Often described as a ‘light’ or ‘semi-classical’ style, thumri is nevertheless a demanding and highly refined genre. Thumri developed in Lucknow during the early 19th century AD, and is now a popular art form. Much emphasis is placed on the subtle expression of emotions inherent in the song-texts, and their musical manipulation by the singer. Sunanda Sharma is a fine classical singer and teacher and young star of the Benares gharana, who has gained her knowledge and experience from the great Smt Girija Devi. This year she is returning to teach a range of thumri and light classical vocal music.
he musical journey reached another milestone when Smt Girija Devi took Sunanda under her wings after spotting her at the Hariballabh Sangeet Sammelan, Jullandhar. This was the beginning of a training in the Gurushishya parampara which saw Sunanda living, serving and learning music from her guru in Benaras and Kolkata for 9 years that has a distinct flavour of the musical grandeur of the temple town of Kashi. The guidance continues even today as the Guru and her shishya continue to perform and leave an imprint of their music, a melodious blend of shastra and bhav paksh on the conscious of music connoisseurs at festivals, concerts, baithaks etc., in India and abroad. Sunanda, who blossomed under the rigorous training of her Guru, has evolved musically into an artist with substance, which is evident in the many solo performances, lecdems, workshops and as visiting teacher in Universities at home and abroad. Sunanda enjoys the privilege of being a visiting teacher at SOAS, University and Royal Academy of Music in London since 2000. Though her forte lies in Khayal, Tappa, Thumri, Dadra, Chaiti, Sunanda has expanded her talent and repertoire that includes Punjabi folk, Sufi and other devotional styles. The beauty of Sunanda’s singing lies in her demonstrating and bringing to fore the depth and beauty of her renditions, which immediately builds a rapport with her audiences. The media therefore is an ardent admirer of this versatile artist.
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