Though many musicologists believe to have originated much earlier and one of the oldest schools of Indian Classical Music originated probably in the late eighteenth century, yet primarily shot into fame from the North Indian Town of Kirana -in Haryana, near Kurukshetra, birthplace of Ustad Abdul Karim Khan (1872-1937).
Founder & Genealogy:
Though Ustad Bande Ali Khan is said to be the source of the Kirana elegance, yet it was Ustad Abdul Karim Khan who can be termed as the founder of its modern day style. The gharana"s ancestors go back to many generations before him, the most notable predecessor being the legendary Beenkar Ustad Bande Ali Khan and Rehman Baksh Khan (the grandfather of Faiyaz-Niaz Ahmed Khans). Essentially they were vocalists and Beenkars, but after Bande Ali Khan, the successors took to sarangi and vocal including Abdul Karim Khansaheb. Meanwhile, Abdul Karim Khansaheb's descendants were his daughters Hirabai Badodekar and Saraswati Rane and son Sureshbabu Mane all three having trained under Wahid Khan. Another brilliant singer was Roshanara Begum who died recently in Karachi and had learnt from both Karim Khan and Wahid Khan. Ustad Abdul Karim Khan, founded a school in Dharwar, Karnataka : Bhimsen Joshi, Gangubai Hangal and Kumar Gandharwa all came from that school.
Another notable feature of this gharana is that it is one of the few that includes the "thumri" (a light classical vocal form) as part of its khayal performance. However the Kirana Thumri is different from the 'purabi' (north Indian) style of the thumri, as it does not use the concept of 'laggi' or doubling of the tempo, in course of the thumri. Purists therefore feel that the Kirana Thumri lacks the lilt and emotive appeal of the north Indian thumri as it lays relatively less emphasis on laya.
The Peerless & Illustrious:
Ustad Wahid Khan, Abdul Karim Khan, Hirabai Barodekar, Dr. Gangubai Hangal, Sarwaswati Rane, Bhimsen Joshi, Vasantrao Deshpande, Basavaraj Rajguru, Pandit Channulal Mishra, Sawai Gandharva ,Roshanara Begum, Prabha Atre, Phiroz Dastur are some of the great exponents of this gayaki.
Rasiklal Andharia, Saraswati Rane, Jitendra Abhisheki and Nachiketa Sharma, Child prodigy Arshad Ali.
Anecdotes and Comments:
Presence of this gharana noticable in the Deccan plains of Maharashtra and Karnataka, as Abdul Karim Khansaheb migrated as a young musician to Baroda, from where he moved to Mysore.