Thumri The Music Of Love

Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia

Tabla Player
Nizamuddin Khan (Ustad)

About this album

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 stylized 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.

The Thumri evolved as a stylized art form around the Kathak dance tradition, drawing for its structure, form and flavor from Khayal on the one hand and folk music of the Varanasi - Lucknow - Gaya triangle on the other. The soul of Thumri rendition lies in Vachika abhinaya - portrayals through the combined tools of words and music. Thus this is a vocal music form.

Therefore it is a wonder to hear the great flautist of India - Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia create vivid bols (phrases, calls, words) from his flute. The magician's music seems to speak as eloquently as a vocalist would.


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