saturday 8th november
6.30 pm Book Reading from “Sung in a Sensual Style”  a book on Thumri and its allied forms by Rekha Surya

Hindustani light classical music primarily encompasses Thumri, Dadra, Kajri, Jhoola, Hori, Chaiti, Sawan and Ghazal. Once associated only with courtesan-singers, this genre of music has a mystical dimension, enabling the absorption of Sufi poetry.

Contemporary ideas seep into traditional genres, like leaves  from tree on a riverbank fall and float on the river to become one with it. This document chronicles such changes within the genre and illuminates all its facets, taking the reader through its history, philosophy and practical aspects.

One of the few practitioners of the Lucknow Gharana of North Indian music, Rekha Surya has kept alive traditional  ghazal-gayaki and presented the legacy of her legendary Guru Begum Akhtar  by propagating this art in India and abroad. Having also honed her skills under the tutelage of another legend, Girja Devi of the Benaras Gharana , she has combined both styles of singing into an individualistic style.

The infusion of spirituality into an essentially romantic genre is a unique part of her repertoire. The ancient literary traditions she draws from have both  South Asian Muslim and Hindu cultural references.

“Rekha Surya’s writing is like her singing – captivating and intense yet touchingly simple. She writes about her musical genre with familiarity, ease and authority in a lucid, succinct style. This book serves to help the reader understand the genre’s  intrinsic connection to Sufi poetry and is a pleasure to read for all lovers of Indian classical and semi classical music.”  Shabana Azmi