Anthem) on Indepence day (1947) . Hirabai passed away at the age of eighty-four, on 20 November 1989.

Hirabai Barodekar had her initial training from brother Suresh Babu Mane and doyen of Kirana Gharana Ustad Abdul Wahid Khan, who was a cousin of Ustad Abdul Karim Khan. In 1922 Tarabai left Abdul Karim Khan, thus, she got only limited guidance from Ustad Abdul Karim Khan.

Hirabai had a very successful career. Her sweet and melodious voice was much appreciated. She was also an expert in Khayal, Thumri, Marathi Natyageet and Bhajan. She was the popular face of classical music and credited with having popularized classical music among the masses. She started the Nutan Sangeet Vidyalaya for teaching music to girls from respectable families and staged several plays through the platform of this school. She also acted in several films, Suvarna Mandir, Pratibha, Janabai and Municipality.

She became a recording artist quite early in her career. As was the norm in those days, recording companies changed the name of the artist to make it more appealing. That is how Champakali became Hirabai Barodekar. The early 78 rpm recordings have been re-rleased on cassettes by RPG in their Classical Gold series.

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