India

Google Doodle gives tribute to Gauhar Jaan, the Gramophone girl

Google Doodle gives tribute to Gauhar Jaan, the Gramophone girl
Written by Abhishek Rana

Google Doodle has given a tribute to the Indian’s first recording musician, Gauhar Jaan. She was born on June 26 1873, and named Angelina Yeoward. She was of Armenian heritage. Her mother was a trained Kathak dancer, and a courtesan in Banaras. She came to be known as Badi Malka Jan. When Badi Malka Jan shifted to Calcutta, Gauhar Jan began her training in Hindustani training, under the guidance of Kale Khan of Patiala, Ustad Wazir Khan of Rampur, and Ustad Ali Baskh Jarnail. She also learnt the art of Kathak from the granduncle of BirjuMaharaj, Brindadin Maharaj.

She gave her first ever performance in Darbhanga Raj in 1887, and as she learnt the art of Kathak from professionals in Banaras, she steadily climbed up in status, and became a court musician. She sang Khayal in Raag Jogiya, for her first ever professional recording on Novermber 8 1902, which was done by Fred Gaisberg, who hailed from the Gramophone Company.

She recorded over 500 matrices in the course of six weeks, which were taken to Germany and given back to India in 1903. The recordings steadily gained popularity among the population, and also help in normalizing the use of Gramophone in the homes of Indian Citizens. Google Doodle has made a beautiful portrayal of Gauhar Jaan, which compliments her beauty with the attire of Kathak and the miniature Gramophone. It is important that such people are celebrated for their contribution to the culture of India, and because Google Doodle will give more exposure to them and their work. Women like Gauhar Jaan should be praised for their talent and achievements in the decades ago, and should be used as an example of how to learn, practice and excel in the field that a person chooses for himself or herself. And continues to do good work.

About the author

Abhishek Rana

Since my early childhood, I’ve loved writing, watching movies and having an opinion. Now, I do it professionally. Always looking for new ways to challenge myself.

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