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A Festival of Light Classical Music: Thumri Festival

Thumri festival organized by Sahitya Kala Parishad, Department of Art, Culture and Languages, Delhi Government. The festival promotes Thumri which is fading day by day.

Manish Sisodia, Deputy Chief Minister of Delhi, expressed his happiness over the festival and thanked the audience by expressing his thoughts. “With every passing year, Thumri Festival is getting bigger with an exciting line-up of artists and I am glad that you all have accepted it with open arms. The entire team is grateful to you all for this success. I also take this opportunity to thank all the artists who came forward to promote Thumri on such a large scale”, He added.

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The festival kick-started its 9th edition on 23rd September 2019, Monday and was marked by artists including Devashish Dey, who presented Thumri in Raag Des, followed by a rainy seasonal song Banarasi Kajri. The audience was in an ecstasy of music. Everyone was nodding their head along with the synchronized movement of their hands and feet tapping. People were enjoying it and that made them feel like, they were not in that auditorium anymore, it felt like they are somewhere amidst greenery where it’s raining and everyone is lost in their dreams while enjoying the music.

Just when the audience was lost in the magic of Thumri, Debapriya Adhikary and Samanwaya came up on stage to continue the enchantment of Thumri. They make a team of an ‘A’ grade artist and Sitarist respectively, of All India Radio and Doordarshan.

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They performed Tappa, tappa and Bandishi featuring the elements of Thumri in it. They delivered a bonus in the form of Bandishi Thumri, Dadra, Jhula to name a few.

The first day of festival bid adieu with a performance from Arati Ankalikar-Tikekar, whose music echoes a pleasant blend of Agra Gwalior Gharana and Jaipur Atrauli Gharana. She ended the evening with her recital from Bahadur Shah Zafar’s composition ‘Babul mora naiharchooto hi jaaye’ set to Hindustani Raga Bhairavi.

Devashish Dey shares, “Thumri is growing, when I perform I see many youngsters as my audience, it’s always great to have a young demographic of the country taking interest in their culture and music”.

I was about 5 or more when I started learning music since then I have been trying to extend its reach,” he also shares.

Debapriya Adhikary and Samanwaya share their belief of Thumri not be just your mundane kind of music, he thinks that it goes beyond that. “I want to increase the outreach of Thumri, I have done my fellowship in Thumri, I want the youth to understand Thumri, in a way I do,” Deba Priya added.

The second day opened with a performance from Pandit Sarathi Chatterjee, ‘Baiyyan pakad lini Shyam, Kaise jau main apne dhaam’ in Raag Misra Pilu. It depicts a page from the story of Radha and Krishna, and how she is worried about reaching home on time. His next piece – ‘Baalam nahi aye more paas’ in Raag Misra Charu keshi was a melancholic description of a lover who is lost in deep thought, waiting for her lover to return. He ended with ‘Paiyyan laagu kar jori shyam, mosee khelna Hori’ in raag Maaj Khamaj.

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The audience was enraptured by Pandit Ganesh Prasad Mishra’s magic, starting with ‘Hatojao re na bolo kanha’ Bandish ki thumri, composed by his father Pandit Mahadev Prasad Mishra.

The second evening closed with a performance by Ashiwini Bhide-Deshpande.

The Thumri Festival’s last day set off with a fervent enchanting Thumri in Khamaj – ‘Mad se bhare tore nain’, by Pt. Rajendra Sijuarwho who represents the ‘Gaya Gharana’.

Dhanashree Pandit Rai then took over the stage and performed “Bairan Ho Gayi Raina” a vilambitthumri in taaldeepchandi, raga mishrashivranjin is followed by Dadra in raga mishrashivranjini – “Morbalamwanahiaaye”.

Thumri festival is one of its a kind festival that is enjoyed by everyone. It spread the awareness about the Art & Music of Thumri. Today thumrī is sometimes sung at the end of khyal concerts as a concluding item.

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