Early Life of Rita Ganguly
Rita Ganguly has won the most esteemed honour of being the first 'Gandaband Shagird' chosen by the Queen of Thumri, Sidheshwari Devi. At that time she was receiving training under the illustrious Badshah of Bhava Shambhu Maharaj. Pandit Mani Prasad of Kirana Gharana has also given her training and she moulded her voice to cut across the octaves of Khayal. For over nine years, which is quite long, she underwent training under the legendary guidance of Begum Akhtar of Ghazal gayaki. She has also learnt the traits of Patiala Gharana.
Today she has been counted as one among the few-noted musicians who still today attempts to continue and circularize the traditional modes of music. Rita Ganguly has taken initiative to uphold the traditional Thumri, Dadra, Tappa, Hori, Chaiti and Ghazal and associated forms of music. By this attempt of her, she has immensely contributed to the domain of Indian classical music. She has been regarded as the torch bearer in the realm of music. Her works surpasses the sensuous experience to caress the heights of Sufism.
Career of Rita Ganguly
The range of music that she covers through her execution are from the verses of noted poets like Mirza Ghalib to the Jadeed Shayer Firaq Gorakhpuri, Kaifi Azmi, Faiz, Faraz, Amir Kazalbash to the traditional Meer Taki Meer. One of the unique gifts that she has given to the domain of music to enrich is her vantage for 'Nazms'. The range of skills she caters countenances exquisite well-rounded compositions of Kavitas by Mahadevi Verma, Aggay, and Amrita Pritam - through the confluence of intuitive art and cautious craft. All these reflect her obsession for poetry.
By keeping the repertoire intact, Rita Ganguly in recent time has launched an album that contains Shakti Chattopadhyay's poem 'Jete Paari' adding the famous 'Oboni Bari Aacho', translated through the medium of Ghazal. Rita Ganguly in many occasions has been selected to represent the Indian culture. She has performed at the music festivals of India held in France and UK along with in the countries like USSR, USA, Germany, Denmark, Switzerland, Italy, Canada, South America, China, Africa, Australia, Israel, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, and Bangladesh and Afghanistan.
Probably in all the occasions she has fetched appreciation. With her mellifluous voice, bearing melody and momentum, she has been bewitching her audiences. The Ford Foundation has offered her the Fellowship to search for her musical roots, which were deep seated among the traditional singing women. She has founded 'Kaladharmi', a non-profit organization with an aim of promoting the young aspirant talents in the realm of performing arts. Over the past couples of years, this organization through many programmes aims at promoting these talents. She has also established BAAG (Begum Akhtar Academy Of Ghazals), which has been considered as only one Ghazal institute in India. This institution is consecrated for the promotion of Ghazal Gayaki.
Musical Genres of Rita Ganguly
Rita Ganguly apart from being the classical vocalist has also researched in an extensive manner on the Sufism and Sufi Saints like Baba Bulleshah, Kabir, Lalon Fakir and Meera. Depending on this research she to her credit has conducted a multi-media production with alliance of the artists from Bangladesh, USA, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Pakistan. Their main aim was to immortalize India's fiftieth anniversary. This programme was staged all over India.
In a very recent time, she is playacting in "Begum Akhtar", which is an 'ekal' on the life and work of her guru, the legendary Begum Akhtar. She made this work in order to place tribute to this first lady of Ghazal. In this ekal, she attempted to unfold the story of Begum Akhtar- highs and lows, the agony and ecstasy of her life. She has exhibited this at the India Habitat Center Delhi, International Theatre Festival NSD Delhi, Nehru Center Festival Mumbai, several shows in Bangladesh and Nandikar Theatre Festival Kolkata. In every place, her show received high acclamation. The show received resonating success throughout. Acknowledging the success of this show McMillan has selected Prof. Rita Ganguly to write book on the Begum. Her book "Bismillah Khan and Benaras - the seat of Shehnai", was a best-seller in the year 1995. Cosmopolitan Publications published the book.
Achievements of Rita Ganguly
As recognition to her amazing proficiency in the realm of music, she has been conferred one of the highest prestigious civilian award given by the Government of India, Padma Shri in the year 2003. In the year 2000 she was awarded with prestigious Academy Award. Other awards conferred to her are Rajiv Gandhi Shiromany Award in 1999, Critic Circle of India Award 1998, Malika-E-Mousiqui Award of Bangladesh in 1993 and Delhi State Award in 1975.