Renowned sarod player Amjad Ali Khan says India will always miss Indian classical vocalist Girija Devi, who earned the epithet of ‘Thumri queen’.
“When I heard that the legendary singer Girija Devi of Banaras has passed away, I was filled with sorrow. She was in Kolkata. It’s a great loss for the world of music especially Thumri style of singing. She became an institution during her lifetime. She was the only lady in my life who tied rakhi on my wrist every Raksha Bandhan,” said Amjad Ali Khan.
“We performed together on many occasions. We recorded our duet — the sarod-vocal jugalbandee for a London-based record label called Navras Record. She has left many disciples to continue her legacy. She carried an entire era with her,” he added.
The late Indian classical vocalist passed away on Tuesday night following a cardiac arrest.
Amjad Ali Khan said: “India will always miss her. It is my personal loss too. May her soul rest in peace. When we honoured her with our yearly Haafiz Ali Khan Award in the Courtyard of the Sarod Ghar, Gwalior, Girija Devi refused to accept any cash which was part of the award.
“She said in Hindi, ‘Is Ghar ko hamein sirf denaa hai lene ka haq hamaaraa nahin hai’, which means: ‘We have to only offer and give and serve to this Ghar.We are not allowed to take a penny from here’.
“Girija Devi ji had a great reverence love and respect for my ancestors and guru. She was a spiritual musician, totally committed and dedicated to Saraswati maa and music.”
Amjad Ali Khan feels “Thumri is the fastest dying art form”.
“Some musicians are dealing with the grammar only,” he added.
By Subhash K. Jha