The Patiala gharana is one of the most prominent gharanas of vocal Hindustani classical music. This school of music has had a number of famous musicians, many of whom came to be patronised by the royal family of Patiala after the disintegration of the Mughal Empire in the 18th century. In the latter half of the 20th century, the Patiala style of Khayal vocalism has been represented by two streams of the gharana. One stream, gave the music world the Amanat Ali Khan (1932-1974) and Fateh Ali Khan duo. The other stream, originating from Kasur, a small village in Punjab province of Pakistan, produced Bade Ghulam Ali Khan (1903-1968) and his brother Barkat Ali Khan (1907-1963). It is now widely known as the Kasur-Patiala gharana.
Ustad Fateh Ali Khan is the last of the thoroughbred Patiala vocalists, a direct descendent of the founders of Patiala gharana. The Patiala gharana tends to favour pentatonic Ragas for their ornamentation and execution of intricate taans. In addition Khayal, Thumri and even Ghazal singing is much emphasized. This gharana has been criticized by purists, who say it overuses frills and ornaments without considering the basic nature and mood of the Raga. Despite the criticism Patiala gharana is amongst the most prominent and popular gharanas and has a huge following, both of musicians and listeners.
Famous musicians of Patiala gharana include Kaloo Khan, Gauhar Jan, Ashiq Ali Khan, Mukhtar Begum, Lakshmi Shankar, Hamid Ali Khan, Asad Amanat Ali Khan and many more. The list is very long.
Kasur-Patiala gharana in the next ‘Gharana tradition’ post.