Gavri Devi (1920-1988)
Legendary singer late Gavri Devi of Jodhpur, specially known for her singing style of Maand santr Bikaner Royal family. Trained by her parents, she adapted to her unique style of singing and became most succeessful and deserving singer of Maand Gayaki. She kept singing post her marriage and traveled in India and abroad. Rajmata Sahiba knew that she was the best singer for the academy. She performed with the academy and even traveled with us to Russia in the year 1986 for Festival of India, organised by ICCR [Indian Council for Cultural Relations].
Lakha Khan Manganiyar
Lakha Khan is one of the last few Manganiyars who has mastered the complex instrument called Sindhi sarangi to carry forward the centuries-old musical tradition of Rajasthani folk and Sufi music. He was introduced to Rajmata sa by Late Shri Komal Kothari, Padma Bhushan Awardee; for the academy and has been performing since then.
A living legend, Lakha Khan is not only a maestro on the Sindhi sarangi, he sings fluently in Sindhi, Punjabi, Hindi, Marwari and a variety of dialects. His knowledge and skill spanning the divide between folk and classical music. An old school traditional artist yet open to world music Lakha ji performs extensively across Rajasthan and India, and internationally. He has been awarded with National and International awards including Sangeet Natak Academy Award.
Umar Mohammad from Jodhpur, is Raj nagarchi, and plays Nagara for Jodhpur Royal family.
His family has been in service with the royal family since the last 9 generations. He was hand picked by Rajmata sahiba when she started her academy in 1986. He is one of the very few Nagarchis who sings and plays nagara at the same time. He was awarded with the State Award for the same by Rajasthan Govt.
He is being felicitated with Veer Shiromani Rao Udaji Rathor, Marwad Rajput Sabha, Mehrangarh Durg Samman, Bhuvalka Jan kalyan Trust Puruskar, Marudhara Kolkata, 2018.
Mastered in Sociology from the Bombay University, Nandini Mahesh was a lecturer in Elphinstone college. She studied Hindustani classical vocals at the Mumbai branch of Bhatkhande Vidya Peeth, Lucknow. Later she studied light classical from Smt. Shobha Gurtu and also studied under Smt. Manik Bhide of Jaipur Atrauli gharana, for a short period. Nandini was a very active member of SPICMACAY, Mumbai through which she worked towards enhancing cultural awareness among school and college students.
In 1987, at a workshop on Ethno-musicology, NCPA, she first heard Padma Bhushan Komal Kothari talk about the Manganiyars, the community she then chose as her subject of research. It was at this workshop that she met Padmashree Late Rajmata Govardhan Kumari of Santrampur. Nandini joined the Gangaur Ghoomar Dance Academy in year 1988. She was taught ghoomar songs by Rajmata sa personally and she was a part of the academy as the lead vocalist for over two years. Her research on Manganiyars culminated in a documentary on the unique community titled “Echoes from the deserts”.
Niyaz Khan has been with the academy since the year 1994. Born and brought up in Badmer, Rajasthan and belonging to manganiyar community, music was passed on to him in the traditional way. He is an excellent Dholak and Dhol player. He has been attached to many musical groups and travels extensively in India and abroad.
Achar Khan manganiyar from Khiyan village near Jaisalmer, plays Murli [an intrument which mostly is played by snake charmers, and also known as been ] Shehenai, Algoja, Flute and Morchang. He has been with academy since 1994.
Nishtha, a voice over artist and former R.J. with radio Mirchi did her Masters in English Literature. She has been working in Learning and Development linked with various corporate houses.
She joined the academy in year the 1998 as a singer. Late H.H. Rajmata Goverdhan Kumariji guided her in traditional singing to support Pratiba Naitthani for performances. Currently a homemaker and settled in Delhi, Nishtha travels at every possible opportunity with the academy.
Asin khan manganiyar from a nearby village of Jodhpur, plays Sarangi and sings along with it. Trained traditionally by his family, he travels extensively all over the world. He has been with the academy since 2008.
Zaheer son of Niyaz Khan, plays Dholak, Dhol, Khartaal, Morchang and Harmonium. At a very young age he started learning Dholak and Dhol from his father. Zaheer’s versatility has taken him Internationally and brought him opportunities in Bollywood. He is a balance of traditional art form passed on from generation to generation and opens new horizons of world music.
Aadil Khan Meer
Nineteen year old Aadil is son of Umar Mohammad. He started learning Nagara from his father when he was 10 years old. Studying in class 11, Aadil plays Nagara, Dholak, Tabla, Khartaal and Morchang. Talented Aadil has begun his journey in the world of music and performs in festivals and functions whenever he gets time from his studies. He is one of the few young Nagara players in Rajasthan and wishes to follow his father’s footsteps and take his family’s tradition of 9 generations ahead.