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 !!



  1. Anonymous said,

    June 19, 2008 at 12:18 pm

    very nice, ustad ji sing like a god.

  2. Dr.S.K.Basu said,

    August 31, 2009 at 2:15 pm

    I heard ustadji’s raga Durga for the first time so closely.It is indeed mesmerizing. May I request indianraga to introduce every raga a bit in detail, the time of singing, specific notes/ octaves that are being used for a particular raga and if possible the origin of a particular raga etc. It will be truly informative

  3. November 25, 2009 at 10:05 am

    I just finished listening to Ghulam Mustafa Khan.It’s fantastic. Thanks for the post.

  4. indianraga said,

    November 26, 2009 at 9:04 am

    @ Lorraine Lapp

    Thanks for visiting and giving your views. Right now I am listening to your music : ‘Zack in the box’. I love it.

  5. December 2, 2009 at 7:37 am

    Hi again..from Montreal.
    I used a program to tweet the music on twitter. The link is here to the app and to my twitter acount. I am glad you like the belongs to my husband, Geoff Lapp.

    There are a few programs you can use to do this.
    still loving this wonderful voice..beautful

  6. January 3, 2010 at 4:16 am

    Khan Shaheb’s Bageshree is my most favourite. His rendition is unique and inimitable.

    I am proud to say that Khan Shaheb is one of our honoured Patrons of Surdhwani. I have known our respected Khan Shaheb since November 1989.

    I co-present and co-produce Surtarang Broadcast worldwide which is dedicated to promote Indian classical music at its best. So, please log on to on Wednesdays between 7 & 8 pm GMT and enjoy Khan Shaheb’s and other musicians’ wonderful renditions.

    Mrs Maitreyee Sarcar HF FRSA
    Co-presenter & Co-producer of Surtarang Broadcast worldwide

  7. indianraga said,

    January 26, 2010 at 5:09 pm

    Where did you get this bad news from?? As far as we know he is very much around.

  8. January 27, 2010 at 5:06 am

    I saw it on youtube..let me double check and send you the url.

  9. January 27, 2010 at 5:12 am a mistake..its is a politicna with the same name. Happy to hear it is a misttake.perhaps you can remove my commmets..I should have doubel checked.


  10. indianraga said,

    January 27, 2010 at 8:57 am

    Nothing to worry. I have removed all the references that point towards it.

  11. vinay pande said,

    March 11, 2012 at 9:29 pm

    this is a BEAUTIFUL jaijaiwanti. fantastic bandish…tx for posting it.

  12. j s pande said,

    March 12, 2012 at 9:33 am

    seems the recordings here belong to a series on singing bhakti poets.

  13. indianraga said,

    March 12, 2012 at 10:25 am

    doesn’t seem to me, but still I’ll find out.

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