Google doodle pays tribute to Gauhar Jaan one of India's first recording artiste
If you go and check today’s Google Doodle, a picture of a woman with a cat in her hand and a gramophone behind appears. Well, it is a proud moment for all of us to know that the lady who has received this tribute is none other than Gauhar Jaan, who was one of the first performers from India to record music on 78 rpm records.
It is Gauhar Jaan’s 145th birth anniversary today. Born on 26 June 1873 in Azamgarh, of Armenian descent, Gauhar was a daughter of William Robert Yeoward and Victoria Hemmings. But, later her parents parted ways and Victoria got into a relationship with a guy named Khurshed and embraced Islam. That’s how she got the name Gauhar Jaan.
Gauhar Jaan’s mother Malak Jan (her name after embracing Islam) became an accomplished singer, Kathak dancer and a courtesan in Banaras. Following her mother’s footsteps Gauhar Jaan too became a dancer and a singer. Her first performance was at the royal courts of Darbhanga Raj in 1887 and later she was appointed as the court’s musician. She later moved to Calcutta and started performing there and was regarded as the 'first dancing girl'.
In 1910, Gauhar Jaan visited Madras for a concert in the Victoria Public Hall, and a year later in 1911 she was invited to perform at the coronation of King George V at Delhi Durbar. There she sang the song, Ye Hai Tajposhi Ka Jalsa and Mubarak Ho Mubarak Ho. It was a duet with Jankibai of Allahabad. She was later appointed as a palace musician by Krishna Raja Wadiyar IV of Mysore.
Interestingly, Gauhar Jaan was among the first few who recorded a song on Gramophone in India. She sang a Khayal (a genre of classical singing) in Raag Jogiya which was recorded by Fred Gaisberg of the Gramophone Company.
On January 17, 1930; she took her last breath in Mysore. In her journey she recorded more than 600 records in different languages like Bengali, Hindi, Gujarati, Tamil, Marathi, Arabic, Persian, Pushto, French, and English and became a prominent face in the music industry.
Not many are able to achieve this feat and Gauhar Jaan surely deserves a tribute.