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Thumri The Music Of Love

Barkat Ali Khan

About this album

Thumri - the song of love, of romance, passion and pining.

Thumri, dadra, kajri, chaiti, jhoola, savani - these are the timeless songs of the lives and loves of the Indian folk stylised into a performance genre. Songs which paint the myriad colours of romance, longing, separation and union - under the rain-washed skies, on harvested fields, and swinging jhoolas.

In its most stylised contemporary form, the Thumri developed around dance and abhinaya. Abhinaya has been the soul of Indian dance and theatre from ancient times. In angika abhinaya (anga-body) the body speaks, in Satvika abhinaya, the face registers
emotions and in vachika abhinaya, music and words come together as a powerful tool for portraying emotions and dramatic situations.

Thus the music of the Gangetic soil merged with the court dances of Lucknow to give the World an exquisite music genre where vachika abhinaya came to be the soul of performance.

The Thumri genre is multiplex. The bol-banao thumri set on viambit talas provides the singer an extensive vanvas for reposeful improvisation. The pacy bol-bant thumri, popular in kathak, allows rhythmic play. The dadra is coquettish song with a metric cadence. The kajri extols the romantic moments of the monsoons and chaiti the trauma of separation in the post
harvest season.

Barkat Ali Khan was the younger brother of the legendary Bade Ghulam Ali Khan. He specialised in Thumri and created a style of his own which was very different from the maestroy's quicksilver style. Barkat Ali Khan preferred a soulful and reposeful
approach, which enabled him to extract tremendous effect from the combination of shabda and swara. The pieces presented in this album are truly haunting.


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