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We like to remember the 60th birthday of Tabla wizzard Pandit Kumar Bose (born 4th April 1953) …

Posted by ElJay Arem (IMC OnAir) on April 4, 2013

English: Kumar Bose in July 2007 at the Barbic...

English: Kumar Bose in July 2007 at the Barbic…

Kumar Bose (born 4 April 1953) is an Indian tabla maestro and composer of Indian classical music. Bose belongs to the Benaras Gharana style of tabla playing. Having honed his skills under the tutelage of the legendary Pandit Kishan Maharaj, Pandit Bose rose to prominence with his flamboyant performances with Pandit Ravi Shankar. In addition to his musical abilities, Bose is also an awarded sportsman, a carrom champion, and fluently speaks four languages. In a career spanning more than four decades,Pandit Kumar Bose has established himself as one of the leading exponents of the tabla and an internationally recognised face in the world of Indian Classical Music. He received the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 2007.


Bose was born in Kolkata in a musical family. His father was Biswanath Bose, a distinguished tabla player who taught his son to play his first beat of rhythm.

His mother Bharati Bose was an eminent sitarist and disciple of the great Dabir Khan and Ali Akbar Khan Bharati received several awards in her career, including recognition as an All India Radio Artist and the President’s Award for Best Sitar Performance in 1956. She guided her son with the basic forms of classical music and helped him to groom himself as a professional tabla player.

His brothers are also noted musicians, who keep a traditional, thorough and vigorous training regime. His brother Acharya Jayanta Bose is an internationally reputed composer, lyrist, harmonium soloist and singer, while his brother Debojyoti Bose is a noted sarod player and music director.

Music career

Bose’s first teacher was his father. After his father’s untimely death, he was taught by Kishan Maharaj (1923–2008), a highly respected musician.

Bose has been applauded for evolving a distinctive style of his own without diluting the purity of tradition. Bose has elevated the tabla as a musical instrument in its own right, both through solo performances as a main artist and through his accompaniment of others. Bose has been devoted to the classic tabla for 35 years without interruption and is considered one of the most powerful players alive.


A master percussionist, Bose plays several other drums besides the tabla which include the sri-khole, the pakhwaj, the dholak, the nal, and the banga-kanga. However, it is the unusual way that he plays the bnaya that has brought him attention. He plays the bass drum-like instrument with his right hand, although he plays the tabla with his left. Though he is right-handed, he picked up this practice by sitting across from and mirroring his father from early childhood.


Bose gave his first public performance at the age of 4. By 14, he performed abroad and has played at almost every major music hall in the world since. He has performed at theRoyal Albert Hall and the Barbican Centre in London, the Kremlin in Moscow, the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts and Carnegie Hall in New York, and at various venues throughout India.He also has the distinction of having performed for Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles as an accompanist to Pandit Ravi Shankar.

He has the rare distinction of highly-acclaimed performances with Zubin Mehta‘s Philharmonic Orchestra and participation in several symphony orchestras conducted by Ravi Shankar, Yehudi Menuhin, and Arnovich in England, Italy, China, Russia and the United States.


In addition to a 10 year exclusive tour as the tabla accompanist to Ravi Shankar from 1984 to 1994, he has performed and composed with musicians globally. Over the past 40 years, he has also performed and recorded in duets with his guru. From the Benaras Gharana, he has played with Girija DeviRajan and Sajan Mishra, Kanthe Maharaj, and Kishan Maharaj.

While he has collaborated with leaders in jazzpop and rock, it was his duet with Iranian thumba player Professor Semurani that drew praise. Bose’s collaborations have given an international reputation as a great musician.


Of the six established tabla gharanas or schools of tabla playing, the Benares Gharana, of which Bose belongs, has been the most staunch in its refusal to compromise the traditions when moving into more lucrative contemporary fusions. While criticized decades ago for his rigidity and refusal to adapt modern fusion and film music, Bose is now credited with preserving classical musical style and philosophy. He has kept the tradition of the Benares Gharana by subtly balancing the warm bass tones of the bnaya with the higher-pitched crisp tones and syncopations of the tabla. Many of Bose’s compositions have been written to accompany the rhythmical movements of kathak dancers and are a specialty of the Benares tradition.

Bose currently conducts private lessons in the style of his mentors. He conducts classes daily with students from age 3 to 35 at his home in North Calcutta. He is known for maintaining high standards for his students, emphasizing the importance devoted practice and other aspects of the tradition. His high profile students also includes the likes of the Mumbai-based tabla player Shyama Prasad Das.


Bose has produced or performed on over 200 recordings in several genres, while staying true to his classical Indian lineage. The first live international recording of his solo Virtuositywas released through the Darbar Festival 2006 in London. The album includes some rare gems from the archives of the Benares repertoire, including the compositions of Ram Sahai, who founded the gharana at the beginning of the nineteenth century. Toward the end of the album, Bose demonstrates one of his specialities: playing a variety of cross rhythms on the dayan with his right hand while simultaneously holding down a fast repetitive beat on the bnaya with his left hand. The Times reviewed the performance, declaring him “the best tabla player in the world today.”

Personal life

Kumar Bose is married to Kaberi Bose, a classical singer and they have a daughter Trisha Bose, a vocalist.


  • His duet with Semurani received acclaim at the 1974 International Seminar of Music in Holland.
  • At the India Festival inMoscow in 1988, he received distinguished honors while playing with a philharmonic orchestra.
  • He was the assistant music director of Mrinal Sen‘s film Genesis. (He assisted music director Shankar, on whose albums his music is often featured.)
(Source: 04/2013 –

Bose live @ Darbar Festival 2006…

Kumar Bose with Sarodian Pandit Tejendra Narayan

Kumar Bose accompanying Mishra Brothers…



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