Google doodle today honoured legendary Indian singer and dancer, Gauhar Jaan, on her 145th birth anniversary. She was one of the first performers to record music on 78 rpm records in India, and released by Gramophone Company of India.Also Read - Google Doogle Pays Tribute to Otto Wichterle, The Czech Chemist Who Invented Soft Contact Lens
Gauhar Jaan was born in Azamgarh on June 26 in 1873, and her birth name was Eileen Angelina Yeoward. Her Armenian father, Robert William Yeoward, worked as an engineer in a dry ice factory and married her mother, Victoria Hemmings in 1872. Victoria, an Indian by birth, was trained in music and dance. Also Read - Sivaji Ganesan's 93rd Birthday: Google Pays Tribute to Legendary Tamil Actor With a Doodle
In 1879, the marriage between Victoria and Robert ended, causing difficulty for her and daughter Angelina. The mother-daughter duo later migrated to Banaras in 1881, with a Muslim noble, ‘Khursheed’. After Victoria’s divorce, she embraced Islam and took the name Malak Jan, and her daughter assumed the name Gauhar Jan. It is also to be noted that Gauhar’s mother is often known as “Badi” Malak Jan, because at the time there were three other famous Malak Jans- Malka Jan of Agra, Malka Jan of Mulk Pukhraj and Malka Jan of Chulbuli, and the designation of Badi implying that she was the eldest of the Malak Jans. Also Read - Google Celebrates 23rd Birthday with a Cake Doodle on Homepage
Though Gauhar remained a devout Muslim all her life, most of her compositions were replete with Krishna bhakti. She gave her maiden performance at the royal courts of Darbhanga Raj in 1887 and was the court musician after receiving extensive dance and music training from a professional dancer at Banaras. In 1896, she started performing in Calcutta and was called the ‘first dancing girl’ in her records.
Jaan popularized light Hindustani classical music with her thumri, dadra, kajri, chaiti, bhajan, tarana renditions. She also mastered the technique of condensing performing the elaborate melody Hindustani classical style to just three and a half minutes for a record.
Her most famous songs include, thumri sung in Bhairavi- Mora Nahak Laye gavanava, Jabse Gaye mori sur huna live, Ras ke Bhare Tore Nain mere Dard-e-jigar and bhajans like, Radhey Krishna Bol Mukhse.
The noted Indian artist died at the age of 56 on January 17, 1930.