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News |  08 May 2018 16:35 |  By RnMTeam

Homage to the Queen of Thumri, Girija Devi

MUMBAI: 8 May stands to be the 89th birth anniversary of legendary Girija Devi, respectfully known as Queen of Thumri. Among the legends that this century has seen, Girija Devi stands tall with her virtuosity and sheer mastery over her art.

Padmavibhusan Girija Devi, was born in the land of Thumri, Banaras into a zamindar family. Her mother and grandmother were reluctant of her performing, as it was a taboo in those days for upper-class women to sing publicly, however she found support from her progressive father and was initiated into music by him. Later her husband encouraged young Girija to sing in public concerts over private mehfils.  

Very soon, the legend acquired commendable status and was in the league of her forerunners like Rasoolan Bai, Begum Akhtar, Siddheshwari Devi. Her first rendition for All India Radio turned out to be a concert and broadcast that changed the course of her life.

She became the reference point for Thumri singing for the next generation and was known for nurturing many students under her tutelage through guru shishya parampara as well as her long-standing association with ITC Sangeet Research Academy. Her trademark thumri Babul Mora Naihaar Chooto Jaye became synonymous with her name. It was just not her performances but the ocean of knowledge she contained that made her remarkable. Her voice quality, the nuances she brought and certain x-factor in her performances made her what she was widely known as, Queen of Thumri.

Decorated with all major awards like Sangeet Natak Akademi, all ranks in Padma Awards, Girija Devi ji was respected by her fraternity and adored by the audiences alike. Her amiable presence for the audiences and mother like figure for her students made her favourite and revered at the same time.

October 2017 shook her fans, students and family when she left for heaven abode all of a sudden. But as is the case with most of the legends, her art and her students keep her alive within.