Gauhar Jaan : Google Doodle honours Gramophone Girl

Gauhar Jaan Google Doodle honours Gramophone Girl
Gauhar Jaan

Gauhar JaanGauhar Jaan, who is known as the Gramophone Girl, was remembered by Google on Tuesday, which dedicated its latest Google doodle to the legendary Indian singer and dancer her 145th birth anniversary.

Gauhar Jaan was one of the first performers to record music on 78 rpm records in India. She was one of the first performers to be signed by the famous Gramophone Company in India, giving her the name ‘the Gramophone Girl’.

Gauhar Jaan, the classical singer, known for her ‘high-pitched and flirtatious’ voice, is still a famous name when it comes to Hindustani/North Indian classical vocalists.

 Gauhar Jaan was born on 26th June 1873, in present-day UP’s Azamgarh, under the name of Angelina Yeoward,. Her father, Robert William Yeoward, worked as an engineer in a dry ice factory. He married her mother, Victoria Hemmings in 1872, who was famous Kathak dancer and singer. However, their marriage didn’t work out and Gauhar Jaan’s parents got divorced. After separation, Victoria Hemmings moved to Benaras along with a Muslim nobleman and adopted an Indian name, Malka Jaan.

 Both mother and daughter, Malka Jaan and Gauhar Jaan established themselves in the courts of Nawab Wajid Ali Shah. In 1887,  Gauhar Jaan  performed at the royal courts of Darbhanga Raj in 1887 and later she was appointed as a court musician.  Gauhar Jaan was also awarded the title of ‘first dancing girl’ in her records. She also composed ghazals under the pen-name of ‘Hamdam’.

In her lifetime, Gauhar Jaan recorded more than 600 records from 1902 to 1920, in more than ten languages, including Bengali, Hindustani, Marathi, Arabic, Persian, Gujarati, Tamil,  Pushto, French, and English.

 Gauhar Jaan met Gujarati Parsi theatre artist Amrit Keshav Nayak around 1904-1905 and had a brief relationship with him before his sudden death in 1907. Amrit helped her recover from trauma following death of her mother.

Gauhar Jaan was  passed away on 17th January, 1930.