In 19th Century,Lucknow’s Nawab Vajad Ali Shah introduced Thumri. He was a singer and was also known as ” Akhtar Priya”. Thumri is a devotional and semi-classical Indian music form. This form, is thus connected with dance, drama, poetry and folk songs of Uttar Pradesh. It is romantic and devotional in nature and expresses a girl’s love (generally for Lord Krishna).The lyrics of Thumri are generally in Hindi, Brij Bhasha and Awadhi. Thumri form of singing is very famous in Bengal. It is generally sung in Raag Khamaj, Peelu, Tilang, Desh, Tilak Kamod, Kafi and Bhairavi. Thumri form of singing generally doesn’t follow any boundaries of raag but give more emphasis to dance,romance,sweetness,etc. Thumri singing gives less importance to words and more of emotions.
Famous Thumri in Bhairavi-
1).Sanwariya ne Jadu Mara,BajuBand Khul Khul Jaye.
2).Nahi Parat Maika Chain Sanwariya.
The two videos below show how Thumri gives liberty to singers to sing the songs as per their individual styles. First song is by Shobha Gurtu and the one below that is by the great singer Padmashri Rashid Khan. As already mentioned above, the focus of Thumri songs is expressions of music rather than lyrics or raagas. So note how the lyrics is made up of just a few words repeated again and again in different styles.
Hope the readers now have some basic understanding of what the free flowing Thumri is about.