Thank you to a reader of this blog for pointing out that in wrapping up this series of 20 volumes of classical singing from Pakistan I have neglected Volume 18! And he is right! Apologies for that!
I had the pleasure of hearing Ustad Fateh Ali Khan, one of the featured voices on this volume, in an openair concert in Karachi several years ago. He was a mesmerising presence. I remember he sang an old raga Malkauns and held the audience in the palm of his hand. He sat tall and straight holding his swarmandal in his lap. With eyes closed he started slowly sometimes seeming to do nothing more than groan. But as he sang on the intensity and urgency built and before long his eyes were fully dilated and his open palm at the end of his long extended arm rising and falling with drama. This was the first I had heard him and of course he stole the show. A genuine master for whom the title ustad is absolutely appropriate.
Bearing the same name as one of the all time great singers of gayaki Fateh Ali Khan‘s life is less well known and documented than his namesake and brother of Amanat Ali Khan. Even more so his brother and singing partner Hameed Ali Khan. So sadly, I’m not able to share many biographical details with you but then again, probably if you asked them, they would refer you back to the music anyway.
The brothers were proponents of the Gwalior gharana (the other Fateh Ali Khan and Hamid Ali Khan belong to the Patiala gharana) about which I’ve provided a bit of information in earlier posts. But here is another take on that old school of singing which you might enjoy as well.
And so, though a bit out of chronlogical order, this series on Gharanon ki Gayaki does end with this post. I hope you’ve enjoyed it and that these recordings will accompany you on your way for many years in the future.
01. Kafi Kanra
05. Gujri Todi
06. Puriya Kalyan