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Veteran classical singer Girija Devi passes away at 88

By Deepika
Google Oneindia News

Eminent classical singer and "Thumri" exponent Girija Devi passed away on Tuesday. She was 88.

Girija Devi

She reportedly died of heart attack. She was suffering from old age ailments. She was admitted in the B M Birla Hospital in Kolkata.

Girija Devi is a senior and renowned Indian female classical vocalist, who represents the Banaras Gharana of singers.

Born on 8 May 1929 in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, Girija Devi has been gifted with the most mellifluous voice.

Devi was born in Varanasi, on 8 May 1929, to Ramdeo Rai, a zamindar. Her father played the harmonium and taught music, and had Devi take lessons in singing khyal and tappa from vocalist and sarangi player Sarju Prasad Misra starting at the age of five. She starred in the movie Yaad rahe aged nine and continued her studies under Sri Chand Misra in a variety of styles.

Devi made her public debut 1949 on All India Radio Allahabad, after getting married to a businessman circa 1946, but faced opposition from her mother and grandmother, because it was traditionally believed that no upper class woman should perform publicly.

Girija Devi from the Banaras gharana (school) has been credited with preserving and elevating the "Thumri" form of Indian classical singing and her repertoire includes the semi-classical genres "Kajri" and "Chaiti".

She was awarded the Padma Shri in 1972 and Padma Bhushan in 1989.

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