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Annapurna Devi is an Indian surbahar (bass sitar) player of Hindustani classical music. She is the daughter of Allauddin Khan, the founder of Senia Maihar gharana" and first wife of Sitar maestro Pt Ravi Shankar. Annapurna Devi is an eminent sitar player and has had notable disciples and the likes include Hariprasad Chaurasia and Nikhil Banerjee among others.
Life of Annapurna Devi
Annapurna Devi was born on 23 April 1927 at Maihar, Madhya Pradesh. Her father Alauddin Khan was a royal court musician at the court of Maharaja Brijnath Singh. The Maharaja named her as 'Annapurna'. She learnt music under her father and guru Alauddin Khan who was the founder of the "Senia Maihar gharana". Annapurna Devi was married to Pt Ravi Shankar, eminent Sitar player. After her marriage with Pt Ravi Shankar she converted to Hinduism. The marriage lasted more than two decades and she gave bith to a son, Shubhendra Shankar. She also trained her son in Sitar. The couple was later separated. After her separation from Ravi Shankar she never performed in public. She moved to Mumbai and started teaching there. Presently she stays in Mumbai.
Music career of Annapurna Devi
Annapurna Devi was a very accomplished Surbahar player of the Maihar gharana. She was a disciplined student of her guru and father Allauddin Khan. Soon after learning the art of surbhar she started guiding her father’s disciple. She guided many of her father's disciples like flautists Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia and Nityanand Haldipur, Sitarists Pandit Nikhil Banerjee, Sarod maestro Aashish Khan Debsharma. She performed duets with her husband Ravi Shankar in 1950s in Delhi and Calcutta. Annapurna Devi was not a commercial musician and therefore did not cut albums and did not perform much at international levels. She performs for herself. She guides and trains students who are dedicated sitar players.
Awards and honours of Annapurna Devi
Annapurna Devi has been the recipient of many awards and honours for her contribution to music. She was awarded the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 1991. In 1977 she was honored with the Padma Bhushan by the government of India. In 2004 the Sangeet Natak Akademi appointed her a "Ratna" or jewel fellow.