Juma's Music Collection

Collection of Old and New Indian Classical, Rare Live Recordings, Qawwali, Kalams, Sufiana, & World

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Naina Devi - Thumri - The Music Of Love (Re-Up)

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Trained under Girja Shankar Chakravarty, Mushtaq Husain Khan and Rasoolan Bai, Naina Devi adopted and fostered the art of thumri singing at a time when few women from “respectable” families dared take up this art form. Thumri, one of the three major forms of Hindustani classical music, gives equal importance to musical structure and poetic text, vocal techniques and emotive content. It was traditionally performed by courtesan singers for the entertainment of elite patrons. Naina Devi, considered among the most significant names in Hindustani classical music, was also known for her contribution to institution-building, systematising the teaching and learning of the arts in independent India, and her patronage of other artists. Hers was an extraordinary life. Few people live in so many different spaces, overcoming so many obstacles, without bitterness or arrogance. Her story of how she met her first guru, Girja Shankar Chakravarty, during one of the all-night mehfils (soiree) regularly organised by her elder brother Sunit at home moved me greatly. Women were not allowed to be present, but an exception was made for the five-year-old. As Girja babu wound up at dawn with a Bhairavi thumri, he teasingly asked the wide-awake Nilina what she had liked the most. She replied, “Your Bhairavi.” He asked her to sing it and she did. Girja babu was charmed; [he] picked her up and said, “This girl will learn from me.” Interestingly, Girja babu also taught a lot of the traditional singers or baijis (courtesans) who were performers. Unconsciously, perhaps, Nilina had embarked on a journey of music – persuading her uncle to take her, secretly, to the Burra Bazaar area to meet the star performer Angurbala, or persuading her parents to let her watch a naach (dance) performance by a galaxy of tawaifs (courtesans) at a grand reception in strict purdah, in the company of the Begum of Rampur. She often spoke of how women of middle-class families were allowed to learn music but not to be present at mehfils or perform, except as amateurs. Again, while traditional women singers were strongly disapproved of because of social reform ideas and notions of constructing a perfect Indian musical form and ideal of Indian womanhood, many men used to visit them. Nilina’s journey came to an abrupt halt with her rather sudden marriage to Ripjit Singh of the Kapurthala royal family, who fell in love with her after hearing her sing during a chance visit to the city and the Sen household. She was 17 and spent the next 17 years moving amidst royalty. She did not learn music and certainly didn’t sing. Nainaji used to talk about this phase a little less or maybe I heard it less, being more interested in other things. Sudden widowhood in 1949 and a life of solitary mourning with four children ultimately made her seek out a new life. She started by singing for All India Radio under the name of Naina Devi. Source: http://www.frontlineonnet.com/

01 Thumri - Nipat Kapat Saiyan

02 Ghazal

03 Dadra - Na Tarsao Bed Dardi Saiyan

04 Ghazal - Kahene Deti Nahi Kuchch

05 Kajri - Lagi Bayeria

06 Ghazal - Jo Guzri Mujh Peh

Album: https://itunes.apple.com/ie/artist/naina-devi/id19578812

Filed under Naina Devi Thumri Ghazal The Music Of Love Vocal 11/19/2012