Updated Files: Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan

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A few days ago I posted Volume 53 of the Music Pakistan series which features the singing of Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali KhanAs mentioned many times already about the Music Pakistan series, a number of tracks on about 7 of the discs are completely unlistenable—damaged beyond repair during the (somewhat shoddy) production process.

Well as so happens from time to time, a reader of the blog reached out with the following message:

When I listened to this great release on the Music Pakistan series by Bade Ghulam Ali Khan, I found the Bhopali track very familiar. On investigation it seems I can help you, as all the music you posted from this CD was previously available and I have pristine digital versions of all the tracks…

Talk about tantalising! Of all the corrupted CDs in the box set this volume was the one I regretted the most. And here was someone claiming to have not just listenable and identical versions but pristine copies!

Well, I replied to the mysterious gentleman who shall go only by the initials ‘ljf‘.  And over the course of a couple of emails he laid out his amazing detective work which he’s agreed for me to share.

According to ‘ljf’: Most of the recordings seem to have been digitised from LP’s or 78 RPM’s as there are plenty of pops and crackles, but they are still quite listenable. Almost all the recordings of Bade Ghulam Ali that I have are of poorish technical quality, except for the few LP tracks that he recorded.

A few years ago, on the usual commercial digital  websites like Amazon etc, you could get a download “album” called “Hindustani Classicals Indian Classical Vocal Music” by Bade Ghulam as well as other similar albums by several other artists from around the same era like Gangubai Hangal amongst others (attached is cover from this digital download). They were from a company called NAV Records in 2015. These downloads were in MP3 format and now all seem to have disappeared from the commercial download websites. Mostly these recordings came from Akashvani Sangeet or Doordarshan CD’s released by AIR. This is also true for this digital download of Bade Ghulam from NAV records, which had 19 tracks. The first 9 tracks came from 3 Akashvani Sangeet CD’s (C-ARCH)H 36-38 , but I could never figure out where the other 10 tracks came from. Now I know, because these are exactly the same 10 tracks as on your Music Pakistan CD !

As to the source of these 10 tracks, none are new material, all were previously released on LP, EP or 78 RPM. Tracks 1 & 3, Bhopali & Kamode came from an LP LKDR 1 released in 1970 by EMI-Pakistan called simply “Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan”. This LP has been posted on Tawfiq’s blog a while ago and the covers stated that the music came from Radio Pakistan broadcasts (this LP has also been released by EMI-Pakistan as a digital download, with the same mastering as the original LP). The other tracks came mainly from Gramophone Company of India 78 RPM’s recorded in 1948 which were later re-released on LP’s. Incidentally track 4 labelled as a Piloo thumri is I believe in Manj Khamaj. Likewise track 5 labelled as Raag Kajri is actually a kajri in Raag Bhairavi.

Probably the most interesting track is the Bhopali from the EMI-Pakistan LP. Actually the version on your Music Pakistan CD is slightly different to that released  on the LP. There’s absolutely no doubt it is from the same live performance, but your version is around 1:30 minutes longer than on the EMI-Pakistan LP version (and also on the corresponding digital download). It took me a while to realise that this is a different edit to the version released on the LP. The sound is clearer, though there is more background noise and a section around 1:30 minutes long (starting around 4:00 minutes) has been cut out for the version issued on the LP. Quite exactly what has been going on here is not exactly clear, as it seems likely that some editing has been carried out in India and some in Pakistan. The longer version has some coughing on behalf of Bade Ghulam, and possibly this has been cut out and is the reason for the shortened version making its appearance on the LP.

Attached is a pdf file with a track by track listing of the original  sources for the Shalimar RBC CD. I stress that though the source recording is the same, it seems that these have been all reedited for the Shalimar release. This may have entailed going back to the original 78 RPM’s /EP and re-transcribing them in digital format. I don’t know if
they had access to the original Radio Pakistan recording (presumably done on acetate discs?) but it seems likely as it is around 1:30 longer than on the EMI-Pakistan LP.

Track by track source material for CD Music Pakistan

So here you go folks! Pristine Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan.

LINK

 

The Big Man: Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan

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Continuing with the Music Pakistan CD Box Set, today we share the playable part of Vol. 53.  If you’ve followed this blog and are aware of the Music Pakistan Box Set you’ll know that about 7 of the original CDs were very poorly reproduced.  To the point of being unlistenable. Some tracks were so corrupted by clicks and cracks and other distortion, they rendered the music completely unlistenable.  Other tracks simply don’t play.

And sadly, this is the case for this volume. Of the 10 tracks only 4 are not completely damaged. Luckily, they include a complete rendition of Raga Bhopali and a few other morsels.  Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan himself needs no introduction to lovers of Hindustani gayaki.  Claimed by both India and Pakistan as a native son (and both are true!) Bade Ghulam Ali Khansahib is truly the Big Man of classical Hindustani vocal singing of the first half of the 20th century.

I’ve included a complete set list below but remember, only the first four tracks are presentable.  I’ve also had to improvise a cover for the CD as the original is missing as well.

With those (hopefully acceptable caveats) I present to you volume 53 of Music Pakistan Box Set.

KHUB!

Music Pakistan Nr.53 Classical Vocal

Track Listing:

53-01 Raag Bhopali – Tit Bitat Ghan

53-02 Raag Peelo – Saiyaan Bolo

53-03 Raag Kamode – Chadde Mora Aanchal

53-04 Raag Peelo Thumri – Kankar Maar Jagaiye

53-05 Raag Kajri – Nainan Morey Taras Gayay

53-06 Raag Kedara – Naveli Naar

53-07 Raag Gujri Todi – Bhor Bhai Tori

53-08 Raag Paraj – Latkhat Chalat

53-09 Raag Malkauns – Mandir Dekh

53-10 Raag Jaijaivanti – Un Ki

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Gharanon ki Gayaki: Roshan Ara Begum

Roshan Ara Begum

Roshan Ara Begum

The girl who would one day be known as Roshan Ara Begum was born in Calcutta, the great cultural capital of Bengal, in or around 1916. Her real name was Wahid-un-Nissa. Her mother Chanda Begum was in those days a well-known singer, who early on spotted in her daughter the singing talent. Consequently, the young Wahid-un-Nissa was sent to one Mumtaz Hussein and then to one Laddan Khan for vocal training. The child was precocious, but even then it took 10 full years of rigorous practice before she was ready for the stage.

 

In those days Calcutta was the center of artistic life in North India, owing to its status as the first British-colonial city in the land. This is where some of the first Indian films were made; this is also where HMV’s first recordings of Indian vocalists took place. (The first Indian singer ever to be recorded was a famous courtesan by the name of Gauhar Jaan Calcutta-wali.)

 

It was in this busy and bustling Calcutta that the young Roshan Ara Begum made her singing debut. At once she was noticed: her incredible command of raags and the lightning-fast speed with which she rendered them marked her out as a discernibly accomplished singer. And at such a young age! Instantly she began to tour the country, lighting up mehfils in Bihar and Bengal. In those days she was singing everything: raags as well as thumris, ghazals and geets, and was recording at all the big radio stations of India. Her name was announced on the radio as ‘Bombay-wali Roshan Ara Begum’ because she had married a Punjabi police officer who was stationed in those days at Bombay. (It is said that they lived in a large colonial bungalow.)

Abdul Karim Khan

Khansahib Abdul Karim Khan

 

It is around this time, in the early 1930s, that the great Ustad Abdul Karim Khan, a singular and eccentric genius of his generation of singers, heard the young woman’s rendition of Raag Multani and decided to take her under his wing. So, at the peak of her career, Roshan Ara  humbly submitted herself to the ageing Ustad’s mentorship. She learned from him for just a few years, but it was enough to give her the golden polish of the Kirana Gharana’s style of singing, in which sur or ‘truth of intonation’ stands above every other aim.

 

In the 1940s Roshan Ara  was singing for radio as well as film. Just before Partition, she had scored a hit with her song ‘Des ki pur kaif rangin si fizaaein’, which was part of the score for film ‘Jugnu’, in which the young Noor Jehan had acted. (Noor Jehan was insanely jealous of Roshan Ara ’s singing abilities. But her jealousy is said to have vanished on the day she met Roshan Ara, who was unusually sweet and generous in appearance as well as demeanour.)

 

The Partition of the Indian subcontinent flung Roshan Ara far away from her cosmopolitan life. She ended up residing with her husband at Lalamusa, a small, nondescript town in West Punjab. It was here that Roshan Ara spent the rest of her life. A citizen now of Pakistan, she would come down to Lahore to participate in concerts. In Pakistan too she was widely accepted as the best and brightest of singers. Her renditions in particular of the raags Shankara, Shuddh Kalyan, Maru Bihag and Kedara were awe-inspiring. [All are captured in these volumes]

 

nat02In fact, if there was any comparison to be made with a contemporary of hers, it was with Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan. I remember one occasion on which the two great singers happened to share a stage. It was one of Radio Lahore’s annual Jashn-e-Baharan festivals of the 1950s, and it spanned over 7 days. On the first day Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan rendered his favourite Raag Malkauns with full vigour and strength, and after him Roshan Ara  sang her own favourite Raag Shankara with zeal and aplomb. The audience was riveted by both performances; there was no agreement about whose song was superior. The next evening Roshan Ara was scheduled to sing first, and she picked Raag Basant. Now it was the month of March, and Lahore was drenched in the smells and colors of spring. Roshan Ara ’s rendition of the taunting-joyous raag seemed to dance with the elements, and was so enchanting that the audience threw flowers on her while she was singing. Next up was Bade Ghulam Ali, and though he tried his very best to continue in that vein of delicacy and enchantment with an accomplished rendition of Raag Kafi Kanra, he could not even enter, let alone break, the spell cast by his magical predecessor. In the end the great Ustad was compelled to praise and bless Roshan Ara Begum before the audience; and she stooped to his knees in a gesture of humility and graciousness.

 

Unlike other famous women singers of the time, Roshan Ara Begum was not physically beautiful. She was short, dark and fat, and had a large nose. But everyone agreed that when she began to sing, her voice, which had in it the essence of womanhood, would issue from her mouth like a sacred light and transform her whole appearance, giving her a luster that can only be described as queenly. That she was eventually bestowed with the title of ‘Malika-e-Mauseeqi’ (Empress of Music) is a testament not only to her singing talent but also to the effect it had on her audiences, who became her subjects of sorts.

 

Towards the end of her life Roshan Ara Begum spent more and more time in Lalamusa. The dark age of General Zia-ul-Haq had begun, and musicians of all kinds were adversely affected by the new religious-minded agenda that was being peddled on radio and television. At home Roshan Ara spent time with birds, cats and all the other animals that she kept as pets. In a TV interview from that time, when asked to comment on the potential of young singers in Pakistan, she replied that the new generation was too impatient and distracted to pursue the musical tradition. And indeed she was right: when she died in 1984, a whole era of superior singing came to an end, not just in Pakistan but in the whole of the Indian subcontinent. [from Friday Times]

 

Kirana Gharana

 

The origin of the Kirana gharana is shrouded in an air of mystery and, to some extent, controversy. It is generally believed that Gopal Nayak, a contemporary of Amir Khusrau, is the fountainhead of the gharana. He lived on the banks of the Jumna River in a town called Dutai. Later, when Dutai was ravaged by floods he moved inland to Kirana, a small town in the Muzaffarnagar district. He is believed to have embraced Islam. Four different offshoots of the Kirana dynasty are claimed to have descended from him. One of the branches boasts of great names like Ustad Azim Baksh, Maula Baksh and Abdul Ghani Khan. The second branch is studded with names like Ustad Bande Ali Khan, Nanne Khan, Kale Khan and the legendary Ustad Abdul Karim Khan. Yet another offshoot includes in its Kirana lineage the names of Gafoor Khan, Abdul Wahid Khan, Shakoor Khan, Mashkoor Ali and Mubarak Ali. Finally, the distinguished family tradition of Mehboob Baksh, Rehman Khan, Abdul Majid Khan, Abdul Hamid Khan, Abdul Bashir Khan, followed by his sons Niaz Ahmed and Fayyaz Ahmed Khan, express their allegiance to the Kirana tradition.

 

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Gangubai Hangal

The precise roots of the gharana are lost in antiquity and shrouded with controversy. There are some who believe that Ustad Abdul Karim Khan is the true fountainhead of Sawai Gandharva, Roshanara Begum, Balkhshnabuva Kapileshwari, Behrebuva, Sureshbabu Mane and Hirabai Barodekar. From this mainstream of Ustad Abdul Karim Khan, in turn, came Pandit Sawai Gandharva whose centenary was recently celebrated with great fete in Bombay, and the ranks of the gharana have swelled, majestically. The leading lights include Gangubai Hangal, Pandit Bhimsen Joshi, Pandit Feroze Dastoor, Dr Prabha Atre and Pandit Sangame-shwar Gaurav. Among their disciples, Krishna Hangal Shrikant Deshpande, Madhav Gudi, Narayanrao Deshpande, Ramkrishna Patwardhan, Milind Chittal and Alka Joglekar have already made their mark and ensured the continued popularity of the gharana.

 

This phenomenal popularity has been achieved through the characteristic expansive alapchari which unfolds the raga note by note with tantalising languor. The induction of sargams was another alankar which Abdul Karim Khan inducted into Hindustani music with a Carnatic flair. Admittedly, the gharana has undergone a vigorous transformation with the vibrant personality of Pandit Bhimsen Joshi, who has brought into play his own stylistic nuances. It is obvious that the Kirana gharana is riding the wave of popularity. the gharana and the lineage that emanates from him is the main stream of the gharana, while the rest are tributaries. Be that as it may, it is an incontrovertible fact that the Kirana gharana remains the most popular and prolific in the sheer number of its practitioners on the contemporary scene. Ustad Abdul Karim Khan ushered in a new era of romanticism in the rendition of Hindustani classical music which was captivating because it was at once sweet, soothing, serene and sensuous. Although the Ustad’s own singing seemed to lack fullbodied masculine sonorousness, his romanticism won for the Kirana gharana a strong following which included names that have become legends. (Saxonian Folkways)

ghar 5

Track Listing Vol 5:

01 Bhibhas

02 Jaunpuri

03 Basant

04 Bahar

GkGv5RABegum

ghar 6

Track Listing Vol 6:

01 Lalit

02 Bhatiyar

03 Maru Behag

04 Adana

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ghar 7

Track Listing Vol. 7:

01 Kamod

02 Shudh Kalyan

03 Kalavati

04 Anandi

GkGv7RABegum

ghar 8 

Track Listing Vol 8:

01 Des

02 Shankara

03 Nai Ki Kanra

04 Jhinjhoti

GvGv8RABegum

 

 

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.