Meerabai of Bengal

Curated by: Ashlesha Shintre

This exhibition showcases recordings from the archive of her son-in-law, Shree Partho Sarothy, the renowned Sarod player. She is fondly remembered as Meerabai of Bengal.

One of the foremost students of Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan, Meera Banerjee is considered a torch bearer of the Patiala gharana. Meera Banerjee was born on the 28th of March 1930 in Meerut, Uttar Pradesh. She was initially trained in music by her father, Shailendra Kumar Chaterjee and, for a short period of time, from Shri Chinmoy Lahiri. An All India Radio artist at the age of 13, she was honored with the title of Gitashree a year later.

First track is a rendition of the bandish, peeki suratiya, in Raga Kedar.

Baithak Foundation · Raga Kedar by Meera Banerjee

In 1950 she began learning from Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan. Her training continued for 18 years and she went on to become one of the most prolific artists from the Patialia gharana excelling in Khayal as well as Thumri. The Ustad once remarked that when Meera sang, it meant profound satisfaction for the entire soul. Second track is a rendition of Raga Miyan ki Todi.

Baithak Foundation · Raga Miyan Ki Todi by Meera Banerjee

In her long and illustrious career, she received many honors. The Dover Lane Music Award, Bhuwalka Award from the Saurabh Academy, G L Mehta Award in 2003, Siddheshwari Award, Swar Siddhi Award, ITC Award from the ITC Sangeet Research Academy in 1996 and the Paschim Banga Rajya Academy award in 1999, to name a few. Mrs Kashalkar recalls Meera-ji encouraging students more like an indulgent grandmother than an examiner at the ITC Sangeet Research Academy in Kolkata.

Vidushi Meera Banerjee passed away on the 27 June 2012, in Kolkata.

Here is a recording of Meera Ji singing a Bangla Dhun in Raga Des.

Baithak Foundation · Bangla Dhun by Meera Banerjee

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