Indra Kishore Mishra

Born in 1956, Pt. Indra Kishore Mishra (Mullick) belongs to a family of court musicians in the Bettiah Raj. He traces his musical and genealogical lineage to musicians from Kurukshetra who migrated via Shah Jahan’s Delhi Darbar to the Bettiah court in the 17th century. Initiated into music by his grandfather, the pre-eminent Dhrupad singer and composer Pt. Shyama Prasad Mullick, Indra Kishore’s primary guru was his father, Pt. Mahant Mishra (Mullick).

Coming from a long tradition of active Vaggyekaras and musicians, Indra Kishore Mishra’s mastery over raga is founded on a large repertoire of Dhrupad compositions in Gaudhar Bani and Khandar Bani, as well as Swaramalika, Chaturang and Dhamar. In addition to writing their own padas, his family were tunesmiths for the prolific composer-kings of Bettiah, Anand Kishore Singh and Naval Kishore Singh, as well as Rajendra Kishore Singh. Indra Kishore Mishra’s repertoire contains a proportionately large number of compositions of the Maharajas of Bettiah.

Indra Kishore Mishra’s training in the Gaudhar Bani and Khandar Bani are integral to his conception of Dhrupad gayaki. His Gaudhar Bani compositions are characterized by sruti-laden gayaki, long unbroken meends, and impeccable voice production facilitated by breath control. His renditions of Khandar Bani employ forceful gamak while maintaining the integrity of swara and pada, Notably, he resists the pressures of standardization and remains faithful to his tradition in his rendering of raga and Dhrupad.

Indra Kishore Mishra is the recipient of many awards including the Champaran Ratna, Bihar Ratna from Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, Sur Mani (Mumbai), and Sangeet Sadhak (Patna). His music is regularly featured at prestigious Dhrupad Conferences such as the Varanasi Dhrupad Mela, Brindavan Dhrupad Mela, the Bairam Khan Smrti Sammaroh in Jaipur and the annual Dagar Dhrupad festival in Mumbai. He has performed at the Gwalior Tansen Sangeet Samaraoh, Vishnupur Gharana festival in Kolkata, programs organized by the Jaipur international Dhrupad committee, Spic-Macay, Delhi, and the Bihar Sangit Natak Akademi in Patna. The international recording companies India Archive Music and Makar Records have recorded his music. His music has been aired in international radio channels such as WNYC, and CDs distributed in four countries, with liner notes in multiple languages.

Indra Kishore Mishra strives against great odds to maintain and propagate his musical tradition under grave socio-economic conditions. Championed by Padmashri Gajendra Narayan Singh, the Sangit Natak Akademi, New Delhi, has awarded student scholarships since 2006 to support the perpetuation of Pandit Mishra’s rich Dhrupad tradition.