TODAY -

Yumlembam Gambhini Devi
- Padmashree Awardee - 2005 in the field of Dancing and Singing -

By Donny Luwang Meisnam *


If there is any dancer and singer who left the audiences completely mesmerized by her astonishing performances, it is Yumlembam Gambhini of Manipur. Her performance be it Dances or Songs leaves the audience with an impression inside and outside the country and that is the reason today she has reached a height of success that is difficult to obtain since she is the first woman of the state to get the prestigious 'Top' grade artist of All India Radio (AIR), Imphal in Nat Sankirtan Music (Vocal), 2008.

A very young looking Yumlembam Gambhini Devi


Born on 1st January, 1945, Yumlembam Gambhini belongs to a family with sound background in both dancing and singing. Her father Late Y. Gulap Singh was a professional Nat Sankirtana and Sangeet artiste. Married to Late Konsam Thopi Singh who was also an instructor of Song and Drama Division Imphal, Gambhini have come a long way and is fortunate in being in an atmosphere conductive to her talent.

Her stage performances earned her name and appreciation when she was young which served as an inspiration to her. Behind her success, however, there is unflinching perseverance, hard work and talent.

Yumlembam Gambhini who dedicated her life in dancing and singing was a Guruhan (Senior Guru), Sutradhari, at the Department of Ras, Jawaharlal Nehru Manipur Dance Academy (INMDA), Imphal and was retired in 2005 and presently serving the academy as a visiting guru.

And she is also imparting Nat Sankirtan and Sangeet to young artistes who are keen to learn this form of music from as far places as Bangladesh, Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Guwahati, Agartala, etc.

From the beginning when she was only 5 years of age, she took various training from several remarkable gurus of the state who are expert in the field of dancing and singing. For Nat Sangeet, she took training from prominent gurus like Shri. Kh. Gulapi Singh, Sangeet Ratna and Senior Guru and Head of Department of Nat Sankirtan, JNMDA, Shri K. Abhiram Sharma, Padamshree and visting guru, JNMDA, Shri Ng. Jogendra Singh (Joy Patra recipient) and Kalachand Shastri, Padmashree.

While she got training for Ras Dance from Guru Amudon Sharma, Sangeet Natak Akademi (SNA) Awardee, Guru Maisnam Amubi, SNA Awardee and Padmashree, Shri Khaidem Lokeshor Singh, SNA Awardee, Smt. Kshetritombi Devi, SNA Awardee and Shri Ngangom Jogendra Singh and Shri Ibopishak Sharma, SNA Awardee. She also received training for Monoharsai Kirtan from Shri Nongmaithem Tomba Singh, Shri Khanda Moina Dan trained, Shri Ngangom Jogendra Singh and Thokchom Gopal Singh.

Receiving Padmashree Award from President of India Dr. Abdul Kalam


Her efficiency and ability gained from these training earned her great respect. She is the recipient of many awards and honours both within the country and aboard. She received the prestigious award - Nritya Ratna Award in Manipuri Dance of Manipuri Sahitya Parishad 1979, Sangeet Natak Akademi Award (Nat Sankirtan), New Delhi 1988, Nat Sangeet Award of Manipur State Kala Akademi, 1980, Senior Fellowship of the Department of Culture, Minitry of Human Resource Development, New Delhi 1988.

3 Gold Medals of Khubak Eshei (A Form of Nat Sankirtana), 13 Silver Medals for presenting Nat Sankirtana from different parts of India, 4 Gold Medals for presenting Basak ( A form of Nat Sankirtana) from Tripura, Silchar, Guwahati and Bangladesh. And her contribution and dedication in the field of Dancing and Singing, she has been awarded Padmashree in the year 2005 by the President of India.

Gambhini's name has come in the The Directory of Indian Women Today 1976, published by the Indian International Publication and Famous India Nation's Who's and Who, 1978 as well as in the Reference Asia 1989 5th Edition, published by the Refacimento International.

Yumlembam Gambhini has been singing Nat Sankirtana and Sangeet continuously for 47 years in and outside Manipur not only that she has been participating in Ras Leelas held in the Mandap of Shri Shri Govindajee Temple since the early age of nine and also been rendering vocal accompaniment to numberless solo performances of classical Manipuri dance for the cause of Nat Sankirtana and Sangeet.

She also served as member of Selection Committee, Rabindra Bharati University, Kolkata and member of Central Dance Audition Board of Doordarshan, New Delhi.

She was also an Executive Member of Committee on celebration of 200th death Anniversary of Rajashree Bhagyachandra. She was of the view that art cannot be weighed in money, nor can it be compensated by it. And she politely declined these offers and chose to remain a commoner till date solely devoted to her art.



View a Gallery of Yumlembam Gambhini Devi here :: Part 1 | Part 2 .


* Donny Luwang Meisnam is a young Manipuri writer / reporter based at Imphal. He contributes regularly to e-pao.net.
This article was webcasted at e-pao.net on 03rd July 2009.


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