Quiz: on musicians and artistes

Decrease Font Size Increase Font Size Text Size Print This Page

BY:  Berty Ashley

  1. X was born in Mumbai on April 29, 1936, and is undoubtedly the most famous person from India in his profession. His father, a noted concert violinist, encouraged him to study music from a young age. He has worked with an illustrious line-up of international orchestras and was awarded honorary citizenship of Florence and Tel Aviv for his contribution to music. In 2013, he led the Bavarian State Orchestra at a historic concert in Kashmir. Who is this marvellous musician and what is his profession?
  2. This person was born on April 29, 1848, in Travancore. His uncle discovered some of his paintings on the walls of his house and recognised his talent. At the age of 14 he went to Travancore Palace to learn from the head painter there. In less than eight years, his work became famous that the palace opened a separate post office to receive the hundreds of letters he got every day. He later set up a press and produced thousands of copies of his work. One of his trademark practices is to represent goddesses as South Indian women. Who was the iconic artist who came into this world 170 years ago?
  3. Ustad Allah Rakha Qureshi was born on April 29, 1919, in Jammu and Kashmir. His father was a soldier turned farmer who opposed his desire to learn classical music. He ran away to Lahore to learn singing but a certain instrument caught his fancy and he went on to master it. He was responsible for popularising the instrument on a global scale. His three sons also became notable players of the instrument. What instrument is this and who are the sons?
  4. Kanakasabai Subburathinam was born on April 29, 1891. He was a prolific poet whose literary works dealt with socio-political issues. His song of invocation to goddess Tamil was adopted as the state song of Puducherry. He was conferred a Sahitya Academi award posthumously in 1970. He was a huge fan of, and was highly influenced by, Tamil poet Mahakavi Subramania Bharati. In fact, he renamed himself to highlight that fact. How better do we know Subburathinam?
  5. Madhubani art is made with fingers, twigs and sticks using natural dyes and pigments. It is characterised by eye-catching geometrical patterns and strong colours. It is named after a district in Bihar where it originated. In 2016 a multitude of women from this district were directly responsible for bringing down levels of pollution and preventing deforestation in their district. Their art exhibition stretched for five kilometres and also brought in a lot of tourism. In what beautiful way were they able to achieve this amazing feat?
  6. Pattachitra is a cloth-based scroll painting which has been produced for more than a thousand years. The name comes from the Sanskrit words ‘patta’ (cloth) and ‘chitra’. Done with natural dyes they are characterised by rich colourful application, creative motifs and designs, and portrayal of simple themes, mostly mythological in depiction. Recent scrolls also talk about HIV, terrorism, climate change and other current events. In which eastern state did this art form originate, where it is found even today?
  7. This is a bowed short-neck string instrument which is primarily used in Hindustani Classical music. It is supposed to have got its name from the fact that it is highly adaptable to many styles of vocal music. Its unique ability to reproduce gamaks (shakes) and meends (sliding movements) made it a very popular instrument and also required strenuous practice. It has three melody strings and many sympathetically vibrating strings. What is this instrument?
  8. This is a type of hand-painted or block-printed cotton textile which derives its name from the Persian word for ‘pen’ and ‘craftsmanship’. When storytellers moved from village to village, they illustrated stories from Hindu mythology using a large canvas painted on the spot with dyes extracted from plants. Since then it has spread far and wide and is now a highly sought-after style for sarees as well. What is this art form known as?
  9. This tribe in Maharashtra give their name to an art form which has been in practice since the 10th century AD. These wall paintings mainly use circles, triangles and squares which are symbolic of different elements of nature. The central motif in each painting is the square which is known as ‘chalk’. The characteristic colour combination comes from the use of white pigment made from rice and the background walls made of red brick. What is the name of the tribe and consequently the art form?
  10. The Indian Banjo has two sets of strings which run over a plate or fretboard. This is played by pressing what look like typewriter keys which depress the strings and hence change the pitch. The common name for this instrument literally means ‘Waves of Nightingales’ in Persian. But in English it refers to Passerine birds which are a different family. What strangely named instrument is this?


  1. Zubin Mehta — Conductor of the orchestra
  2. Raja Ravi Verma
  3. The Tabla — Zakir Hussain, Fazal Qureshi and Taufiq Qureshi
  4. Bharathidasan
  5. They painted the trunks of the trees.
  6. Odisha
  7. Sarangi
  8. Kalamkari
  9. Warli
  10. Bulbul Tarang

A molecular biologist from Madurai, our quizmaster enjoys trivia and music, and is working on a rock ballad called ‘Coffee is a Drink, Kaapi is an Emotion’. @bertyashley

Courtesy The Hindu

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *