Famous Musicians of India – Top Rated Musical Talent from India

When it comes to musical talent, India is second to none and produces some of the most brilliant prodigies the world has seen. While Indian music has not really been universally known, it is now coming into the mainstream as more and more people are getting exposed to Indian musicians, both new and ones from the older generation. If you wanted to know about the most famous musicians of India, we have curated a list for you to help you locate the epitome of Indian music.

Let us find out about the most famous musicians of India, not in any order.


Famous Musicians of India

Indian musical geniuses have remained some of the most prominent public figures in our country. Since we all collectively remain quite ardent music freaks along with the talent our country has to offer, it only makes sense that Indian music transcends world borders and reach the farthest corners of the globe.

From the likes of A. R. Rahman, who received an Oscar for his genius at musical composition, to Lata Mangeshkar, who we as a country are incredibly fond of. Known as the Voice of the Millennium, Lata Ji’s music remains evergreen and has voice still etched in our minds with every song she has sung.

Let us look at the other famous musicians from India.

1. Lata Mangeshkar

Lata Mangeshkar

One of the most well known personalities in the world of music, Lata Mangeshkar needs no introduction and her music has remained with the Indian people for as long as she started singing. A recipient of the highest civilian honor by India, the Bharat Ratna, and by France, the National Order of the Legion of Honour, Lata Ji had a brilliant and long-lasting career in music.

Her work in the earlier days of Bollywood, along with works in over thirty-six Indian languages and multiple foreign ones too, has been a journey for the ages. At one point, she even appeared in the Guinness World Records as the most recorded artist in history between 1948 and 1987.

The Indian playback singer and music composer is widely considered one of the best, greatest, and most influential singers in our country. Her contributions to Indian music spans 8 decades and has even granted her the titles of “The Queen of Melody”, “Nightingale of India”, and of course, “Voice of the Millennium.

2. A. R. Rahman

A. R. Rahman

If you know anything about Indian music, you probably have heard of A. R. Rahman. If you haven’t heard of him, maybe broaden your music horizons and finally bask in the genius that is this Indian singer, songwriter, and composer. Rahman is the recipient of an Oscar for his work on Slumdog Millionaire, along with countless other awards, including two Grammys, a BAFTA, a Golden Globe, and over 30 Filmfare awards.

He is a Padma Bhushan, and has even done a rendering of Jana Gana Mana, India’s National Anthem. His career began in the early 1990’s and since turned into a global permeation. On top of all this, Rahman is a known philanthropist, and frequently donates to a number of causes and charities. He holds an honorary doctorate from Berklee College of Music and another from Aligarh Muslim University.

With one of the biggest careers in music amongst in Indian music industry, Rahman’s talents at music are apparent with every piece he does. For anyone looking for a quick relaxing time, listen to his performance in the Berklee College of Music.

3. R. D. Burman

rd burman

Known as the “Music Scientist”, and the “King of Bollywood Music”, R. D. Burman is arguably one of the biggest names in the Indian music scene. People who grew up with his music, along with the younger generation that is exposed to his genius, are all mesmerized by what he brought to the table.

Burman is known for his eccentric style of music which incorporated a wide range of influences from different genres. From mixing disco and rock elements with regional music, to making electronic rock popular, Burman was truly a magic man. His influences from Western, Latin, Oriental, and Arabic music proved to be a highly successful fusion and one the Indian public absolutely loved.

From using beer bottles to bring out the brilliance of the song “Mehbooba Mehbooba”, and using cups and saucers for the song “Chura Liya Hai”, really shows how incredibly talented and innovative Burman really was.

4. Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma

pandit shivkumar sharma

If you know anything about Indian classical music, Pandit Shivkumar Sharma is one of the biggest names to grace the industry. One of the most celebrated santoor players in the world, his work on stage, and in many Indian films have made him a household name amongst those that enjoy his works.

He was awarded the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award and the Padma Shri along with the Padma Bushan for his contributions to the Indian classical music scene. He is also credited with introducing the santoor as a popular Indian instrument. He has even collaborated with Zakir Hussain and Hariprasad Chaurasia. Later in life, his work on the concept album “Call of the Valley”, turned out to be one of the most acclaimed Indian classical music hits.

5. Pandit Ravi Shankar

Pandit Ravi Shankar

Pandit Ravi Shankar KBE, was an Indian sitarist and composer. One of the most talented and exceptionally gifted when it came to the sitar, Ravi Shankar became a world renowned sitar player, influencing many musicians in India and abroad. He has been awarded the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian honor.

During his youth, he toured India and Europe as a dancer, but gave it up to focus on the sitar under court musician Allauddin Khan. He worked as a composer after that and even became the music director of All India Radio, New Delhi. He can be attributed to bringing the sitar and the charm of Indian classical music to Europe and America.

Ravi Shankar had an association with Beatles guitarist George Harrison and this helped popularize the use of Indian classical music for Western pop. Since then, he has engaged in several musical compositions for sitar and orchestra and has toured the world multiple times spreading the reach of Indian classical music even further. He was also married to Annapurna Devi, who is mentioned later on this list.

Also read: Best Female Singer in India

6. Ramtanu Pande (Tansen)

Ramtanu Pande Tansen

Perhaps one of the most known names when it comes to Indian classical music, Tansen was hugely prominent in what was earlier called the Hindustani classical music. While back then, there were no records, and compositions were primarily for the court, Tansen’s musical abilities has never been forgotten and makes him one of the most widely known Indian musicians of all time.

He is probably most well known for being one of the Navaratnas from Akbar’s court and has been glorified as not just a musical genius, but also as what Akbar used to call him, “Mian”, which means, a learned man.

There have been numerous writings about Tansen, whose real name was actually Ramtanu Pande. His improvisation on Indian musical instruments makes him one of the most influential musical personalities in the traditional classical scene.

7. Hariprasad Chaurasia

Hariprasad Chaurasia

If there is a flute virtuoso the world knows about, it is Hariprasad Chaurasia. One of the most well known composers and performers from India, he has received tutelage from Bolanath Prasanna of Varanasi, and later from Annapurna Devi, daughter of Baba Allaudin Khan.

Chaurasia even collaborated with Shivkumar Sharma, forming a group called Shiv-Hari. The pair worked for a long time and composed music for many popular movies of the era. He even collaborated with several western musicians, and even played on The Beatles 1969 B-side “The Inner Light”, which was written by George Harrison.

8. Ustad Zakir Hussain

Ustad Zakir Hussain

If there are any known tabla players worldwide, it is Ustad Zakir Hussain. He is one of the biggest names from the Indian musical industry. The tabla player, composer, percussionist, music producer, and film actor, has been awarded multiple awards, including the Padma Bushan, Sangeet Natak Akademi Award, and even the National Endowment for the Arts’ National Heritage Fellowship, the highest award given to traditional artists and musicians by the United States.

Hussain’s music can only be described as brilliant and innovative. He played on George Harrisons’ 1973 album Living in the Material World, and performed on Van Morrison’s 1979 album Into the Music and Earth, Wind & Fire’s 1983 album called Powerlight.

One of the most well known tabla players in the world, Hussain has been invited by multiple international artists to perform on their albums. He won the Grammy Award for the Best Contemporary World Music Album. He has also bagged tons of other notable awards in film and music festivals, and he also serves as the founding member of Bill Laswell’s “World Music Supergroup”.

9. Annapurna Devi

Annapurna Devi

The reclusive Annapurna Devi is a highly acclaimed surbahar player of Hindustani Classical Music. Surbahar is a type of bass sitar, more commonly used in older Indian Classical music. She is the daughter and disciple of Allauddin Khan, the founder of Maihar Gharana. She herself has had tons of notable disciples, including Hariprasad Chaurasia, Nityanand Haldipur and Nikhil Banerjee.

She is one of the most notable sarbahar players and is very well versed in the techniques and intricacies of Indian Classical Music. She was also once married to Shri Ravi Shankar, mentioned previously on this list.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Who is India’s most popular musician?

If you are talking about the modern times, there are a lot of singer/songwriters that have become incredibly famous given their fan base. However, when it comes to popularity, A. R. Rahman, and the likes of Lata Mangeshkar and R. D. Burman are common household names all Indians probably know about and heard their songs.

Which is the most famous music in India?

In the current times, modern Bollywood has effectively taken over as the music of the people. For musical connoisseurs however, the noble tunes of the Golden Age of Bollywood, Carnatic Classical Music, and Hindustani Classical Music stands in high regard.

What is Indian Classical Music?

The classical music from the Indian subcontinent is separated in two, Carnatic Classical from the South, and Northern classical known as Hindustani Classical Music. Their roots are found in Vedic literature and the ancient Natyashastra, the classic text on performing arts. Indian Classical music has two parts mainly, raga and tala. While raga can be loosely translated into tones, tala is more close to time signatures in their counterpart in the western music.


Conclusion

When it comes to Indian music, there is a variety of genres to listen to. That said, most of the Indian musical scene has not been able to leave the country. This is changing slowly and more and more people abroad have taken up listening to Indian music, be it Bollywood, or folk, or the classical kind we are most known for. If you were wondering who the most famous musicians in India are, here is a list of the most well-known ones worldwide.


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Written By Awijit

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