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Pandit Pran Nath


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Lahore, Pakistan (1918 – 1996)

Pran Nath (Devanagari: पंडित प्राणनाथ) (3 November 1918 – 13 June 1996) was a singer and teacher of the (Kirana school), with a successful American career.

Pran Nath was born into a wealthy family in Lahore, Pakistan. While avid devotees of music (inviting musicians into the house to perform nightly), the family did not approve of his desire to become a musician, so he left home early and took up residence with his guru the legendary (but reclusive) singer Ustad Abdul Wahid Khan of the Kirana gharana, nephew of the very famous Ustad Abdul Karim Khan, and stayed with him for 20 years. Both guru and disciple were much attracted to mysticism: Ustad Abdul Wahid Khan, the Muslim, to , and Nath, the Hindu, to a Shaivite sect in Dehra Dun. It is said that Nath lived in a cave near the Tapkeswhar temple to for five years, but eventually married and reentered the world at the request (guru dakshana) of his guru, in order to ensure the preservation of the Kirana style. In 1937, he became a staff artist with All India Radio.

However, Nath stuck to the very austere and increasingly anachronistic , devotional singing style – heavy emphasis on , and very slow tempi – which suited his voice well, but was not very popular to the modern Indian taste. At the time, the elder brothers Dagar were the primary exponents of the style, who toured and recorded largely at the behest of Alain Daniélou. Nath supported himself as a music teacher, for example at Delhi University from 1960 to 1970.


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