City revel in the flavour of thumri

City revel in the flavour of thumri

City revel in the flavour of thumri

Legendry artistes of different gharanas came under one roof and presented some of the finest performances at Indian Council for Cultural Relations’ (ICCR) seventh edition of Thumri Festival at Kamani Auditorium.

Thumri stalwarts such as Pt Birju Maharaj (kathak) and Hindustani vocalists like Vidushi Girija Devi, Uma Sharma, Ustad Mazhar Ali Khan, Pt Ajoy Chakravorty and  Ustad Jawaad Ali Khan along with young artistes from Patiala, Banaras and Lucknow gharanas showed their genius with their musical strokes to create a musical tapestry.

The three-day festival began with the performance of  Purnima Chaudhury of Banaras gharana and a disciple of Pt Mahadev Mishra presented kajri and some compositions of her guru Savita Devi.

Her performance was followed by Vidushi Girija Devi’s composition. The most celebrated Banaras thumri artiste and a living legend gave a memorable performance and sang rare thumris from the heartland of Banaras thereby creating a magical spell.

Thumri is derived from the Hindi word thum representing the music emanating from anklets and thumak the graceful stamping of the foot. Thumri was originally referred to as a raga rather than a genre. It developed under the patronage of the landlords of Lucknow and the other in Banaras and Gaya.

The language is usually Braj, spoken in Uttar Pradesh and associated with the legends of Krishna.The second day was devoted to the Patiala gharana and kicked off with Mazhar Ali Khan and Jawaad Ali Khan belting out the popular thumris of Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan Sahib.

Young artist Kaushiki Chakravorty, daughter and disciple of Pt Ajoy Chakravorty was an utter delight as she sang her father’s thumri compositions and won the hearts of the audience.

The third and last day of the festival commenced with the recital of Dr Kumud Diwan, a well-known young Banaras Gharana thumri artiste but she presented the Gaya school of thumris based on her extensive research.

After almost three decades, Uma Sharma and Pt Birju Maharaj, both disciples of Pt Shambhu Maharaj of the Lucknow gharana came together on a stage like this. They presented solos one after the other and regaled the audience with their abhinav and bhav.

Uma Sharma presented compositions of Lucknow kathak as a tribute to her guru. Her abinay bhav was mesmerising and it was a treat to see her on stage emoting the nayika and her varied moods. She presented rare poetry of poet Senapati, Amanat Ali of Lucknow and Surdas.

The festival has a grand culminated as Pt Birju Maharaj sang incredible compositions of thumri of the wizard Pt Bindadeen Maharaj and showed the bhav while singing. His amazing layakari as he tweaked the thumris to incorporate the technical aspects of kathak dance was that of a seasoned and a past master in the art.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr Suresh K Goel, Director General ICCR, said, “The tradition which started in Delhi has travelled to Lucknow and from there to Banaras, Gaya and Kolkata developing into three major gharanas. I hope that the melody of thumri and the difference of nuances among different gharanas will provide further impetus to its development in years to come.”

First ICCR Thumri Festival was organised in 2005 with the objective to enhance awareness of this prominent Indian music tradition for the international community and music connoisseurs in Delhi.

Over the years, various other organisations have begun to organise thumri festivals indicating both the popularity of this genre of Indian singing as well as the growing interest in preserving these important traditions of India.

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