Chandra gets standing ovation at Rich Mix in tribute to ‘queen of Thumri transcendental music’ Girija Devi

Chandra Chakraborty on stage at Rich Mix. Picture: Manika Saha

Chandra Chakraborty on stage at Rich Mix. Picture: Manika Saha - Credit: Manika Saha

One of the most popular transcendental Hindustani vocalists in the West gave a tribute performance in Bethnal Green to “the last queen of Thumri music” on the first anniversary her death.

Chandra Chakraborty on stage at Rich Mix. Picture: Manika Saha

Chandra Chakraborty on stage at Rich Mix. Picture: Manika Saha - Credit: Manika Saha

Chandra Chakraborty performed to a full house at the Rich Mix arts centre on Saturday to commemorate the late Girija Devi, a favourite of Sitar maestro Ravi Shankar.

The concert was organised by the Society of Poetry and Indian Music which aims to build a network of transcendental music followers in London commemorate Girija’s work.

“Girija was the last queen of Thumri,” its director Ahmed Kaysher said.

“This concert had hypnotic styles of Thumri that she developed, the Indian classical music rarely happens in the East End. So we hope to create a legacy with a network of classical music lovers.”

Chandra Chakraborty on stage at Rich Mix. Picture: Manika Saha

Chandra Chakraborty on stage at Rich Mix. Picture: Manika Saha - Credit: Manika Saha


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Chandra started with a spiritual recital of Raag Maru Bihag, then songs in the Thumri tradition of Hindustani semi-classical music.

She finished with transcendental singing of sacred Shabath, a devotional form of classical music in India, and received a standing ovation from musicians as well as the audience.

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Accompanying her on stage were Kamalbir Nandra on violin, Rekesh Chauhan on Harmonium and Gurdian Singh Rayatt on Tabla. Two of Chandra’s followers, Dr Piya Bhagwat and Satarupa Ghosh, accompanied her on Tanpura.

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