Siddheshwari Academy of Indian Music

Vidushi Savita Devi lovingly and painstakingly traces the journey of her mothers' life- the legendary Hindustani classical singer Padmashri Smt. Siddheshwari Devi. It describes in detail, Siddheshwari's rise from an uncared orphan in her aunt's house in Banaras to a famous classical singer and recipient of a Padmashri award. The book traces the birth and evolution of a glorious singer, the long years of riaz under her gurus, her performances that reveal nuances of Thumri gayaki, hitherto unknown, and her many sorrows and successes in her personal and professional life. It also touches upon the rich and varied styles of music of the Banaras Gharana which she perfected and her interactions with other artists who gave shape and colour to Indian Classical Music. In this only exhaustive and definitive biography available of this great vocalist, the author shows us closely the angst, hardships, joys and sensibilities that are the core of a true artiste.

Born on 8'th August 1908, in Banaras, Siddheshwari Devi had her initial training in Indian Classical music from Pandit Siyaji Maharaj. Later, she also trained under Pandit Bade Ram Dasji of Banaras. Siddheshwari shifted from Banaras to Delhi in 1965 and taught music in Shriram Bharatiya Kala Kendra for more than a decade till she passed away in 1977.

Siddheshwari Devi's music represented Banaras Gharana style, which lays more emphasis on the intensity of feelings and expression of emotions through musical notes and voice modulations. A stalwart of thumri, Siddheshwari's music also included khayals, dhrupads, dadras, tappas, kajris, chaitis, horis and bhajans. In thumris she specialized in "Poorabang" thumri, which is also known as the "Bol-Banav-ki thumri". Reliance on ragas was a distinctive feature of Siddheshwaris thumris. She helped in raising thumri to a classical form. She earned the title of "Thumri-Queen" and was presented the much coveted Padma Shree award in 1967.

Siddheshwari Devi strongly believed in "Guru Shishya Parampara" which has been kept alive by her daughter Vidushi Savita Devi. Savita established "Smt Siddheshwari Devi Academy of Indian Music" in the loving memory of her mother in 1977, the year in which Siddheshwari passed away.