Until not so long ago, the royal courts of Lucknow used to witness the melodies of thumri, a common genre of semi-classical Indian music. Now, these melodies are coming to the Capital with the Thumri Festival 2012. Organised by Sahitya Kala Parishad, this two-day event has an impressive line up of artists such as Shubha Mudgal, Malini Awasthi and Girija Devi.
To be inaugurated by Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit on August 13 at Kamani Auditorium, the festival will be celebrating its third edition in Delhi.
Thumri is said to have originated from North West India as a form of music associated with Lord Krishna’s raas leela. Over the past decades, the generic musical style of thumri gained immense popularity among a varied audience that enjoyed its odes to nature and love.
“The genre of thumri does not come under the category of pure classical music. This style is on the verge of ending, as not many classical artists are practicing it. In order to bring back the charm of this melodious art form, we organise this festival every year,” says Sindhu Mishra, deputy secretary, Sahitya Kala Parishad.
The festival will see an opening performance by classical singer Shubha Mudgal, and eminent Bengali musician Ajoy Chakrobarty.
“In thumri, words are as important as emotions and expressions,” says Mudgal. “It can instantly stir you and touch your soul, with the use of a lot of shayari. We also use dohas in thumri. I have learnt Purab Ang thumri from Naina Devi. Earlier, it was ‘Bandish ki thumri’ or ‘Bol bant ki thumri’. Now, a new style called ‘bol banao’ has become popular,” she adds.
The second day will see thumri performer Girija Devi and folk music singer Malini Awasthi enthralling the audience. “I feel great to be a part of such a rich music festival,” says Awasthi. “The weather is beautiful and this form of music is basically a celebration of rain. Performers like us are encouraged to see that people are interested in classical music and they wait for such cultural evenings,” she adds.
Elaborating more on the music form, Mishra says, “Many perceive thumri as the pop form of Hindustani classical music, which is not right. Because of this perception, youngsters are losing interest in this form of music. The motive behind organising this festival is to let people know what real thumri is and we do so by calling these maestros to be a part of this festival.”
Catch it live
What: Thumri Festival
When: August 13 and 14
Where: Kamani Auditorium, Copernicus Marg
Entry: Free (Walk in)
Timings: 6.30pm onwards
Nearest Metro Station: Mandi House on the Blue Line