Born as Eileen Angelina Yeoward, an Armenian Christian who later converted to Islam, Gauhar Jaan was a naturally gifted musician with a wide repertoire. One of the earliest women artistes who siezed opportunity that came with the advent of recording technology, hers was the first Indian voice to be recorded in 1902. In her illustrious career she cut close to 600 records.
This book traces the story of her life with all its attendant myths, legends and folklore, some of which are recorded, some apocryphal; as well as the times during which she lived and made exquisite music. The socio-cultural context serves to put her contribution and the role of women like her to Hindustani music in perspective. Through her music, an attempt is made to analyse the different genres of Hindustani music that Gauhar and singers like her popularised, namely the Thumri, Dadra and Ghazal. The book also describes briefly the evolution of the recording industry in India and its impact on Indian music, theatre and social life.
About the Author
Vikram Sampath was born in Bangalore. He did his undergraduate degree in electronic engineering, before doing his master's in mathematics from BITS Pilani in 2003. He subsequently did an MBA in finance from S.P. Jain Institute of Management and Research, Mumbai. He currently works in the retail banking division of a leading multinational bank in Bangalore. His work is regularly published in leading dailies and magazines like the Hindu, the Deccan Herald and Jet Wings. Vikram is also a student of Carnatic classical vocal music and subjects related to history, art and culture are close to his heart.