Millennium Post

Romancing Thumri this monsoon

Romancing Thumri this monsoon
If music is all about breaking boundaries, it is time to revisit our classical roots this monsoon. And Delhiites would get a chance to do just that at the upcoming Thumri Festival, which is being organised by the Sahitya Kala Parishad along with Delhi government’s Department of Art, Culture, and Languages.

Thumri, a music form that originated in northwest India, associates itself with Lord Krishna’s raas leela. The festival coincides with the celebration of Janmastami — the birth of Lord Krishna. Thumri is popluar for its odes to nature and love.

The festival will see performers like classical singer Shubha Mudgal, Bengali musician Ajoy Chakrobarty, Thumri performer Girija Devi and folk music singer Malini Awasthi.

This is the first time that Shubha Mudgal will be performing at the Thumri Festival. ‘I have no idea if the organisers would want me to become a permanent fixture,’ says the Ab ke sawaan hitmaker.

‘I imagine that since the purpose of the festival is to provide greater exposure to Thumri, the organisers would want to feature different artistes every year,’ says Mudgal.

Folk singer Malini Awasthi, who is also a disciple of Girija Devi, will perform a mix of Kajri and Thumri songs. ‘Thumri is all about celebrating the rains. My performance will bring back songs devoted to Lord Krishna,’ says Awasthi.

‘The weather is beautiful and this form of music is basically a celebration of rain. It gives us performers a boost to see that people are interested in classical music and we wait for such cultural evenings. I would try and include seasonal songs,’ she adds.

Mudgal, who calls herself a student of Thumri, says she will try to present different kinds of Thumri compositions.

‘For example, I might perform the Bandish ki Thumri, Bol banao Thumri, Dadra, Kajri and other allied forms,’ says Mudgal.

The singer, who is equally comnfortable singing popular numbers, also wants to include seasonal song forms like
and kajri, as they relate to monsoon and are also synonymous with the Janmastami festival that coincides with the music festival.

What has been her inspiration in her long musical journey? Mudgal says she takes inspiration from life and it has been the constant drive to continue her passion for music.

‘Life itself provides a never-ending source of inspiration. Add to that the wonderful music created by the great masters of Indian music, and that’s what inspires students like me to constantly strive for perfection’, says Mudgal.

Culture is what keeps Awasthi going. Music, she says, gives her the strength to fight all odds. And her motive behind becoming a folk singer was ‘simple but strong’.

‘I always wanted to uplift and spread traditional music in the world and let people know about the richness that lies in our culture,’ says Awasthi.

However, both Mudgal and Awasthi are apprehensive about the current Indian music scene which, they feel, faces a serious threat.

‘I think in the mainstream, the diversity of Indian music faces a serious threat. Although multiple streams of music co-exist in India, it is fast becoming more and more difficult to access diverse forms of musical expression. Further, informed patronage and support to the arts and music is also becoming hard to come by’, says Mudgal.

Awasthi laments the loss of interest in Thumri among the people. ‘The music industry as a whole is growing; and there is place and listeners for all kind of music lovers. Though in modern times, thumri has lost its disciples to other classical music forms like Khayaal, Dhrupad or Taraana,’ says Awasthi.

So bring back the glorious days of classical music with this festival.


At: Kamani Auditorium, Mandi House
When: 13 August
Timings: 6.30 pm onwards
Phone: 23388084
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