The Younger Brother: Ustad Barkat Ali Khan

barkat ali

Barkat Ali Khan

Thanks to the great sleuth work of fellow blogger and music expert, one Mr. Musab  I am very chuffed to share one of the missing 10 volumes from the Music Pakistan* series: Urdu ghazals sung by Ustad Barkat Ali Khan of Kasur.

Ustad Barkat Ali Khan (1908 – 19 June 1963) was a Pakistani classical singer, younger brother of Bade Ghulam Ali Khan and elder brother of Mubarak Ali Khan, and belonged to the Patiala gharana of music.

Barkat Ali Khan was born in Kasur, in the Punjab province of then British India. He had his initial training from his father, Ali Baksh Khan Kasuri, and later by his elder brother Bade Ghulam Ali Khan. After 1947 Partition of British India, Barkat Ali Khan, with his family, migrated to Pakistan and focused on the lighter aspects of Hindustani classical music. He was widely acknowledged as one of the great exponents of Thumri, Dadra, Geet and Ghazal, and was well known for both Purab and Punjab Ang Thumris.

Many still consider him a superior thumri singer than his elder brother, though he didn’t receive acknowledgement to the extent Bade Ghulam Ali Khan did. He taught noted ghazal singer Ghulam Ali. Many people in Pakistan say that simplicity and humility were the hallmark of his personality. He started a new trend of ghazal-singing in Pakistan. Before Mehdi Hassan became known as the ‘King of ghazals’ in the 1970s, Barkat Ali Khan and Begum Akhtar were considered the stalwarts of ghazal-singing during the 1950s and 1960s. Barkat Ali Khan, in a rare live radio interview to Radio Pakistan, Lahore, had said,” My forefathers, at one time, lived in the hilly tracts of Jammu and Kashmir, so they used to sing ‘songs of the hills’ (Pahari Geet). I learned to sing those Pahari Geets from them”.

Barkat Ali sahib passed away in 1963 at a very unacceptably young age.

Track Listing:

01 – Hasti Apni Habab Ki Si Hay [Mir Taqi Mir]

02 – Ishrat e Qatra Hay Darya Main [Ghalib]

03 – Uss Bazm Main Mojhay Nahin Banti [Ghalib]

04 – Aah Ko Chahiay Ek Umr [Ghalib]

05 – Ibne Maryam Howa Karay Koi [Ghalib]

06 – Voh Aa Ke Khawb Main [Ghalib]

07 – Navake Naz Se Moshkil Hay [Amir Minai]

08 – Dono Jahan Teri Mahabbat Main [Faiz Ahmed Faiz]

09 – Ab Sawan Ghar Aaja (Thumri Tilak Kamod)

10 – Lagi Nahin Chhote (Dadra Khammach)

BARKAT

*please see previous post for a complete list of Music Pakistan CDs. all missing items are currently being sought. Any leads will be appreicated.

 

 

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Taza Hava Bahar Ki: Mehdi Hassan

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Mehdi Hassan

Mehdi Hassan needs no introduction to readers of this blog. But in case you do Wikipedia will give you a good overview. Apparently, a biography was published in 2010 but like most such obscure things, it is hard to locate on the internet.

Without further ado, here are two volumes of ghazals from the Music Pakistan Box Set (2006)

Mehdi Hassan

 

Mehdi Hassan_0003

Mehdi Hassan_0001

Vol. 1 Track Listing:

01 Taza Hawa Bahar Ki

02 Yun Na Mil Mujh Say

03 Jab Pukara Hai Tujhay

04 Abkay Hum Bichray

05 Rang Pairahan

06 Ku-Baku Phail Gaee

07 Aaye Kuch Abr Kuch

08 Jal Bhi Chukay Parwanay

09 Dekh To Dil Kay Jan Say

10 Roshan Jamal-E-Yaar Say

V1

Mehdi Hassan vol 2

Mehdi Hassan_0001

Vol. 2. Track Listing:

01 Baat Karni Mujhay

02 Chaltay Ho To Chaman

03 Hum Per Jafa

04 Mohabhat Karne Walay

05 Patta Patta Boota Boota

06 Gulon Main Rang Bharay

07 Ghuncha-E-Shauq

08 Go Zara Si Baat

09 Woh Dil Nawaz Hain Laikin

10 Nanak Andaz Jidhar

11 Tum Aaye Ho Na

12 Ulti Ho Gaeen Sab Tadbeerain

V2

 

 

The Final Show: Ustad Amanat Ali Khan

Amanat Ali

When  I came to Amanat Ali Khan‘s music–in a time long long ago and land far far away-the first song that caught my attention was Inshaji Utho. I was completely overwhelmed with what I heard. The song seemed to have just dropped out of the sky complete and perfectly formed.  It was held together and driven by a subtle synergy between rhythm, lyric and spirit.  There is a world-weariness about the song. A man at the end of his journey giving in to the eternal and inevitable.

The song, I was told by everyone, had been sung in a concert just before ustadji passed away in 1974. This information heightened the drama of the song and it has been one of my favourite ghazals ever since.

Recently I came across a recording that purported to be Amanat Ali Khan‘s final concert. I quickly looked to see if Inshaji Utho was on it. Alas, it was not. But I picked up the album anyway and I share it here today.   It is an excellent recording of a master singer at the top of his game. While Inshaji is missing, there are renditions of many other wonderful ghazals such as Yeh Arzoo Thi, Mausam Badla and an epic interpretation of the thumri, Piya Tore.

Enjoy

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Track Listing:

  1. Yeh Arzoo Thi
  2. Kab Aao Ge
  3. Mausam Badla
  4. Piya Tore
  5. Tum re Daras

LASTCONCERT

 

Lion in Winter: Talat Mahmood

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Talat Mahmood, the gentle, silken voiced ghazal master passed away nearly 20 years ago but remains a much loved voice among South Asian film and music fans.  I wrote a piece on him several years ago which provides some basic biodata of this often overlooked playback singer.

Around the same time that I wrote that article I got my hands on this album but have hesitated to share it.  Though the back cover gives a date of 1966 these tracks were clearly recorded much later. Probably in the mid-late 1980s would be my guess.

Mahmood‘s soft voice with its incredible capacity to emote melody and melancholy is instantly recognisable.  Its a voice from a bygone era. But also gone is the strength and control.  Talat sahib‘s voice wavers frequently and he struggles to hit notes that once came so effortlessly.  From time to time he slips out of key.  And for this reason I kept this record buried deep in my collection.  I didn’t want to do a disservice to the once beautiful voice by sharing a record that was clearly far below the standard he himself set.

But perhaps because I have recently passed a certain chronological milestone myself I now think differently.  We are familiar with the ‘official’ portraits of Queens, Prime Ministers and dictators which show them in that airbrushed eternal moment when they were 40. No matter that they are now twice as old and decrepit, it is this image we are supposed to remember.

I have always found this ridiculous.

Several years before the end of his fabled life Johnny Cash released a couple albums made when he was under real physical and emotional stress. That thunderous trumpet of a voice was now a hesitant near whisper.  And yet if was full of power and conviction. And in its way a necessary part of his life’s work. When I listen to those last tracks I get a complete, honest picture of Cash. If I never moved beyond Folsom Prison Blues not only would I be missing out but I would be cheating Johnny himself.  He was not ashamed of his state and never thought he should censor his voice. Why should I?

And so with Talat. He never made an excuse for not liking the direction—disco, rock n roll, electronic beats–Hindi film took in the 1980s. He settled into semi retirement and seemed content not to partake in the film world again.  But as this record shows, he never gave up on the ghazal. 

This is touching and humane record. A labor of love by Talat and his dear friend and collaborator, the arranger Enoch Daniels. It is a final hurrah of a master who is well aware of his limitations and the dimming of the day.  But it also a triumph of passion. The much weakened but still vital roar of a lion in winter.  And I am pleased at long last to finally share this collection of fine ghazals that should be part of every genuine Talat-lover’s collection.

Talat saaz front 903

Talat saaz back 904

Track Listing:

01 Kahin Sher-o-Nagma Ban ke

02 Har Ek Mod se Milta Hai Rasta Koi

03 Ghazal ke Saaz Uthao

04 Dil Hi To Hai Na Aaye Kyon

05 Main Nazar Se Piraha Hun

06 Jo Tu Nahin To

07 Gulshan Mein Leke Chal

08 Mere Saqiya Mere Dilruba

Lion

Ghazal Queen: Iqbal Bano

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Iqbal Bano

 

I read an amazing article this morning. It is an exposition on the ghazal, its dominant status in the world of serious Pakistani music and its sublime ability to express the deepest feelings of both the human and divine heart. The article includes a number of ghazalein that are interpreted by qawwals as well as ghazal singers and is definitely worth 20 minutes of your time. In fact, almost everything the writer Musab bin Noor does is worth reading.

 

As I listened to the ghazalein and reflected on the article (so full of information) my mind turned towards Iqbal Bano one of the subcontinent’s most accomplished singers who awed, excited and challenged her audience for half a century. This obituary from The Guardian provides an excellent summation of her life.

 

Indeed, with two outstanding pieces of writing like these there is little need for me to stumble around for words that do justice to the artistry of this important musical voice.

 

This selection of ghazalein is another of the gems from the treasure chest of Radio Pakistan archival material released in a massive 57 CD box set under the name Music Pakistan. If you’ve been following me around the net for the last several years you no doubt have heard of this collection. The more I listen to these CDs the more I appreciate just what a massive contribution to music they are.

 

A few years ago I wrote a piece on Iqbal Bano and shared another CD from this collection, of her singing thumris. If you’re interested I’ve updated the link there and you can enjoy that set as well!

Iqbal Bano vol 1 copy

Iqbal Bano vol 1_0001 copy

Track Listing

01 Hum baagh-e-tamanna mein

02 Ub kay hum bichhray

03 Jaaenge jeete ji

04 Tu bahar-e-naghma-e-nur

05 Mohabbat karne wale

06 Kitni taskin hai wabasta

07 Woh is ada se jo aaye

08 Ishq minnat kash-e-qarar nahin

09 Laayi hyat aaaye qaza10 Mujhe su bhula chuke hain

11 Diya hai dil agar us ko

12 Kab therega dard

13 Jis tarah tund hawa

14 Koi had nahin

Iqbal