Eminent classical singer and Padma Vibhushan awardee Girija Devi passed away at a city hospital here on Tuesday night following a cardiac arrest, hospital sources said. She was 88 and is survived by her daughter.
Girija Devi ji—fondly known as Appa ji— is considered to be the reigning Queen of Thumri. Born in a village near Banaras on 8 May 1929, music was a part of her life from her very early years. Her father, a zamindar, recognizing her extraordinary talent, encouraged her, as a little five-year-old, to start learning classical music from Pandit Sarju Prasad Misra. By this time the family had moved to Banaras, a city whose culture, sights and sounds were to become an integral part of her gayaki and her world view. Appa ji later studied under Pandit Srichand Misra, whose shishya she remained until his passing in the 1960s.
Banaras flows in her music. And in Banaras, it is the river that she cherishes the most as the source of her inspiration. ‘My whole life revolved around the river Ganga’ she says describing its many moods and moments. One memory from her childhood stands out—a memory that found artistic expression later.
Girija Devi’s a genius in her sphere of Indian classical vocal rendition. This fact has further highlighted by the numerous prestigious awards that were conferred to her. For instance, she was given the Padma Shree in the year 1972 and the Padma Bhushan in 1989, which are among the highest civilian awards of India. The Tansen award named after Tansen, who was one of the nine gems in the court of Emperor Akhbar, was also conferred to Girija Devi. She has also served as member of many important committees relating to music in India.
Thumri:- The Voice Of Our Culture
Thumrī (Devanagari: ठुमरी, Nastaliq: ٹھمری,Bengali: ঠুমরী) is a common genre of semi-classical Indian music. The term ‘thumri’ is derived from the Hindi verb thumakna which means “to walk with dancing steps so as to make the ankle-bells tinkle.” The form is, thus, connected with dance, dramatic gestures, mild eroticism, evocative love poetry and folk songs of Uttar Pradesh, though there are regional variations.
Here we are sharing some precious contribution of girija devi