Thumri, dadra, kajri, chaiti, jhoola, savani- these are the timeless songs of the lives and love of the Indian folk stylized into a performance genre. Songs which paint the myriad colours of romance, longing, separation and union- under the rain- washed skies, on harvested fields, and swinging jhoolas.
In its most stylized contemporary from, the Thumri developed around dance and abhivaya. Abhinaya has been the soul of Indian dance and theatre from ancient times. In angika abhinaya (anga- body) the body speaks, in Satvika abhinaya, the face registers emotions and in vachika abhinaya, music and words come together as a powerful tool for portraying emotions and dramatic situations.
Thus the music of the Gangetic soil merged with the court dances of Lucknow to give the world an exquisite music genre where vachika abhinaya came to be the soul of performance.
The Thumri genre is multiplex. The bol- banao thumri set on vilambit talas provides the singer an extensive canvas for reposeful improvisation. The pacy bol-bant thumri, popular in Kathak, allows rhythmic play. The dadra is a coquettish song with a metric cadence. The kajri extols the romantic moments of the monsoons and the chaiti the trauma of separation in the post harvest season.
Nirmala Devi was one of the most respected traditional exponents of the Thumri form. She was steeped in the classy Banaras ang of Thumri. However she was also trained in the Patiala gharana and this enabled her create an individual style of her own. She was gifted with a sharp, powerful voice capable of executing superfast taans.
1. Pahadi - ‘Sawan Ka Nazara Hai’
2. Thumri - ‘Main Ne Lakhon Ke Bol Sahe’
3. Chaiti - ‘Yehi Thaiyan Motia Herae Gaili Rama’
4. Sohini Thumri - ‘Prem Na Jane Rasiya’
5. Kafi Holi - ‘Na Maro Pichkari’