Savita Devi hails from the Banaras Gharana that has produced many exponents of classical and light classical music in the past couple of centuries. Daughter of the late Siddheshwari Devi, she will perform tonight at the Kamani Auditorium as a part of ICCR Thumri festival.
"It will not be an exaggeration to say that I had my first lessons in the womb of my mother who was regarded as the reigning queen of Thumri. In my childhood I not only studied music but also breathed it," she recalls.
From an early age, the singer underwent training and specialised in Thumri, Dadra, Chaiti, Kajra and Tappa of the Banaras Gharana (Purabang), a style made famous by her illustrious mom.
She is a proficient Khayal singer and has acquired the nuances of the Kirana Gharana from Pandit Mani Prasad and Pandit Dalip Chandra Vedi. "Music is the best offering to God, when I sing I visualise God standing in front of me."
After graduation in arts, Savita Devi studied classical music at the Banaras Hindu University and received a postgraduate degree. She later received the Sangeet Alankar from Poona.
She is also the founder of the Siddheshwari Devi Academy of Indian Music that is carrying forward the 'Purabang' Thumri tradition. Besides being the Managing Director of the Academy, she is also the Head of Department of Music in Daulat Ram College University of Delhi.
She has also written a book about her mother called Ma Siddheswari. "I've tried to detail her rise from an uncared for orphan in her aunt's house in Banaras to a famous classical singer and recipient of a Padmashree award."
Savita Devi conducts music workshops at London, organised by the 'Asian Music Circuit'. "Through these workshops I get an unique opportunity to bring people from different nations together. Lecture demonstrations for thumri singing are a part of these workshops. My students include NRIs and foreigners, some of whom are not even familiar with Hindi as a language. It's a great experience," she says.