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Year Ender |  05 Jan 2010 13:42 |  By chiragsutar

Rewind '09 - Music losses of 2009

MUMBAI: The music world saw an upheaval as some of the important names in the world of music bid good bye to us. As far as international music goes, one of the foremost names is Michael Jackson who passed away in June. Another stellar name of the pop music world, Stephen Gately of Boyzone bid adieu. The world of Indian classical music faced its biggest blow as two prominent names - Ustad Akbar Ali Khan and Gangubai Hangal, breathed their last. The world of rock music also faced a blow as guitar innovator Les Paul passed away of pneumonia complications and Lynryd Skynryd keyboardist Billy Powell suffered a heart attack in January 2009. The biggest shock to the Indian independent music came when Indian Ocean percussionist Asheem Chakravarthy breathed his last a few days ago. This year the world of music lost some pillars, icons and inventors  A quick recap...

Pop icon Michael Jackson

The legendary king of pop passed away on 25 June 2009 at his home in Los Angeles. This was the biggest blow to the global music industry, coming as it did  amid  times when he was planning his comeback tour. Jackson was pronounced dead after arriving at UCLA Medical Centre in full cardiac arrest.

Born in 1958, Jackson made his musical debut with four of his older brothers in the Jackson Five before embarking on a solo career. His 1982 album Thriller - which included the hits Beat It, Billie Jean and Thriller - is still the best-selling album of all time, with more than 26 million copies sold. His lifetime sales tally is estimated at 750 million dollars.

Sarod maestro Ustad Ali Akbar Khan

Sarod maestro Ustad Ali Akbar Khan passed away in San Francisco in the US after a prolonged kidney ailment on 18 June 2009. He was 88 

A recipient of the Padma Bhushan and Padma Vibhushan, Khan was a colossus in the world of Indian classical music for the last five decades  One of the most accomplished of Indian musicians in the Classical tradition, Ustad Ali Akbar Khan has been designated a 'Living National Treasure' in India - not to mention the fact that he is the object of much admiration in the rest of the world for his absolute mastery of the 25-stringed sarod. He was also hailed by violinist Yehudi Menuhin as 'the greatest musician in the world'.

Khan had been ailing for over four years and his condition had deteriorated in the last four months of 2009. Ali Akbar Khan is said to have cut a long player record of Indian classical music in the US and to give a sarod recital on American TV. He was also the first Indian musician to receive the MacArthur Foundation Fellowship in 1991 and was nominated for Grammy Awards five times between 1970 to 1998 

Boyzone singer Stephen Gately

A singer from the popular Irish boy band Boyzone passed away on 10 October 2009. He was 33. Gately was with his partner Andrew Cowles in Spain when he passed away 

Though the exact cause of his death was not clear, according to news reports, the singer is believed to have died of natural causes. Gately made headlines a decade ago when he revealed his sexual orientation to a British newspaper and came out as a gay. Boyzone was a UK hit maker in the 1990s but went into oblivion as the band split.

Known for their chart topping singles like the Beegees' cover version of 'Words', Boyzone was considered as one of the biggest acts to come out of Ireland  in the 90s. The group sold millions of records during their peak  The band had announced a comeback tour at the end of last year.

Gangubai Hangal

Hindustani classical music doyen Gangubai Hangal died in Karnataka's Hubli town early Tuesday morning following cardiac and respiratory problems. She was 97. Hangal passed on 21 July at 7.10 am at the Lifeline Emergency Care Centre in Hubli. Hangal was  undergoing treatment at a private hospital for chest congestion and was shifted to a super speciality hospital after she developed breathing problems 

Born on 5 March 1913, Gangubai Hangal was an Indian classical singer of the Kirana Gharana. She studied under Sawai Gandharva. Among the honours that came her way were the Padma Vibhushan in 2002, the Padma Bhushan in 1971, the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 1973 and the Karnataka Sangeet Nritya Academy Award, 1962. Her autobiography is titled Nanna Badukina Haadu (The Song Of My Life).

Lynyrd Skynryd keyboardist Billy Powell

Billy Powell, the long time keyboardist for the Lynyrd Skynyrd band, and survivor of the horrific 1977 plane crash, died at his home in Orange Park, Florida, of a suspected heart attack on 28 January 2009. The legendary musician was 59, and is survived by his four children and wife Ellen Vera Powell.

Billy's interest in music began to grow and he started piano lessons from a local teacher, he was a natural and could also play by ear. While at Bishop Kenny High, he met and became close friends with Leon Wilkeson, the future bassist for Lynyrd Skynyrd. After school, Billy enrolled briefly in college, majoring in Music Theory, after which he he worked as a roadie for Lynyrd Skynyrd, until 1971 when he became a full member as their keyboard player, the only keyboardist ever to play with the band and played with them throughout its history until his death.

Lyricist Gulshan Bawra �Madman'

Renowned veteran lyricist Gulshan Bawra passed away at his Bandra Pali Hill home in Mumbai on 7 August 2009.
The 70 year old lyricist had penned popular yesteryear Hindi film songs like â€?Mere desh ki dharti', 'Khullam khulla pyar karenge', 'Yaari hai imaan mera' and many others and was suffering from a prolonged illness. Gulshan was originally Gulshan Mehta and was named Bawra (madman) by film distributor Shantibhai Patel due to his fetish for wearing colourful shirts. The industry later referred to him as â€?Gulshan Bawra'  

His first break came with the film Chandrasena in 1959, when he wrote lyrics that were tuned by Kalyanji of composer Kalyanji-Anandji duo  He wrote the song 'Main Kya Jaanu Kahaan' sung by Lata Mangeshkar. However, his real break came with the film Satta Bazar when he again teamed up with Kalyanji-Anandji. For this film, he delivered hit numbers like 'Chaandi Ke Chand Tukado Ke Liye', 'Aakde Kaa Dhanda', and 'Tumhe Yad Hoga Kabhi Hum Mile The'. Bawra, started his career with Indian Railways, and was also on the board of The Indian Performing Right Society (IPRS), for the past seven years and held the position of director till his death. Bawra was selective and had penned only 250 songs in a career spanning 49 years. Hailing from Pakistan, Bawra moved to India after the Partition, after his parents were killed in the riots. Bawra started writing poetry at the age of six.

Guitar legend Les Paul

Musician, inventor pioneer and guitar virtuoso, Les Paul, the man who made rock and roll possible, passed away on 13 August 2009. He was 94. Paul died from complications of pneumonia at White Plains Hospital in White Plains, New York. He is considered one of the most important figures in the development of the electric guitar and studio recording techniques. His dissatisfaction with the sound of the guitars he played, urged him to design his own solid-bodied instrument which he had made at his own expense now popularly known as the Les Paul.

Indian Ocean percussionist Asheem Chakravarty

Asheem Chakravarty, the singer-percussionist of India's leading rock band Indian Ocean succumbed to a heart attack on 25 December 2009. He was 50.

Asheem had suffered a heart attack on October 14 at the Doha airport while the band was en route from their US tour. It was reported that he condition was improving since then. However, his sudden demise on Christmas afternoon shocked friends and fans all over the world.

Sitarist and composer Bhaskar Chandavarkar

Sitarist and noted composer Bhaskar Mangesh Chandavarkar died at a private hospital in Pune on Saturday night on 25 June, 2009. He was 73. Chandavarkar, who was diagnosed with cancer two years ago, had revolutionalised Marathi music to a great extent and is known for his work in songs like Kunachya Khandyavar Kunache Oze, Sakhya Re Ghayal Me Harini and Ushakkaal Hota Hota.

Born on 16 March 1936, Chandavarkar,completed his graduation from Wadia College and studied contemporary music. He began training in classical music under Pandit Ravi Shankar in the late 1950s.

Chandavarkar was also active in forming the national cultural policy with the Union HRD department, will be remembered as an intellectual with a vision. He also headed the Film and Television Institute of India's music department from 1967 for 15 years. After 1982, he began working as a freelance composer and travelled across the US and Europe for concerts  He recently shot 39 episodes on history and development of Indian musical instruments for All India Radio.

Rabindra sangeet exponent Gita Ghatak

Exponent of Tagore songs, Gita Ghatak played a leading role in Ritwik Ghatak's award-winning film 'Meghe Dhaka Tara'. She died after a protracted illness on November 16 2009. She was 78.

Her song, Meghe Dhaka Tara was ranked number 231 on the Sight & Sound critics' and directors' poll for all-time greatest films. Gita, who had her primary lessons in Tagore songs from celebrated artists like Santidev Ghosh and Indira Debi Choudhurani, had a brief stint in Indian classical music in her long 65 years of music career. She was closely associated with the All India Radio, Kolkata

Kannada composer C Ashwath

Prominent Kannada composer C Ashwath, who was known for his Bhavageete and Janapada Geete in the Kannada language is no more  He was suffering from liver and kidney failure. Ironically, the veteran composer passed of on his birthday December 29. He was 71.

Born in 1939, Ashwath was extremely popular in Karnataka and among Kannadigas all over the world. He graduated in Science from Bangalore University and later worked in Indian Telephone Industries for 27 years before retiring as an Executive Engineer in 1992. He started his musical career as a disciple of Devagiri Shankararao Joshi in Hindustani Music.

Ashwath had composed music for films too. Some of his notable compositions include the composition of music for Mysooru Mallige - a classic work of noted poet K S Narasimhaswamy and his compositions of Kannada saint Santa Shishunala Sharifa's works. He has also composed music for a very popular movie 'Matha daana' along with another popular music director V Manohar.

Opus owner Gina Braganza

In a shocking incident, Bangalore based Opus bar and restaurant owner Gina Braganza died in the wee hours of 4 October 2009 after an accidental fall from her fourth floor terrace apartment.

With a vision to provide a platform for independent musicians, the 39 year old restaurateur started Opus in Bangalore in December 2004. Early this year, she acquired Buddha Creek and named it as Opus in the Creek; she also acquired Soul in Pune and named it Opus Pune. She had dreamt of starting 100 branches of Opus in the country, in the next one year. Recently, she had organized â€?Opus Osho', a 10-day promotional programme in New Delhi. She successfully conducted such shows in Hyderabad, Goa and Delhi. Creating an extension of her brand Opus, Gina also launched her own online radio station, myopusradio.com last year to play international music 

Police sources said over 20 people were present at the party at her apartment in Kensington road, Ulsoor. Around 2 am, Gina having consumed alcohol had climbed a fibre canopy between the apartment buildings. The canopy crumbled under her weight and she crashed to the ground and died on the spot. Ulsoor police rushed to the spot and registered a case of unnatural death.