Ghulam Mustafa Khan : Sur Dhwani

Endowed with an exceptionally melodious and sensitively adaptable voice, Ghulam Mustafa Khan‘s music gives witness to the rigorous traditional training that he received from his distinguished gurus. He hails from a family steeped in North Indian Classical vocal music culture, his forefathers being some of the most prized court musicians honoured and celebrated by the Kings and Maharajas in a musical lineage that goes back to more than 150 years.

Ghulam Mustafa Khan has brought these traditions into the present with great effect, and added his own personal traits. Born over seven decades ago, on March 3, 1931, in the Badayun city of Uttar Pradesh, Ghulam Mustafa Khan was initiated into music by his father, Ustad Waris Hussain Khan. Later he was groomed under Ustad Fida Hussain Khan, and then later his son Nissar Hussain Khan.

Ghulam Mustafa Khan belongs to an illustrious school of music known as ‘Sahaswan Rampur Gharana‘. This Gharana has produced an abundance of khayal singers since the time of its founder Ustad Inayat Hussain Khan (1849-1919).

Khayal, in Urdu meaning imagination, is the most popular genre of North Indian classical vocal music, designed to give the singer optimum scope for improvisation. Originating in the courts of the Moghul emperors as a less rigid alternative to the Dhrupad style, it has evolved into a remarkably flexible form that allows an artist’s individuality considerable rein. Even within the past five decades the form has undergone many changes, and the tradition of innovation continues through pioneers like Ghulam Mustafa Khan.

Khayal has several schools following different style traditions. Most of these Gharanas have been built around certain families or specific locations like Gwalior and Rampur. Gharanas traditionally followed the Guru-Shishya system of instruction in which direct, one-on-one teaching and personal supervision meant a clearer and therefore deeper understanding, of both the traditions of that Gharana, of the raga, and of the role of a particular style in exploring and presenting that raga. As Inayat Hussain, the founder of the gharana, hailed from Sahaswan and was trained and lived in Rampur, this gharana came to be called Rampur Sahaswan.

It’s always been a struggle for khayal singers to establish themselves on the world music scene, because of the barrier of language. In fact, the lyrical content of the khayal while certainly enhancing the beauty of the presentation is regarded as secondary to the ability of the performer to improvise within the framework of the specific raga. The emphasis on lyrical content varies from artist to artist, many of the texts of khayal are written in an ancient form of Hindi known as Brij Bhasha. Khayal has also had a profound influence on instrumental music. Many instrumentalists point out that Indian music IS vocal music, and that the instrument should sing in the style of khayal.

Ghulam Mustafa Khan’s contribution goes beyond his own performance. He has trained and moulded some of India’s finest film singers including Manna Dey, Sonu Nigam and Hariharan. He was awarded the Padma Shree in 1991 by the Indian Government in recognition of his service to Indian music heritage.

Here I am presenting four songs from his album Sur Dhwani :

Raga Durga – Vilambit Ektal :  (Download)

Raga Durga – Khyal In Drut Teental – Jai Durge :  (Download)

Raga Jaijaivanti – Khyal in Teental :  (Download)

Ganesh Stuti :  (Download)

Enjoy !!

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