President Pratibha Patil, Vice-President Hamid Ansari, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar have condoled the death of classical vocalist Pandit Bhimsen Joshi on Monday, saying it has left a void in the country.

“In his passing away, the nation has lost one of the greatest and most popular classical vocalists,” said Ms. Patil, calling Pandit Joshi a “doyen of Hindustani classical music” and one of the most acclaimed exponents of Khayal Gayki of the Kirana Gharana.

Pandit Joshi was unique in preserving tradition while incorporating new ideas in his music, Mr. Ansari said. He had a tremendous influence on classical musicians, music lovers and the general public.

“He showed that music knows no linguistic or cultural barriers,” Dr. Singh said. “He enriched the Kirana Gharana through his distinctive individual style and adaptation of characteristics from other Gharanas to create a unique vocal idiom.”

Noting that Pandit Joshi had been hailed by both the critics and the masses, Ms. Kumar said: “His performances were marked by spontaneity, accurate notes and a sense of divine realisation.”

‘A celestial phenomenon'

In his condolence message, Maharashtra Governor K. Sankaranarayanan said: “Pandit Bhimsen Joshi was a celestial phenomenon to have happened to the world of Hindustani classical music. It was indeed the collective good fortune of the present generation and the recent past generations that they lived in the same era in which Pt. Bhimsen lived and sung. He was the undisputed emperor of the Hindustani classical music and of the Kirana Gharana, and the world of music will never be the same again.”

Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan said the world of music had lost the voice which took Hindustani classical music to the common man. “The voice that mesmerised the audience by its renditions is no more… Apart from the classical renditions, even the devotional songs that he sung had been immortalised…Though he is no more, his voice will remain with us for a long time. His death is a great loss to the Indian classical music,” he said.

Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar said: “The sun shining high on the horizon of the Indian classical music has now set.” Panditji's hard work to learn classical music since childhood gave his voice a magical touch. “He did not restrict himself to classical music. He wandered freely in various forms of music. We have lost a priceless gem today,” he said.

A great loss: Buddhadeb

In Kolkata, West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee expressed grief at the death of Joshi, which he said was a great loss to the teachers, performers and listeners of classical music.

In a message, he said: “I deeply mourn the sad demise of Bhimsen Gururaj Joshi today [Monday]. He was one of the great and most popular singers of Indian Classical Music of our time. I had the privilege of knowing him personally.”

Pointing out that Pandit Joshi contributed greatly to the promotion of classical music and always strived for excellence, Mr. Bhattacharjee said that although he died at an advanced age of 88, “we would continue to miss his genius in the days to come… ”