The Dying Song is about the almost extinct art of BAITHAK THUMRI conjuring up the mood and mystery of the lost world of the old Indian HAVELI and palaces in which the courtesans performed.
In a crumbling haveli in small town India lives a mysterious thumri singer. Who is SURAIYA?
Script inspired by a Marathi novella by C.T.Khanolkar: DEVYACHI AYEE
Translated, written and directed by Sangeeta Datta.
The unique BIRESHWAR GAUTAM plays the androgynous singer Suraiya and gives a masterly performance singing thumri and performing beautiful abhinaya.
“TAWA’IF” a fascinating short documentary film about the courtesan tradition in India will be shown first.
THUMRI is a romantic vocal genre that lies between Indian classical music, theatre and folk traditions. It dates back across centuries and is said to have evolved through various strands including probably the VAISHNAV movement of KRISHNA worship, story telling and dance, temple music and finally the royal courts and havelis of the landed gentry from Mughal times to the fall of Lucknow and beyond in the 19th century. This vocal style became the preserve of the TAWA’IF or courtesan. THUMRI with its themes of love, separation, reconciliation and devotion, is the feminine style compared with the masculine khyal and dhrupad. In the hands of a master like Bireshwar Gautam this genre with the subtle use of abhinaya and improvisation is an art and a rare experience NOT TO BE MISSED!
Bireshwar Gautam vocal, abhinaya
Murad Ali sarangi
Hanif Khan tabla
Fida Hussain harmonium
Bireshwar Gautam Suraiya
Pervaiz Alam Nawab
Rajesh Joshi Narrator
Pratima Chatterjee Champa
Tue 17th June 2008 Workshop, Asian Music Centre, London
020 8749 9584 www.amc.org.uk
Thu 19th June 2008 The Sage Gateshead
0191 443 4661 www.thesagegateshead.org
Sun 29th June 2008 Queen Elizabeth Hall, South Bank Centre, London
0871 663 2500 www.southbankcentre.co.uk
Fri 18th July 2008 Pavilion Theatre, Brighton Dome, Brighton
01273 709709 www.brightondome.org
Sun 27th July 2008 The Lowry, Salford Quays
0870 787 5790 www.thelowry.com