Saturday, May 15, 2010

Recording Gauhar Jaan

Vikram Sampath looks like he’s just out of college. His sense of humour and the bright sparkle in his eyes when he laughs (which is quite often) belie his twin passions… history and classical music. Proving it is his second book, My Name Is Gauhar Jaan! The Life and Times of A Musician.

Overcoming all kinds of stumbling blocks, Vikram has resurrected the glory of Gauhar Jaan, a nautch girl from Calcutta and the grand dame of Indian recorded music. That she was the first Indian to record on a gramophone is well-known. But how that one bold step changed the face of Indian music, both here and abroad, is to be read to be understood.

Says Vikram, who takes Carnatic lessons from Jayanthi Kumaresh when he is not playing financial analyst at an MNC or leafing through historical documents, “Gauhar Jaan was exceptional in more ways than one… she created a template to showcase something as expansive as Hindustani music in just three minutes! Besides, she has recorded nearly 600 songs in 20 languages. To top it all, she composed several timeless thumris including the famous ‘Kaise yeh dhoom machayi.’”

Full report here Hindu

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