Considered as the 'Queen of Thumri' Girija Devi was an eminent classical singer who with a resonating magical voice captivated the listeners of Hindustani classical music for generations. The doyen of the Benaras Gharana she played a key role in popularising Thumri with her scintillating voice. A Padma Vibhushan awardee she was perhaps the last exponent of thumri, tappa, chaiti, and khayal.
Girija Devi was born on May 8, 1929, in Varanasi, to a zamindar, Ramdeo Rai. Gifted with a resonating magical voice she began taking music lessons at the tender age of five years. She learned singing khyal and tappa from vocalist and sarangi player Sarju Prasad Misra. Thereafter she further honed her skill under the guidance of Sri Chand Misra. With passing times she excelled herself in Khayal, Dhrupad, Dhamar, Tarana, Indian folk music and Bhajan. A regular performer on All India Radio since her public debut in 1949 she worked as a faculty member of the ITC Sangeet Research Academy in Kolkata in the 1980s and of the Banaras Hindu University during the early 1990s. A prominent performer on Doordarshan, she performed extensively within the country and abroad.
A legendary singer of Hindustani classical music, she was awarded the Padma Shri in 1972, Padma Bhushan in 1989 and the Padma Vibhushan in 2016. Other awards include Maha Sangeet Samman Award (2012), GiMA Awards 2012 (Lifetime Achievement), Sangeet Natak Akademi Award (1977) among many others. She was revered as 'Thumri queen' and was fondly addressed as Appa ji by her followers.
Unwell for some time she passed away in a hospital in Kolkata. She was 88. News about the death of Girija Devi came as a rude shock to her fan and followers. Her death was mourned by many famous personalities who took social networking sites to pay their condolences.
Narendra Modi: Saddened by demise of Girija Devi ji. Indian classical music has lost one of its most melodious voices. My thoughts are with her admirers.
Narendra Modi: Girija Devi ji's music appealed across generations. Her pioneering efforts to popularise Indian classical music will always be remembered.
Lata Mangeshkar: Mahan shastriya aur thumri gayika Girija Devi ji hamare bich nahi rahi ye sunke mujhe bahut dukh hua.Hamare unke bahut acche sambandh the.
Girija Devi ji ek bahut acchi mahila thi. Main unko shraddhanjali arpan karti hun. ishwar unki aatma ko shanti pradan kare .
Javed Akhtar: Girija Devi was not only a great classical singer but a national treasure too . We are poorer without her . Girija ji , AAP Ko mera salaam .
Shubha Mudgal: Colossal loss for Indian music. Girija Devi ji, Appaji to her family and followers, passes away. Irreparable loss.
Pankaj Udhas: Passing away of legend Vidushi Girija Devi has left a void in the Indian classical music may her soul rest in eternal peace our Pranams
(FOLLOWER OF GIRIJA DEVI)
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