What is Ghazal Singing? My Favourite Indian Ghazal Singers
Ghazal: A form of poetry.
When I was in my teens, it is then that I was attracted to the Ghazals and the ghazal singing. I was interested in music since my childhood. But that interest was limited to rhythm, instruments and the joy of singing. When I started understanding the lyrics, I started taking keen interest in the Ghazal singing.
What is a Ghazal :
- Ghazal is a form of poetry and the lyrics are used to express deep emotions. Those emotions can be of love and it's spiritual form, desire, longing, pain, joy, intense emotions and some heartfelt feelings and so on.
- So, it‘s important to understand the lyrics, to enjoy the ghazals or the ghazal mehfils, (the gathering for listening to the Ghazal singing).
- Great Ghazal singers have the capability to mesmerise their audience. The listener can get ecstatic, with tears of joy and deep emotions.
- It‘s an ancient form of singing, and has its origin in Arabia. Later on, it had spread in South Asia, roughly around the 12th century.
- Basically, it was influenced by the Sufi poetry, with the lyrics, mostly in Urdu, Persian or Arabic.
- But the present day Ghazal singing has evolved and transformed a lot. It has become more easy to understand and comprehend, and thus much easier to be enjoyed by the masses, who take keen interest in the Ghazals. Especially, the language has become easier to understand, and thus it can be enjoyable too.
Classical Ghazal or 'Ghazal Gayaki'
The art of singing the Ghazal or performing in front of a large audience is called, 'Ghazal Gayaki.'
It‘s sad that we do not have many records of history, about the ancient Ghazal artists.
The credit for familiarising people with this rich classical musical tradition, can be awarded to artists, such as 'Begum Akhtar' and 'Ustad Mehdi Hassan' to name a few.
Some of the most popular and admired Classical Ghazal singers, can be named as follows:
- Begum Akhtar,
- Mehdi Hassan,
- Abida Parveen,
- Talat Mehmood,
- Farida Khanum,
- Ustad Amanat Ali Khan,
- Mallika Pukhraj,
- Jagjit Singh,
- Chitra Singh,
- Ghulam Ali,
The singer has everything within him. The notes come out from his very life. They are not materials gathered from outside.
Ghazal Singing in India
- The modern Ghazal singing in India has undergone tremendous changes, as far as the lyrics or the instruments used in Ghazal performances, is concerned.
- The idea was to make it more popular, for larger audiences, not only in India but all over the World.
- Traditionally, it was sung in the classical style, comprising of the 'Raga', the ‘Thumri', the ‘Khayal' and other some genres of the Indian classical music.
- Ghazal singers, like 'Jagjit Singh' first used, some Western musical instruments and the results were amazing.
- Even people with little understanding of the complex words of Urdu poetry, were able to enjoy, the Ghazal mehfils or the concerts.
Some of the contemporary Ghazal singers, who have given a new identity to the experience of the Ghazals are as follows:
- Jagjit Singh-Chitra Singh,
- Mohammad Rafi,
- Pankaj Udhas,
- Adithya Srinivasan,
- Runa Laila,
- Pinaz Masani,
- Roop Kumar Rathod-Sunali Rathod,
- Bhupinder Singh and Mitali Singh,
- Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan,
- Rahat Fateh Ali Khan.
Ghazal singing is not limited to the stage performances or the grand concerts only. It has been used extensively, in movies as well.
This has made this genre of singing, commercially popular and successful.
God sent his Singers upon earth
With songs of sadness and of mirth,
That they might touch the hearts of men,
And bring them back to heaven again.
~~~~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Jagjit Singh and Chitra Singh Ghazals, source: You tube
My Favourite Ghazal Singers: 'Jagjit Singh--Chitra Singh’
The discussion about contemporary Ghazal singing can not be complete, without a special reference, to the most admired and popular singing couple, Jagjit Singh-Chitra Singh.
I have been their admirer since long, like millions of other music lovers. Jagjit Singh was not only a singer, but also a composer and music director. He introduced new elements in Ghazal singing, to popularise this traditional classical form of music.
The couple have ruled music industry for many decades. Some of the most popular music/ Ghazal albums of Jagjit Singh is as follows:
- The unforgettables,
- The latest,
- Mirza Ghalib,
- Prem geet .
To Conclude few words about 'MUSIC' in any form:
How do we define Music?
Here I am referring to the soulful music and not noise.
I believe, Music is food for the soul and it has no language. If it comes from the heart, it is bound to touch the hearts.
We can not see 'God' but soulful music, can make you feel the presence of 'God.'
Music is therapeutic, and one can feel its healing properties. Here, I am talking about the healing of the heart and the soul, and not external injuries.
Enjoy the melodious Ghazals!
Ghazal by Jagjit Singh in the movie Sarfarosh, source: You tube
Who is your favourite Ghazal Singer?
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2016 Chitrangada Sharan