Girija: A Journey Through Thumri
Girija: A Journey through Thumri is not about the Benaras gharana, or Girija Devi the reigning queen of Thumri or Purab Anggayaki. It is the portrait of an artiste and a journey in music, as seen by a poet. Written with a deep sense of gratitude bordering on reverence, this book presents Girija Devi in all her manifestations: singer, Guru, householder, bhakta. Amazingly, she manages to project herself as a very credible, flesh-and-blood person of the here-and-now world: someone who can sing on-the-verge-of-extinction compositions with the same effortless ease as she rustles up a meal and watches an Amitabh Bachchan film. Humility and majesty, non-attachment and deep attachment: apparent contradictions fuse together to form the Girija Devi that Yatindra Mishra presents to us. Girija Devi has a symbiotic relationship with Kashi. She and her music draw sustenance from the hoary tradition of the eternal city. They also sustain the tradition. It would be inconceivable to think of one without thinking of the other. In keeping with the tradition of Kashi, Girija Devi imparts spiritual depth to even the most erotic compositions. In her singing, the world of the spirit goes hand-in-hand with the world of the flesh. An adventurous venture, this book is the result of an interface between two closely related art forms: music and poetry. The poetic sensibilities of the author provide for rare glimpses into the mind of a great artiste and the influences that shape her art.
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