Another old favourite tape. This from the man who was my first introduction to ghazal. I was given a live recording in the early 80s of Anup Jalota singing to a very appreciative audience in Fiji. I had just started grad school and was getting my head around Urdu, the language of the ghazal. I found that a great way to build up my vocabulary and understanding of some phraseology and idiom was to listen to Anup Jalota on my Walkman as I trod through the knee-deep snow at the University of Minnesota.
Through the 80’s Jalota was a hugely popular ghazal singer, ranking in sales with Jagjit Singh and later Pankaj Udhas all across South Asia and far into the diaspora, as that first record demonstrated. Later, and for the rest of his career he dedicated himself to singing bhajans for which he earned the title Bhajan Samraat (Emperor of Bhajans) from his record company and fans.
A Punjabi born into a musical family associated with the Sham Chaurasi gharana (school) of classical singing, Anup Jalota was trained and lived for many years in Lucknow. I always considered his tapes, at least up to about 1987, to be a class or two above the very populist Pankaj Udhas. His diction and pronunciation was perfect and he had an andaaz (style of delivery) that was unique. To the non-native Urdu speaker his clear presentation of the lyrics made the whole overwhelming world of Urdu poetry extremely accessible. And whereas Udhas’s ghazals were unabashedly popular, aimed at the genuinely shaarbi (drinkers) market, Jalota’s music had a touch of class. He sang the poems of some of the best poets and always treated the ghazal with reverence and respect.
This tape was one of a handful I played throughout my year in Pakistan as a student of Urdu. It has the outstanding ghazal Tumhare Shaher ka mausam by Qaisar ul Jafri in which Jalota gives an absolutely riveting vocal workout to his rapt audience. One of my favourite moments of South Asian popular music.
Isn’t it great to revisit old tunes?!
01 Introduction (Hazri Ne Mehfil)
02 Tumhare Shehar Ka Mausam
03 Bhool Jana Tha To Phir
04 Aya Tha Ghar Sanwarne
05 Tute Hue Khabon Ke Chubhan
06 Apni Tanhai Ki Palkon
07 Woh Chandni Ka Badan