For those who have yet to be introduced to bhajans, these are Hindi devotional songs with little to no fixed form. These songs can be as simple as a well-known mantra or as complex as a dhrupad that, in turn, is heavily influenced by classical talas and ragas. As can be implied from its name, these songs express love for the Divine and, thus, are usually lyrical in nature.
These religious songs have several common subjects including but not limited to descriptions of the gods in the Hindu pantheon, the teachings of the saints, and the verses from the scriptures. There are several well-respected pieces of Hindi devotional songs by famous singers but none are as well-known and as well-loved as the Lata Mangeshkar bhajans – and for good reasons, too.
For those who are not acquainted with the great Lata Mangeshkar, she is considered as one of the best, if not the best, playback singers in India. Considering the hundreds of singers, both established and aspiring, in the vast nation, being called one of the best is certainly a great privilege. She has been conferred the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian honor because of her contributions to the music industry, both in the country and in the international scene.
The first of many Lata Mangeshkar bhajans was her rendition of “Maata Tere Charnon Mein” for the 1945 Hindi language movie, Badi Maa. Since then, Lata has continued to enthral her audiences in the local and international venues with her renditions of original songs as well as classical tunes.
What makes Lata Mangeshkar’s renditions of Hindi devotional songs stand out from the rest? Her secret lies in her evident passion for music, in her melodious and sweet voice, and in her personal charisma. Her voice has been dubbed as the Most Perfect in the world after a graph of her singing voice was recorded at the Royal Albert Hall.
Lata’s voice is also different than the treble range that previously dominated the playback industry in India. Where others had heavy nasal voices, she has an unusually high-pitched voice that evokes the sound of angels and saints singing in the heavens. Add her passion for singing Hindi devotional songs and you will be hooked on her style of music.