Thumri music festival kicks off in Delhi

New Delhi, (IANS) In a treat for the capital’s music lovers, the three-day annual Thumri Festival was inaugurated here Friday with a soul-stirring performance by veteran Hindustani classical vocalist Pandit Channulal Mishra.

The Padma Bhushan awardee, an exponent of the Kirana school, is known for his mastery of Khayal and Purab Ang gayaki of thumri. He enjoys a wide fan-following among Hindustani classical lovers. He Pandit Mishra was accompanied by Aarti Ankalikar and Kakli Mukherjee.

Inaugurated by Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia at the Kamani Auditorium, the festival, presented by Delhi government’s department of art, culture and languages and the Sahitya Kala Parishad brings together the maestros of thumri and this year, will feature participation of stalwarts like Girija Devi and Ustad Ghulam Sadiq Khan over the next two days.

The second evening will have performances by Anjali Pohankar, Devasish Dey, and Ustad Ghulam Sadiq Khan. Young talents Uma Garg and Nabhodeep Chakroborty will render on the final evening. The festival will have a fitting finale when Girja Devi, the 84-year-old maestro, who has made immense contribution to thumri over several decades, takes the stage.

The most popular art forms in the royal courts of Awadh, Thumri is still adored and followed by the lovers of Hindustani classical music.

“Thumri is one of the most loved genres of Indian music which has a wide appeal. It is not only valued by an audience discerning enough to appreciate Hindustani classical music, but also appeals to the audience who might not be as well-versed in pure classical music. Despite much talk in recent years about the diminishing followers of the classical tradition, thumri has always had its loyal audience,” said Girija Devi.

Thumri rose in popularity in the 19th century under the patronage of Awadh’s last ruler Nawab Wajid Ali Shah. Romantic and devotional in nature, the genre is a blend of Hindustani classical with traits of folk literature and music. The dohas of Indian bhakti poets form the core of the content of thumri lyrics.


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