Salamat Ali Khan : master of layakari

Ustad Salamat Ali Khan (1934-2001), born in Shamchaurasi, a small village of district Hoshiarpur, Punjab, belonged to a family of traditional musicians representing the Shamchaurasi Gharana. Mastery over Layakari can probably be regarded as Salamat Ali Khan’s greatest contribution to classical music. He was highly acclaimed for the ease at which he would render intricate Sargams and Bol Tans. Salamat Ali Khan was initiated into classical music together with his elder brother Nazakat Ali Khan under the guidance of their father at the tender ages of 5 and 7 respectively. They were initially taught the basics of Dhrupad but later concentrated on learning Khayal due to its increasing popularity. It was only after two years of training that they made their debut at the prestigious Harballabh Mela in 1941.

Following their stirring debut, the youngsters gave numerous performances in Punjab and Sindh and began to attract the attention of the musical fraternity who predicted a bright future for the pair. During this period, the brothers began to give regular broadcasts from All India Radio, Lahore and two gramophone records of the young Salamat Ali Khan were published. In 1943, the duo received their first official state invitation from the Maharaja of Champanagar, a small princely state in Bihar. Their stay in Champanagar lasted a few months and was followed by performances at the Allahabad and Gwalior music conferences.

Legend has it that the song posted below was sung in praise of the Maharaja of Champanagar, who had just won some sort of a battle with a neighbouring state. The song is in Raga Basant Bahar and the lyrics go like this : “Des Des Ki Thi Jung, Dushman Sub Har Gaye”.

In 1943, just 9 years old, and raring to go – Basant Bahar :  Download

After the creation of Pakistan, the family settled in Multan and lived in relative obscurity for the next couple of years. During this period of anonymity, the brothers concentrated on rigorous practice and performed occasionally. By 1950, the brothers had achieved fame throughout the subcontinent. In June 1974, the career of the duo was rocked when they decided to split up due to personal differences. This ended one of the most successful vocal partnerships in the history of Indian classical music. Any hopes of a musical reunion were later dashed when Nazakat Ali Khan passed away in 1983. The maestro received another setback in 1978 when he suffered a paralytic stroke during a concert in London. However, he made a courageous recovery and continued with his rigorous schedule of performing.

Thumri Zila Kafi – Joban Beeto Jaye :  Download

Thumri Jogiya – Aan Milo Ek Bar :  Download

Thumri Pahadi – Tore Nainon Ne Jadu Kiya :  Download

Thumri Bhairavi – Chhor Ke Na Jaa Saiyan More :  Download

The final years of the maestro were marred with ill health connected to the paralytic stroke and thus affecting his ability to perform. During the 1990s, Salamat Ali Khan was diagnosed with diabetes and a heart ailment that further weakened him and resulted him to restrict the number of performances he could do. Further complications related to diabetes resulted in the loss of his vision and thus he retired from classical music in 1998. The end finally came on the 11th July 2001, the world of classical music losing a musical genius whose life was wholly dedicated to the cause of classical music. There will be many other musicians who will achieve fame and glory in years to come but very few will ever attain the stature and excellence of Ustad Salamat Ali Khan.


Songs of the famous Duos

This blog completes two years. What started off as a tentative foray into the world of Hindustani Classical Music, and just a topic to start a blog, has become an addiction now. It is scientifically proven that Indian Classical music has healing powers on the human brain and mind. Experiments have been performed to identify different Ragas and the ailment, the cure of which they can be associated with. It has been learnt that a 20-30 minute rendition of Raga Darbari can make you sleep soundly, if you listen to it with full concentration. Now, this surely is a nice way to get a good night’s sleep. At least better than popping those bitter pills each night, an escape for many, from the hustle bustle of daily life. What could be better than having Bade Ghulam Ali Khan, Bhimsen Joshi, Rashid Khan and the likes of them, singing lullabies to you, and tucking you into bed.

Celebrating two years of indianraga, presented here are four songs from four famous singer duos, each from the pair incomplete without the other. Any individual name in a single duo is difficult to utter without mentioning the name of his partner. Understandably, all are brothers.

Amanat Ali & Fateh Ali Khan – Raga Megh :  (Download)

Moinuddin & Aminuddin Dagar – Raga Pilu Thumri :  (Download)

Nazakat & Salamat Ali Khan – Raga Bihag Thumri :  (Download)

Rajan & Sajan Mishra – Raga Jaijaiwanti :  (Download)


Four Songs : my Choice 5

Once again, here are a few songs of my choice, each one a priceless gem, and in my view, one of the best from the respective artists :

Ajoy Chakrabarty – Kajri – Nimbua Tale Dola Rakhde :  (Download)

Girija Devi – Hindola :  (Download)

Nazakat & Salamat Ali Khan – Thumri Pahadi :  (Download)

Rashid Khan – Charukeshi – Palaka Na Lagi Mori Guiyan :  (Download)

.. more Songs of my Choice »

P.S : As I have always believed in giving my visitors, the play and download option for all songs, no wonder I am faced with a serious bandwidth issue. As a result some files in my older posts may not play or download. However, irrespective of this problem I will try to continue posting more songs. Thanks for your patience.


Malhar : Invocation to the Rain God

The Raga, Malhar is a powerful legendary Raga in Indian classical music. Raga Malhar is associated with the atmosphere of torrential rains. There are many written accounts and legendary tales about Raga Malhar. According to the legend, Raga Malhar is so powerful that when sung, rain starts falling from the sky. Many great artists of the medieval, and much earlier period used to sing this Raga to invoke the Rain God. Tansen, Baiju Bawra, Mahanvilas Kanh (son of Tansen) and Meera are among the singers, who are said to have been capable of invoking rains, by singing various forms of Raga Malhar.

Amir Khan – Ramdasi Malhar :  (Download)

Nazakat & Salamat Ali Khan – Megh Malhar :  (Download)

Raining in Bangalore :

Rashid Khan – Miyan Ki Malhar :  (Download)

Shujaat Khan – Gour Malhar (Sings as he plays the Sitar) :  (Download)

.. more Songs of the Monsoon »

With certain parts of North and Central India reeling under intense heat and the monsoon still eluding the people living there, the Malhars posted above may bring some soothing, if not cooling, effect.


Anokha Ladla : Raga Darbari’s favourite Kid

Raga Darbari Kanada has very often been described as the King of all Ragas and also, the Raga of the Kings. Here listen to a very famous KhayalAnokha Ladla‘ sung by various artists at different times and also in different styles. Some say it is a song on Lord Ram‘s childhood, ‘anokha ladla khelan ko mange chanda’ as in the Ramayana. The song was immortalised when Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan presented it in his own inimitable style. Bade Ghulam Ali Khan was the renaissance man of hindustani classical music. He was one of the few artists who among themselves saw the transition of classical music from the courts of the kings to the common man.

Bade Ghulam Ali Khan :  (Download)

Nazakat & Salamat Ali Khan :  (Download)

Vilayat Khan (Sings as he plays the Sitar) :  (Download)

Balqees Khanum (Semi Classical) :  (Download)

Shahida Minni (Semi Classical) :  (Download)

Tina Sani (Semi Classical) :  (Download)

It is interesting and almost amusing to note how artists have improvised upon the song according to the need and occasion without allowing the basic raga structure to go haywire.

Comments are welcome.


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