BISHAN DASS Rikhi Ram
Late Pandit Bishan Dass Sharma followed footsteps of his father and started learning art of instruments making from his father/Guru , Pandit Rikhi Ram ji. Became pioneer of this art and served world maestro to be rewarded for his services with Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in the year 1998.He was disciple of renowned sitar maestro Pandit. Ravi Shankarji , who taught him sitar and showed his style of playing to brighten his skill for making his model of instruments. He also served at the All India Radio, Delhi as special musical instruments care taker / maintenance in charge in the year 1957, where he got associated with great musicians like Ustad Allauddin Khan, Ustad Hafiz.Ali Khan, Ustad Vilayat Khan and others. His close association with them made him learn primal value of a good instrument lies in its tonal quality. It was often discussed of compatibility, sustain, volume and looks of instruments which would give him useful hints for betterment of this fine art. He would say, “This extra interest fired my imagination and aroused in me the urge to produce quality instruments for the maestros” and “to be a master craftsman one should have thorough knowledge of music, so as to understand sound, tonal quality and all other nuances of instruments”. He believed, it is a rare blend of artistry of musician and skill of a craftsman.
“The Beatles’ in the year 1966 visited ‘Rikhi Ram Store” on their sojourn tour to India. Bishan Dass gave George Harrison his first introduction to sitar also taught him basics of sitar like posture and hand positioning & tuning of sitar. Later no, George learnt with Pandit Ravi Shankar ji.
Late Pandit Bishan Dass worked like an ‘institute’, where he always experimented with acoustics of the instrument. Each instrument he would carry a rigorous check up for quality of tone, functioning, operational ease, will only finish when perfection is achieved. Bishan Dass went on with his mastery to create new innovations like Transistorized sitar, Tambouri, Swarsangam, Rikhi Veena, Pushpa Veena and Vishwa Veena
Sanjay Rikhi Ram Sharma
Sanjay Sharma is third generation of the world famous iconic Indian Classical Musical Instruments Maker family from India “Rikhi Ram”, acclaimed as luthier “par excellence” by top maestros of the world. Also termed as the finest Indian/Western Musical Instruments Maker, Designer and Innovator. He is the torch bearer of the unbroken family trail to take on the hallowed tradition bequeathed by his grandfather the late Pandit Rikhi Ram Sharma and his father the late Pandit Bishan Dass Sharma.
Sanjay also learnt playing Tabla (Indian drums) at the age of 7 years old from Late Pandit Moti Lal Sharma, Late Pandit Radhey Shyam Sharma, Late Ustad Bandu Khan and Late Ustad Lateef Ahmed Khan. Sanjay also received adequate training in Hindustani Vocals and Sitar from prominent maestros of India. Hehad performed for Delhi Doordarshan, AIR, New Delhi, Sangeet Natak Akademi, New Delhi and many institutions & organizations in India and abroad.
Sanjay has custom designed musical instruments for most leading maestros of India Music globally. Such as, Late Ptandit Ravi Shankar, Late Ustad Vilayat Khan, Late Ustad Ali Akbar Khan, Late Ustad Rais Khan, Pandit Ram Narayan, Late Pandit Gopal Krishan Sharma, Late Pandit Kishan Maharaj, Late Dr, Sharan Rani Backliwal, Ustad Amjad Ali Khan, Pandit Jasraj, Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma, Ustad Zakir Hussain, Pt Rajan-Sajan Mishra, Ptandit Vishwa Mohan Bhatt, Dr. L. Subhramanium, Ustad Shahid Parvez Khan, Pandit Bhajan Sopori to name few of Hindustani Music. Dr. R. Vedavalli, Dr. T.M. Krishna, Shri Ravi Kiran, Bombay Jaishree, Malladi Bros., Sikkil Sisters, Shri Shashank Subhramanium, Flute Raman, Dr T K Murty, Dr. Vikku Vinayakram to name few of Karnatak Music. Famous Beatles, Harbie Hancock, Brain Adams, George Brooks and many more from Western Music have performed on his crafted instruments.
To take this fine tradition globally, he has set up a unit in New York for providing customer support to the western world by hosting Lec-Dem/repair workshops regularly in various cities to facilitate best service at their door steps, where one might not have ever or rarely visited India for their instruments related repair work and purchase of highest quality of instruments.
He is the founder- President of “Sanjay Rikhi Ram Vadya Parampara (Regd.)”, New Delhi (an Institution to promote and propagate ancient and modern instruments of Indian Music).
Learned technical & practical aspects of crafting Musical Instrument under strict guidance of father /Guru Late Pandit Bishan Dass Sharma from the young age of 15.
- Scholarship holder from Sahitya Kala Parishad, New Delhi for Tabla.
- Assisted many maestros in live concert, such as, Pt. Ravi Shankar, Pt. Jasraj, Ustad Ali Akbar Khan and many more in India & abroad.
- Conducted Lec-Dems on Musical Instruments making for;
Asian Music Circuit( London), Cite De La Musique(Paris), Vadya Darshan(Sangeet Natak Akademi, Delhi), Mac Masters University(Hamilton, Canada), Ali Akbar College of Music(San Rafael, CA, USA), Mowak College(Hamilton, Canada), Opera House(Cairo, Egypt), Om Music Circle(San Jose, USA), Raga Music School(Hamilton, Canada), Ustad Vilayat Khan Foundation(Princeton, NJ, USA), American School (New Delhi), Madhuban Dhaam(Texas, USA), University of Texas at Austin(USA), Pandit Jasraj Gurukul/School(New Jersey, USA) and many more.
- Documentaries and Interviews for international broadcasting channels like Discovery Channel, BBC, Arte Channel(France), Japan TV, Nile TV(Egypt), Delhi Doordarshan, NDTV and many more.
- His shop “Rikhi Ram’s Music” was official store for shopping Musical Instruments in Delhi Commonwealth Games 2010.
- Press releases in Times of India, India Today, Indian Express, First City Magazine, Dainik Bhaskar, Open Magazine, The Sunday Indian, Metro Now and many more.
-Titled as “Melody Maker” by India Today magazine special issue “50 Pioneers of Change” 2008.
- Titled as “Best Music Shop” by India Today Magazine 29 Sep, 2014.
- Designed/Created new innovations like Studio Sitar(flat wooden) for Pandit Ravi Shankar)
- Microphonic Sitar (traditional sitar with built in microphone) for Anoushka Shankar
- Nav Chitra Veena (for Shri. Ravi Kiran)
- Tambouri (flat wooden) for Pandit Jasraj ji
- Electronic Tabla(built in microphone) for Karsh Kale, Vijay Ghate, Hafeez Ahmed Alvi, Vishal Nagar
- Electric Santoor(built in microphone) for Rahul Sharma
- Lalita Veena( Indian violin ) for Dr L R Vishwanath Ramesh
- Studio Veena (small size Vichitra Veena) for Dr Radhika, Mumbai
- Erod (Electric Sarod) for Amaan Ali Khan
- rikEsitar and Zitar (Electric Sitar) for Fusion musicians
- Sri Veena(Indian slide Guitar)
- Suroleen (combination of Sarod & Mandolin) and many more.
In the field of research and development, Sanjay had formulated a new synthetic material for making bridges of many Indian Instruments as replacement of Ivory/Deer Horn, which was widely/exclusively used by Pandit Ravi Shankar, Ustad Vilayat Khan, Ustad Rais Khan and many more. Also making Santoor bridges from same material is again a great find. Experimented on different woods like Burmese Teakwood, Spruce, Maple wood, Walnut, Mulberry, Cedar and many more for the purpose of enhancing sound and tone of instruments. US authorities has titled him as “Individual of Extraordinary ability”!!
Awards and Honors
- Rashtriya Udyog Ratna Award 2011, Mumbai
- Quality Brands 2011-13, Mumbai
- 12th Bhagirathi Samman 2011, New Delhi
- Rajiv Gandhi Achievers Award 2014, New Delhi
- Manohar Mulay Memorial Award 2014, Mumbai