Romantic mystical classical music festival in Delhi

New Delhi: Thumri, a lilting form of light classical music associated with romantic mysticism or the love of God and later performed in the royal courts of Lucknow is set to regale audiences in the national capital.

The Sahitya Kala Parishad is presenting a three-day Thumri Festival, dedicated to love, nature and the divine, at Kamani Auditorium, from August 26.

Artists Suranjana and Shubra Guha, Anjana Nath and Purnima Chaudhuri as well as Kakali Mukherjee are set to perform at the festival to be inaugurated by Chief Minister Shiela Dikshit.

Veteran thumri performer Girija Devi, described as the reigning queen of thumri would be the highlight of the festival and expected to perform on the closing day.

"Music has no religion or borders and I teach students from all over the world. Even mothers and grandmothers too come to learn from me. We believe in all religions, we sing for all gods and goddesses," says Girija Devi who has been awarded the Padma Shri and the Padma Bhushan and has been singing classical and light classical for over 50 years.

The Varanasi-born musician sings in the Benaras gharana and performs in the typical `purabi ang thumri` style typical of the tradition she has helped to elevate.

Comining her classical training with the regional characteristics of songs of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, her repertoire includes the semi-classical genres kajri, chaiti and holi and she sings khayal, Indian folk music and tappa.

Originally an expression of the love for Lord Krishna sung mostly by women, the thumri now has songs for every season namely Dadra, Chaiti, Hori, Kajari, Saavan and Jhoola among others.

Practicing thumri musicians say other classical music forms such as khayaal, dhrupad and taraana have drawn away most pupils of the musical heritage that was initiated by Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan.

Anjana Nath who began singing from her early childhood received her training from Meera Banerjee, who is regarded among the disciples of Khan.

Nath will be joined by Purnima Chaudhuri who has rendered her voice for the film "Meeting a Mile Stone" on Ustad Bismilla Khan, produced by NFDC as well as other films such as "Choker Bali".

"In thumri words are important but the emphasis is more on emotions and expressions that can stir your soul. We use a lot of poetry in ghazals there is a lot of couplets in thumri," says Chaudhuri who is a top grade artist with All India Radio and Doordarshan.

Subhra Guha an exponent of the Agra Gharana who juxtaposes her feminine charm with masculine grandeur inherent of the Gharanai would open the festival.

Kakali Mukherjee an emerging star in the world of thumri would also be featured in the festival.


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