Songs from Varanasi

Becoming a vocalist in the Indian classical tradition requires immense dedication and sacrifice. Sobriety, discipline, developing a sense of aesthetic quality in music, all are needed. Ther is also the aspect of surrender. In Indian music this has traditionally meant, in the first place, surrender to the guru. For an Indian woman, studying a classical art form has always been doubly difficult, since she is already required to surrender to society's demans and prejudices concerning her behaviour, domestic duties and marriage. Benares (Varanasi) was for a long time the most important seat of professional women singers, and for the last few centuries it was the centre for kathak dance, table, thumri and the lighter vocal genres.


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