Great Works Edit
Raga Khamaj Jogiya
Civilopedia Entry Edit
Named Angelina Yeoward at birth in 1873 AD in Azamgarh, she would become a famed vocalist, 'kathak' dancer, courtesan, and first recording star in India. Her Jewish father was an engineer and her Hindi mother Victoria was trained in classical Hindi music and dance. The marriage didn’t last; mother and daughter moved to Banaras in 1881, where Victoria took up with a Muslim nobleman and converted to Islam. She took the name Malak Jaan and renamed her daughter Gauhar. In Banaras, Malak became renowned as a 'tawaif' (a “female entertainer,” loosely equivalent to the Japanese geisha). As her career peaked and in search of wealthier patrons, Malak moved herself and Gauhar to Calcutta.
Malak was thus able to hire the best of tutors and teachers for her talented daughter, who mastered 'dhrupad' and 'dhammar' as well as various forms of traditional dance. At the age of 14, Gauhar gave her first recital, to the Maharaja of Darbhanga, who was so impressed that he appointed the teen court musician and dancer. Over the next decade as a 'tawaif,' Gauhar enjoyed the patronage of a number of wealthy men, growing wealthy herself. Needless-to-say, she lived well – even extravagantly – once spending 20 thousand rupees on a party for her cat. A true diva (Gauhar, not the cat).
In 1902 came her most significant contribution to civilization, for it was in that year that Gauhar Jaan agreed to record a series of native songs for the Gramophone Company. From 1902 to 1920, she recorded over 600 songs. Even as she continued her profession as a courtesan, she helped preserve disappearing Indian musical traditions in a dozen dialects. In her declining years, Gauhar was appointed court musician to the royal court at Mysore in August 1928, but died 18 months later.
|Great People of Civilization VI|
|Artist • Admiral • Engineer • General • Merchant • Musician • Prophet • Scientist • Writer|