Darbhanga Tradition

Darbhanga Tradition, also known as Darbhanga Mallick Tradition after the Mallick family or DarbhangaAmta tradition after the name of the village where the family settled is one of the major traditionsof Dhrupad in India. It is marked by the characteristics of Gauhar or Shuddha Vani and Khandar Vani.

The founders of this tradition were two brothers named Radha Krishna and Karta Ram who learnt fromBhupat Khan ‘Maharang’ in the court of Nawab of Awadh Shuja-ud-Daula during 17 th century. Maharangbelonged to the maternal side of family line of legendary Tansen who is considered to be theoriginator of Shuddha Vani, thus Darbhanga tradition has its adherence to Senia lineage and Shuddhavani.

Later, the exponents of nearly 300 years old Darbhanga tradition were appointed as musicians in theroyal court of king of Darbhanga in north Bihar. Most recently, Pandit Kshitipal Mallick followed by(Padmashree) Pandit Ram Chatur Mallick were the court musicians (darbari gayak) until India became asovereign nation. Among other prominent vocalists from this tradition, Pandit Siyaram Tiwari, PanditAbhay Narayan Mallick, Pandit Vidur Mallick and Pandit Ramashish Pathak (Pakhawaj) are noteworthy.In addition to being exceptional dhrupadiyas, all the above mentioned vocalists were adept atsinging khayal, thumri and bhajans too, particularly Vidyapati geet, which justifies the unique‘Choumukhi’ tag used to describe their musicianship.