Today is the birthday of Gauhar Jaan, the legendary singer and dancer, and Google doodle is not far, in remembering her on the D Day.
Google doodle is celebrating the birth anniversary of this legendary singer.
Born on this day in 1873, Gauhar was one of the top performers to record music on 78 rpm records in contemporary India. The said record was released by Gramophone Company of India.
Known as Angelina Yeoward, when she was born in UP’s Azamgarh, Gauhar Jaan hailed from Armenia. Her father, William Robert Yeoward used to work as an engineer in an ice factory. Victoria Hemmings was her mother who got married to William, in 1872. Victoria was known to be an Indian by birth and had been trained in music as well as dance.
Since the marriage between William and Victoria did not go through much, she developed a liking of Khurshid, her friend. After her divorce, Mrs Yeoward converted to Islam and donned the name Malak Jan. Her daughter was renamed as Gauhar Jan. Sometimes, Gauhar’s mother was often known as Badi Malak Jan, because there were three other Malak Jans around. Eight-year-old Angelina accompanied her mother to the city of Benaras then with her new father.
Malka Jaan became an accomplished singer and later proved her mettle in Kathak. Later, Malka Jaan and the daughterGauhar moved to Calcutta. There, they used to perform in the courts of Nawab Wajid Ali Shah.
The ace dancer-singer Gauhar Jaan got herself trained in Calcutta. She becomes a proficient singer of Hindustani classical music, Keertan and Rabindra Sangeet too. She acquired her skills under the Patiala Gharana of classical music. Kalu Ustad, Ustad Vazir Khan of Rampur, and Ustad Ali Baksh trained her in the finenesses of the dance. Gauhar learnt Kathak from the legendary Brindadin Maharaj, who was the granduncle of Birju Maharaj.
Gauhar Jaan’s maiden performance was seen the courts of Darbhanga Raj, in 1887. She was appointed a court musician there. In 1896, she performed in Calcutta and was appreciated by a large number of people there. She got the title of ‘first dancing girl’ then
Gauhar Jaan had travelled widely in India and had performed in a number of cities. She was invited to perform at the swearing-in ceremony of King George V in Delhi Durbar.
Gauhar Jaan had composed a number of ghazals under her pen-name ‘Hamdam’.
Gauhar Jaan moved to Mysore in her last days, where the king Krishna Raja Wadiyar IV was her fan. The king appointed her as a palace musician. She passed away after spending about one and a half year there, on January 17, 1930.