Girija Devi was an Indian classical singer of the Seniya and Banaras gharanas which is also known as Varanasi-a city on the bank of the river Ganges in Uttar Pradesh, India.
She performed classical and light classical music and helped elevate the profile of thumri. Her father played the harmonium and taught music. He had Girija take lessons in singing khyal and tappa from vocalist and sarangi player Sarju Prasad Misra at the age of five. She starred in the movie Yaad rahe and continued her studies under Chand Misra in a variety of styles.
Girija made her public debut in 1949 on All India Radio Allahabad after marrying a businessman circa 1946 but faced opposition from her mother and grandmother because it was traditionally believed that no upper-class woman should perform publicly. She often toured and continued to perform in 2009. Her repertoire included the semi-classical genres kajri, chaiti, holi and she sang kyal, Indian film music and tappa.
The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians once stated that her semi-classical singing combined her classical training with the regional characteristics of the songs of Bihar and eastern Uttar Pradesh. She passed away on 24 October 2017 following a cardiac arrest at the BM Birla Heart Research Centre in Kolkata at the age of 88.
Here are some of her best songs:
Ras Ke Bhare
Kali Badariyan Barse