Tag Archives: Chetan Vinchhi


written by Chetan Vinchhi



Avinash Vyas was born on July 21, 1912 in Ahmedabad. Not much has been written about his very early life. He came to Bombay at the age of 27-28 and began learning music from Ustad Allaudin Khan. Being a talented musician, he soon became a freelance instrumentalist with HMV and Young India record labels. His first record may have been issued as early as 1940 itself, and his compositions began to be aired on AIR. It was during this phase that he met and befriended the tabla maestro Alla Rakha. He got his first break in filmdom with his new friend. The two jointly composed the music for the 1943 film Mahasati Ansuya (incidentally, Alla Rakha / A.R.Quereshi sang a duet with Rajkumari in this film!).

The next few years must have been years of struggle. He got a couple of Hindi assignments – Krishna Bhakta Bodana (1944), Laheri Badmash (1944), but not much else. He got his first Gujarati film in Hothal Padamni (1947). It was successful, with the top-billing singer of the time Rajkumari singing 2 songs for it. Avinash-ji got 3-4 more films to work on during the same year. But he struck a gold mine with his first assignment of 1948, Gunsundari. This is social drama based on the famous maha-granth Saraswatichandra. It was a musical super-hit. Avinash Vyas, the main singer in the film Geeta Roy and the heroine Nirupa Roy became overnight celebrities in Gujarati-speaking areas. The songs from this film are popular to this day.

With the 1947 film Krishna-Sudama, Avinash-ji seemed to have developed a couple of new facets of his personality! The film had 15 songs, 14 of which were written by him (1 was by Kavi Premanand). Additionally, he sang a number of the songs as well. Although he didn’t sing much in later films, he wrote the lyrics of most of his songs from this point onwards. He is one of the few composers who are equally adept and prolific lyricists. This raises an interesting thought about the creative process. Whether the words came first or the tune may be moot in his case, since the two probably evolve together in one creator’s mind. Perhaps this is the reason his lyrics are always very well suited to the music. This is a very unique aspect of Avinash-ji’s oeuvre.

His non-film work is almost as popular as his film songs. As usual he wrote and composed most of these himself. Outside the constraints of a film’s storyline, perhaps his poetry and maybe even music are found to be more expressive. A case in point being the timeless Mukesh classic “pa.nkhiDaa ne aa pi.njaruu.n”.

Avinash-ji has worked with most of the star singers of HFM in Gujarati films. His work with Asha Bhosale deserves special mention due to its consistently high quality – “chhanuu.n re chhapanuu.n kai.n thaay nahii.n” is one of their early and best-known collaborations. It was such a hit that it was re-used in the Hindi film Teen Batti Char Rasta for a multilingual sequence!

Due to the nature of Gujarati films, Avinash-ji needed to draw on the folk music of Gujarat. He has done it with great aplomb, adapting and rewriting many traditional songs and presenting them to the public in a new avatar. In doing so, he also gave breaks to aspiring as well as well-known folk artists such as Diwaliben Bhil, Praful Dave, Damyanti Bardai etc.

Avinash Vyas had a stellar career in Gujarati film (and non-film) music spanning nearly 4 decades. He gave the music for 190 Gujarati films, making him the most prolific composer in GFM. What is not so well-known is the fact that he also gave the music for 62 Hindi films. This puts him in the elite league of composers with more than 250 films.

A fairly large proportion of Avinash-ji’s work in Hindi is from mythological films. Such films typically have a very niche audience and very rarely get wide popularity. As a result, the music of his films in Hindi is not often talked about or even remembered. Listening to his repertoire would make one realize that his compositions were mostly high quality with a strong emphasis on melody.

The kind of films also, in a way, defined his association with various lyricists. A fairly large chunk of his songs in Hindi are written by poets/lyricists that wrote in pure Hindi as opposed to Urdu. The lyricist with whom he did the maximum amount of work was Bharat Vyas. One of the best known songs of Bharat Vyas with Avinash Vyas is from Jagadguri Shamkaracharya – “sar pe himaalay kaa chhatra hai… Jai Bharti Vande Bharti”. Avinash-ji also worked with other Hindi poet/lyricists like Kavi Pradeep, Gopal Singh Nepali, Neelkanth Tiwari, Saraswati Kumar Deepak, etc.

Among female singers, Geeta Dutt and Asha Bhosle seemed to be his favourite, in Gujarati as well as Hindi. However, he did utilize the services of other singers like Lata Mangeshkar, Suman Kalyanpur, Shamshad Begum, Sudha Malhotra, etc. Among male singers, a strong tilt towards one singer is not evident in his work, with a fairly even distribution Mohd. Rafi, Manna Dey, Mahendra Kapoor, Hemant Kumar, Talat Mahmood, etc.

In spite of being so prolific, Avinash-ji’s music retained a commendable freshness and sincerity, as he delved deep into his knowledge of lok-, sugam- and shastriya- sangeet. Be it the lilting “tame thoDaa thoDaa thaav varaNaagii” or the anguished “ka.nkar ka.nkar se mai.n puuchhu.n” in Gujarati; or the serene “ek dharatii hai ek hai gagan” or the melodious “jaa re baadal jaa” in Hindi, his tunes are evergreen.

Avinash Vyas Filmography (Hindi)

1. 1943 – Mahasati Anusuya
2. 1944 – Krishnabhakt Bodana
3. 1944 – Lehri Badmash
4. 1950 – Bhimsen
5. 1950 – Har Har Mahadev
6. 1951 – Dashavatar
7. 1951 – Jai Mahalakshmi
8. 1951 – Ram Janma
9. 1951 – Shri Vishnu Bhagwan
10. 1952 – Rajrani Damyanti
11. 1952 – Shiv Shakti
12. 1952 – Veer Arjun
13. 1953 – Bhagyawan
14. 1954 – Adhikar
15. 1954 – Chakradhari
16. 1954 – Hukumat
17. 1954 – Mahapooja
18. 1954 – Malika-e-Aalam Noor Jehan
19. 1955 – Andher Nagri Chaupat Raja
20. 1955 – Ekadashi
21. 1955 – Jagadguru Shankracharya
22. 1955 – Riyasat
23. 1955 – Waman Avtaar
24. 1956 – Dwarkadheesh
25. 1956 – Sudarshan Chakra
26. 1957 – Aadhi Roti
27. 1957 – Bhakt Dhruv
28. 1957 – Lakshmi
29. 1957 – Naag Mani
30. 1957 – Neelofar
31. 1957 – Ram Laxman
32. 1957 – Sant Raghu
33. 1957 – Sheshnag
34. 1958 – Gopichand
35. 1958 – The Great Show of India
36. 1958 – Jang Bahadur
37. 1958 – Pati Parmeshwar
38. 1958 – Ram Bhakti (Same as Bhakt Raj – 1960)
39. 1959 – Charnon Ki Daasi
40. 1959 – Grihalakshmi
41. 1960 – Bhakt Raj (Same as Ram Bhakti – 1958)
42. 1962 – Bapu Ne Kaha Tha
43. 1962 – Hawa Mahal
44. 1962 – Kailashpati
45. 1963 – Royal Mail
46. 1964 – Bhakt Dhruv Kumar
47. 1968 – Mata Mahakali
48. 1969 – Badmash
49. 1969 – Beti Tumhare Jaisi
50. 1969 – Surya Devta
51. 1970 – Takht Aur Talwar
52. 1973 – Mahasati Savitri
53. 1974 – Daaku Aur Bhagwan
54. 1977 – Chhoti Behen
55. 1978 – Maa Baap
56. 1980 – Bhakt Gora Kumar
57. 1981 – Naag Devta
58. 1982 – Sati Ansuya
59. 1983 – Bachche Teen Aur Daaku Chhe
60. 1984 – Maya Bazaar
61. 1985 – Bhagwan Shri Krishna
62. 1985 – Narsi Bhagat

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Posted by on April 13, 2013 in Articles, info and facts, pictures


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Laal Nishaan was the second film where he composed as 'Nirmal Kumar

by Chetan Vinchhi

Pt.Shiv Dayal Batish is better known to the film music world as S.D.Batish or simply Batish. He also used the nicknames Nirmal Kumar and Master Ramesh. He was a multifaceted musician – singer, composer, sitar player, vichitra veena vaadak and so on. Pt. Batish was born in December 1914 in Patiala. His mother, uncle and maternal grandfather were musicians. So he was attracted to music at a very early age. He is said to have regaled a crowd amid professional musicians at the tender age of 7. Later, he also won the praise of Maharaja Hari Singh of Kashmir. During college days, he starred in a play named ‘Parivartan’ where his songs became extremely popular. The producer of this play Vijay Kumar advised him to try his luck in Bombay. Thus, he first landed in the film capital of India in 1934. His musical performances got critical acclaim and he even tried his hand at acting. However, that did not suit him and he returned to Patiala.

For any musician or singer, we usually have a Eureka moment. When something snaps within and we sit up and notice a beautiful quality about the singer. Batish-ji was a familiar name from Kaise Kahoon, Barsat Ki Raat, Meri Surat Teri Aankhen. However, when I came across “ye aa.nkhe.n kah gayii.n dil kii baat” from Anil-da’s Ladli, I was profoundly impressed this remarkable musician. The listener can partake in the delicate emotions conveyed by the singer when he says “anokhi ghaat” or “mil gayii woh saugaat”. A fine musical sensibility needs to reside underneath such an openhearted rendition.

There are several milestones to be covered before the Laadli phase though. After returning home, Batish-ji learnt music from Chandanram Charan. Apart from vocal music, he seems to have picked up various instruments during this time. He began singing for AIR (Delhi) and got associated with HMV. It was at HMV that he came in close association with Pt.Amarnath. It was through this connection that he began getting singing assignments in films. His “pagdi sambhal jaTTaa” from the Punjabi film Gavandi (1942) gained immense popularity. His first major hit in Hindi was possibly “khamosh nigahen” from Daasi (1944). This was produced by Dalsukh Pancholi of Lahore. Batish-ji was assistant MD to Pt.Amarnath for some Pancholi films during this phase. True to these roots, his musical oeuvre was an amalgam of classical music and Punjabi folk & popular styles.

During the Lahore days, there are many popular film songs sung by him. Additionally, he was singing geets and ghazals for various radio stations, notably AIR (Bombay). Post-partition Batish-ji left Lahore for Bombay. Singing assignments were many and he soon became quite a popular playback singer. Chunariya, Bhoolbhulaiya, Kaneez and yes, Laadli, among others had highly acclaimed songs sung by him.

Batish-ji was a trained classical singer. At the same time he was an expert at many musical instruments. This background, along with his musical acumen, made him a very good music director. His finest compositions are heard in his films from the 1950s. Bahu Beti (1952) and Betaab (1952) had very nice music. It was with Haar Jeet (1954) and Toofan (1954) that he won the hearts of his listeners through such lovely songs as “tujhe aawaaz deti hai taDap kar zindagi meri” and “armaan bhara dil TooT gaya”.

One of the best-known songs sung by him was the Adana-based “man mohan man mein” from Kaise Kahoon (1964), for which he won the Tansen award from Sur Singar Samsad. Soon after this remarkable achievement, Batish-ji left the film world, never to return. He joined BBC and gave vocal and instrumental music for several years. He worked for the Beatles film Help during this phase. He gained immense popularity as a versatile composer, singer and musician during his stay in Britain. In 1970, he was invited to UC-Santa Cruz to give lectures on Indian music. He moved to the US in response to this invitation and made it his home for the rest of his life. His work as a teacher of music blossomed after he relocated to the US. Not only did he teach a number of students, but also wrote many scholarly books on Indian music and produced instructional videos. His works are invaluable for any serious student of music. He established the Batish Institute, which has become a veritable university of Indian music in the US and has contributed immensely to popularising Indian music in the West.

Some of our RMIM friends had the opportunity to interact with Batish-ji in California. He had a sharp memory, a keen intellect and also a ready smile. Music – be it classical or film – was everything to him. He was very happy that people remembered him for his film work from decades earlier. And he was very enthusiastic about his newer works like the seminal Ragopedia set.

Pt.S.D.Batish passed away in 2006, leaving behind a rich legacy of musical works and a knowledge base for posterity. His film legacy includes ~100 songs sung by him for over 55 Hindi movies, music composed for 16 Hindi movies (2 using the name Nirmal Kumar), 3 Hindi movies as Asst. MD, and 2 Punjabi movies as music director. Today, SKS remembers him affectionately for the immense joy he has brought to us through his music.

4. “Dhunon Ki Yatra” – Pankaj RaagLaal Nishaan was the second film where he composed as ‘Nirmal Kumar ‘

audio file(S) :
film : Taksaal
song :Aaye sajna, hamar leke doliyan kahar, chali jaibe mohe –
sd batish,Laxmi Shankar and Chorus

Statistics Related to Pt. Shiv Dayal Batish (Hindi Films only)

**List of Music Directors for whom Pt. Batish has sung
    1. A. R Qureishi
    2. Anil Biswas
    3. Anna Saheb Mainkar
    4. Baldev Nath Bali
    5. Bulo C. Rani
    6. Ghulam Haider
    7. Ghulam Mohammed
    8. Hansraj Bahl
    9. Husnalal Bhagatram
    10. Jaidev
    11. Jhande Khan (?)
    12. Jimmy
    13. K. Dutta
    14. Lachchhiram (with Shyam Sunder)
    15. Madan Mohan
    16. Ninoo Majumdar
    17. Nisar Bazmi
    18. O.P Nayyar
    19. Pt. Amarnath
    20. Pt. Gobind
  • Ramchandra Pal
  • Roshan
  • S. D Batish (Nirmal Kumar)
  • S. Mohinder
  • S. N Tripathi
  • Sachin Dev Burman
  • Sardul Kwatra
  • Shankar Jaikishan
  • Shyam Sunder
  • Suresh Talwar
  • V. Balsara
  • Vinod

List of films for which Pt. Batish was the composer

  1. 1948 Balma
  2. 1948 Chupke Chupke
  3. 1948 Patjhad
  4. 1948 Roop Rekha
  5. 1949 Khush Raho
  6. 1940s (Unreleased) Reet
  7. 1952 Bahu Beti
  8. 1952 Betaab
  9. 1954 Amar Keertan
  10. 1954 Haar Jeet
  11. 1954 Toofan
  12. 1957 Shehzaadi
  13. 1958 Hum Bhi Kuchh Kam Nahin
  14. 1959 Chaand Ki Duniya (as Nirmal Kumar)
  15. 1959 Ek Armaan Mera
  16. 1959 Laal Nishaan (as Nirmal Kumar)
  17. 1959 Saazish
  18. 1959 Tipu Sultan
  19. 1960 Zalim Tera Jawab Nahin

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Posted by on November 8, 2012 in Articles, info and facts


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Pt.Yeshwantbua Joshi (1928-2012)

Pt.Yeshwantbua Joshi (1928-2012)

It is heart-wrenching to write that date to the right of the hyphen. A voice so full of verve has been silenced forever in a single moment. This is truly the end of an era. His was a gayaki of the past, bringing to life echoes of the likes of Balkrishnabua Ichhalkaranjikar and Yashwant Mirashi-bua. He was the lone surviving savant of that flavor of Gwalior gharana for the last few decades.

He had a seemingly unending treasure trove of traditional bandishes and rare compositions. Unlike most modern-day performers, he had a sure hold on a vast range of raagas. It was always a pleasure to hear him sing.

He really did not care for anything other than music. He was almost child-like in his dislike for ceremony. He would fidget on stage while the customary speeches extolling his gayaki were being made, he would grimace at being garlanded. And then he would plunge right in, bringing out lustrous pearls from the ocean of raagdari.

My first experience of this was through a video of the 90th year celebration of Pt.Manikbua Thakurdas. Yeshwantbua was the main performer that night. His Hameer was one of the finest renditions of that raag I have ever heard. It was followed by several other raags – the Sohoni being quite memorable.

I have had the privilege of observing Bua at close quaters. Memories to be cherished forever. Bua would sit in his tiny Shivaji Park, Mumbai apartment. He would choose a tanpura from among the several hanging in the room, quickly check the tuning, get out his dagga and start to teach. One persistent image is that of him teaching Gaud Malhar (the beatutiful bandish “aavan aagam”). A crow alights on his window sill. Bua is highly amused at the distraction, but the lesson continues.

by-chetan vinchhi

(audio courtesy : archisman  da )

Tributes to Pt Yashwant Buwa Joshi, who passed away on October 5, Friday:

Yashwant Buwa Joshi – “The basic requirement of music is a magical quality called “Rang”

(Yashwant Buwa spoke to Deepak Raja on June 5, 2003 :Courtesy:

I was born and brought up in Pune. My father operated a couple of cabs in the city. He was untrained in music, but had a lovely voice and sang devotional songs very well. That is all I can claim by way of a family background in music. It was my uncle, Govardhan Buwa Naik, who was responsible for pushing me in this direction. He was an alumnus of the first batch (1901) of Vishnu Digambar’s Gandharva Mahavidyalaya (Music College) in Lahore under a nine-year apprenticeship in music. The only explanation for his having gone there was that lodging, boarding, and training were free. That was my grandfather’s way of ensuring that his family could survive on his income. Govardhan Buwa could not sing, but became a competent player on the Harmonium, Tabla and Dilruba (a short-necked, fretted, lute of the bowed variety). So, after graduating, he started a music school in Bombay. Because he had no children, he was keen that I should train as a musician and take over its management after him.
At my sacred thread ceremony, which took place when I was nine, my uncle invited the famous vocalist, Mirashi Buwa (Yashwant Sadashiv Mirashi). My uncle’s Guru, Vishnu Digambar, and Mirashi Buwa had studied together under Balkrishna Buwa Ichalkaranjikar. My uncle and Mirashi Buwa thus belonged to a close-knit gharana fraternity. Mirashi Buwa had just moved to Pune from Nashik, after serving a leading theatre company for 24 years. Over lunch, my uncle requested the stalwart to teach me, and he agreed. This is how it started. Every single day, after returning from school, I would go to Mirashi Buwa’s house and learn music. As luck would have it, my uncle died within a year of my starting music lessons. There was no longer a ready business awaiting me. But, I continued studying music.
The relationship was in the traditional mould, the only difference being that I continued to live with my parents. I paid no fees, and spent all my time – other than school – with my Guru. Initially, the teaching was by the “direct method” – reproducing what the Guru sings. No questions were to be asked. No logic was to be understood. Despite this, within five years, I found myself so intoxicated with music that I could no longer concentrate on my studies. So, four years short of graduation, I quit school in favour of music.

Making a living
My training with Mirashi Buwa continued for 12 years. By this time, I was 21, and had to start making a living. Music was all I knew. Those were difficult days for musicians, particularly in Pune. I spent a whole year contemplating my course of action. My childhood friend, and neighbour from Pune, Ram Marathe, was by now in Bombay, making some headway as a professional singer. So, in 1950, I decided to take on the world with his helping hand. Though I had no experience, the only path open to me was teaching music. Fees were poor in those days. Each student would pay Rs. 10 or 15 per month. With great difficulty, I earned about Rs. 50 a month. But, living was cheap – my monthly food bill was Rs. 30 — I managed. Though I did not ultimately inherit a music school, teaching was evidently my destiny anyway. For over 50 years now, I have been teaching. I must have, by now, taught over 125 students. Several have become successful vocalists. Some are just making a living as music teachers. Some pursue other professions and enjoy music as a hobby. And, many have merged into the faceless audience of Hindustani music.
Moving to Bombay widened my horizons. Soon after I moved, Jagannath Buwa Purohit moved into our locality. I was greatly attracted to his style. So, I studied with him for about six years. In the same spirit, I studied with KG Ginde, SCR Bhat, Nivrutti Buwa Sarnaik, Master Krishnarao Phulambrikar, Mallikarjun Mansoor, and the Natyasangeet singer, Chhota Gandharva. In my childhood, I had heard Ramkrishna Buwa Vaze, and his style had made a deep impact on me. So, in my singing, you will find the glimpses of each of these stalwarts.

The philosophy of music
I am conservative, but not orthodox. I have a strong foundation laid in the Gwalior style. But, I was never a prisoner of the gharana. I sought out every musician whose style attracted me, and learnt from him what I could. Jagannath Buwa often told me that the basic requirement of music is that magical quality called “Rang” (literally: colour). As a quality in music, “Rang” transcends considerations of voice quality, grammar and communication of rasa (emotional content). Public appeal is not my yardstick for validating my music. I will not sacrifice the dignity of my art to charm audiences. I will not, for instance, make a Thumree out of a Khayal, or start singing with my body. But, an artist cannot be a mere scientist. If he wants to command an audience and also command respect, he has to strike the tricky balance between the sanctity of art and the listening pleasure of audiences. If he cannot do this, he can remain a teacher.
My recordings have been in the market for several years. I have been performing on the radio since 1946, and also broadcast two National Programmes over All India Radio. And, for a long time, nobody noticed. In the last ten years, people suddenly realised that Yashwant Buwa can also sing. Today, I have admirers not only in our home state of Maharashtra, but also in Calcutta, Delhi and a few other cities. Several institutions have bestowed honours on me for my services as a teacher and performer. At 75, I can still hold an audience for two hours. I have no regrets. But, had recognition come when I was younger, people would have heard better music from me.

The pursuit of music – then and now
Our times were tough. The status of musicians in society was low. There was no support for music either from government or from private benefactors or institutions. There was no ‘career’ in music, except for the greatest. Audiences were small. The Guru was the only source of musical inputs for students. There was radio, and there was the gramophone; but not many people could afford either. There were concerts; but mainly for invited audiences.
To begin with, finding a Guru was tough. We did not pay fees, but rendered all manner of services in lieu of training. The relationship was totally one-sided, and often oppressive. He taught the way he wanted to, and there was no appeal against it. There was no notation, no possibility of recording training sessions, no grammar, no logic. You could encounter musicians who could sing a raga very well, but go blank if you asked them the scale of the raga. Learning was primarily by reproducing what the Guru sang. From studying music, to making a career, it was struggle, struggle, and struggle. The positive aspect of this was that, because of the price they had paid for their success, the survivors conducted themselves, and practiced their art, with dignity. They treated that passage between the stage and the audiences as sacred.
The situation today is exactly the reverse. Anyone can learn music if he can afford it. Good Gurus are, of course, more scarce than they were in our times, and locating them can take a lot of trial and error. Recorded music is so accessible that it is possible to become a reasonable vocalist even without a Guru. The relationship between the Guru and his disciple is now a commercial one. A student can demand an explanation of the logic and get it. He can record training sessions for revision. Career opportunities are plenty, and the money is good for the successful. Society, government, and institutions encourage music.
Most important is the emergence of a market, with audiences willing to pay for music. For creating a substantial class of connoisseurs, we have to thank the educational efforts of the two giants, Bhatkhande and Vishnu Digambar, and their followers. Glamour and money have now made music a rat race that everyone with half a chance wants to join. The journey is still tough. But, it is a struggle, which takes the dignity of the art as its first casualty. It makes art cross the frontier between the musician and the audience to plunge into pockets. And, yes, many bright kids now get money and fame ahead of maturity, get bloated heads, stagnate, and fall by the wayside. The demands of success are changing, as they inevitably will. Despite these anxieties, I am optimistic about Hindustani music for several reasons – today’s kids are intelligent and talented, studying music is no longer difficult, and there are ample opportunities for building a career in it.
by Deepak Raja from his very interesting blog:

“Yashwantbua Joshi, now 76 ( in 2004), is one of the leading exponents of the khayal gayaki of Gwalior and Agra gharanas. Yaswantbua had extensive training in Pune from Pt. Mirashibua. Around 1950, he moved to Bombay where he came under the tutelage of Pt. Jagannathbua Purohit “Gunidas”. He was also influenced by the gayaki of stalwarts such as Gajananbua Joshi and Chhota Gandharva.
His gayaki combines the romanticism of swara with the discipline of laya, making his mehfils unparalleled in quality. He is an old-school artist at heart, preferring the Tilwada or Jhumra (not the ati-vilambit kind) for his khayals. The khayal is usually followed by multiple bandishes (or, rarely, taranas) in the same raag. The khayal presentations are full and leisurely. The badhat and the chhota khayals are peppered with a variety of taans and very sophisticated layakari. He has a huge repertoire of bandishes, from which he summons the choicest of compositions and presents them with panache. While his concerts are dominated by khayal, he also enjoys singing the occassional natyageet or bhajan.
Yashwantbua has been honoured with a number of awards, including the Maharashtra Government Gaurav Puraskar in 1993 and, most recently, the Sangeet Natak Academy Award.”
By Chetan Vinchhi (

1. Nand, Bageshri and Kanada:!/streamalbums/yashwant-bua-joshi-nand-bageshri-kanada

2. Gaud Malhar:

3. Maru Bihag:

4. Gaud Sarang Video : — Wall Photos

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Posted by on October 6, 2012 in Articles


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