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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

OUR College Promo

Sharafat Ali Khan

Sharafat Ali Khan


Click to hear excerpt

  • Background: Groomed by his father, the late Ustad Salamat Ali Khan, Sharafat Ali Khan is one of the leading representatives of the Shamchaurasi Gharana.

  • Place of birth: Lahore

  • Teacher/ Ustad: Ustad Salamat Ali Khan.

  • Gharana: Shamchaurasi gharana.

  • Initiation into classical music: At the age of seven.

  • Debut performance: Pakistan Centre Al- Falah, Lahore 1968.

  • Memorable concert: Barsi of Ustad Fateh Ali Khan Qawwal at Faislabad in 1981.

  • Awards: Nazakat Ali Khan- Salamat Ali Khan award, World Music Festival Award in 2001, Tamgha-e- Hunar from Kabul & PTV Award.

  • Favourite Raags: Shahana Kanada, Shiraz and Lalit.

  • Favourite musicians: Ustad Salamat Ali Khan, Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan, Ustad Ashiq Ali Khan and Ustad Umeed Ali Khan.

  • Tours: USA, Canada, Europe, Australia, India, Afghanistan and Africa.

News On Classical Music

Naushad Ali passes away

Legendary music director Naushad Ali passed away in Mumbai on 5th May 2006. He was aged 86. The distinguished composer started his career in 1940 with the film Prem Nagar, eventually composing music for 67 films. His last work was in 2005 for the film Taj Mahal- An Eternal Love Story, directed by Akbar Khan. Naushad saheb played a leading role in getting the 41year old ban on the showing of Indian films, recently overturned by the Pakistani Government. Ironically, two of his films, Mughal-e-Azam and Taj Mahal, were amongst the first films shown in Pakistani cinemas following the Government’s ruling.

Naushad Ali

The composer was a strong advocator of promoting classical music and lamented the current trends of Western music dominating the Indian film industry. One of Naushad saheb’s major contributions was that he was instrumental in introducing classical music to the masses through his hit scores for films Baiju Bawra and Mughal-e- Azam which included Ustad Amir Khan, Pandit D.V. Paluskar and Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan lending their voices to the Indian film industry. The maestro was awarded the Dadasaheb Phalke award in 1981 for his services rendered to the Indian film industry. Besides his family, Naushad Ali leaves a huge number of admirers and a long line of music directors who look up to him for musical inspiration. May God Rest his soul in Peace. Aameen.

Sadarang Archives launch the Sponsor a Musician Scheme

Sadarang Archives are launching a new initiative aimed at safeguarding certain musical traditions in danger of dying out. The basis of the scheme is to provide financial assistance to a number of musicians over a period of twelve months. Senior musicians will be supported only on the condition they teach their art to a talented youngster. Each student will receive a monthly amount in order to provide assistance to his family. Sponsorship will also extend to talented musicians of the younger generation. For the scheme to commence sufficient funds are required and for this we urgently need the assistance from music lovers, multinational companies, and arts-promoting bodies to make this scheme a success and rejuvenate the dying musical traditions of the Indian sub-continent.

Please click on link for further details

Prospective candidate sarangi nawaz Zohaib Hassan

Ustad Hussain Bukhsh Khan & sons tour Europe

Eminent vocalist Ustad Hussain Bukhsh Khan and his talented sons, the duo of Chand Khan & Suraj Khan are presently touring the UK and Europe until July 2006. Any individuals interested in organising a concert, kindly call 00 44 7931 839298 for further details.

Ustad Hussain Bukhsh

Mehdi Hassan receives the Lifetime Achievement Award from PTV

Shehenshah-e- Ghazal Mehdi Hassan was the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement award and a cheque for Rs100,000 at the 13th PTV Awards ceremony held at PAF Museum in Karachi on 16th July 2006. The award was presented by the legendary Farida Khanum and the Minister of State Information and Broadcasting Tariq Azeem. A special tribute for the art of ghazal was held on the occasion and prominent vocalists paid homage to Mehdi Hassan, Farida Khanum and Iqbal Bano.

Mehdi Hassan being honoured by PTV

Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan music conference

The Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan music conference was successfully held at the Alhamra Arts Centre in Lahore on 15th May 2006. Organised by the Qasur Patiala Gharana Music Circle in collaboration with the Lahore Arts Council and cultural organisation Caravan, it featured major names from both the light and classical music fraternity. Artistes performing at the event included Ustad Fateh Ali Khan, ghazal maestro Ustad Ghulam Ali, Ustad Hamid Ali Khan, Arshad Fateh Ali Khan, Tarranum Naz, Allahditta Loonaywala, Humera Chana and Saira Nasim.

Ustad Fateh Ali Khan received the inaugural Bade Ghulam Ali Khan award for his services to classical music. Ghazal maestros Ustad Mehdi Hassan & Ustad Ghulam Ali, folk singer Allahditta Loonaywala, television producer Farrukh Bashir, composer Wazir Afzal and lyricist Tajammul Hussain were the other recipients of the award. Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan’s grandsons, Ustad Mazhar Ali Khan and Ustad Jawwad Ali Khan had been specially invited from Delhi to perform at the event. The credit for organising the conference goes to Naqi Ali Khan, the younger brother of Mazhar and Jawwad, and it is hoped that the event will be an annual feature of the cultural activities of Lahore.

The All Pakistan Music Conference in Lahore March 2006

The Annual All Pakistan Conferences were successfully held in the cities of Karachi and Lahore and included a series of memorable performances. The three-day conference in Karachi took place on 20-22 January 2006 at the Hindu Gymkhana. Ustad Raza Ali Khan of the Qasur- Patiala gharana had especially arrived from India to perform. The other notable inclusion was that of tabla maestro Ustad Abdul Sattar Khan Tari who enamoured the Karachiites with his dazzling solo performance and accompaniment with Ashraf Sharif Khan, Ustad Hamid Ali Khan and the duo of Ustad Hameed Ali Khan- Ustad Fateh Ali Khan. Performances from Salamat Ali (ghazal), Ustad Bashir Khan (tabla), the duo of Javed Bashir- Akbar Ali (vocal) and Nafees Ahmed Khan (sitar) were also well appreciated.

APMC Lahore 2006. Photo courtesy of

The All Pakistan Music Conference in Lahore commenced on 28th March 2006. The most important event in the Pakistani classical music calendar, the conference opened with a tribute to the late Hayat Ahmed Khan, the founding member of the organisation, who passed away on 6th February 2005. All the major Pakistani classical musicians participated in the five-day event. Performances from Ustad Ghulam Hassan Shaggan, Ustad Fateh Ali Khan, Ustad Hussain Bukhsh, Ustad Allah Lok and the duo of Ustad Hameed Ali Khan and Ustad Fateh Ali Khan received great reviews.

For further details on the All Pakistan Music Conference please visit and

Farida Khanum receives Ustad Hafiz Ali Khan award 2005

Legendary ghazal vocalist, Farida Khanum, was honoured with the Ustad Hafiz Ali Khan award for 2005, presented to her by Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in Gwalior. Gwalior gharana’s Malini Rajurkar was also honoured for her contribution towards Indian classical music. Referring to both musicians, the prime minister said "Listening to your music and seeing you immersing in emotions, we feel the power and presence of God”. Ustad Amjad Ali Khan has been instrumental in instituting the Ustad Hafiz Ali Khan awards since 1985. Pakistani recipients of the award have included the late maestos, Ustad Salamat Ali Khan and Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. Referring to Farida Khanam, Dr. Singh said she had played a major role in popularizing the ghazal genre.

Image reproduced courtesy of the Hindu newspaper. Photo A.M. Faruqui

Farida Khanum receiving the award from Indian PM Manmohan Singh

Hariharan New Ghazal Album Release

Sachal Music, a music label devoted to South Asian music has been launched to promote the musical traditions of the Indian sub-continent. The brainchild of Izzat Majeed and Mushtaq Soofi, the label aims to present traditional music in a contemporary mould. The first CD release “Lahore Ke Rang, Hari Ke Sang”, is a unique collaboration between ghazal singer Hariharan and Pakistan based composers and musicians. London based promoter Jai Viswadev is the project consultant of Sachal Music.

Album: Lahore Ke Rang Hari Ke Sang

Books published on prominent musicians

Karachi based musicologist, S.M. Shahid has authored a set of books looking at the life and career of three prominent artistes associated with South Asia’s melodic culture. The books on ghazal maestro Mehdi Hassan, folk singer Tufail Niazi and music director Kamal Dasgupta emphasize the contribution made by each within their respective fields. Each book is accompanied with two CDs containing popular works of each musician. With a number of books to his credit including “Classical music of the Indian Sub-continent” and “Immortal Film Songs inspired by Raags”, S.M. Shahid hopes that the three books will serve as a useful starting point for additional research. With the dearth of good books written in English on Pakistani musicians, these books will surely be a wonderful step in providing readers a personal insight on their musical heroes. The book on Mehdi Hassan is now available from our sales catalogue.

Click here to purchase Book

Hritik Roshan & Rafaqat Ali Khan

The thawing of relations between India and Pakistan has seen a surge in the number of tours being undertaken by the classical musicians of both countries across the sub-continent during 2005. Indian musicians performing in Pakistan have included Gwalior gharana’s Lakhshmanrao Shankar Pandit, his daughter Meeta Pandit, sitarist Ustad Shahid Parvez, vocalists Ustad Raza Ali Khan, Subra Guha and Wasifuddin Khan Dagar. From the Pakistani side, sitar maestro Ustad Rais Ahmed Khan, Ustad Abdul Sattar Khan Tari, Ustad Hussain Bukhsh, Ustad Imtiaz Ali Khan, Ustad Sharafat Ali Khan and Shafqat Ali Khan have entertained audiences across India. The Patiala Heritage Festival held in February 2006, included performances from Farida Khanum and Shafqat Ali Khan, whilst Ustad Nazakat Ali Khan's son Rafaqat Ali Khan has sung two songs for the recently released Bollywood blockbuster Krrish. This is a great step in halting the demise of cultural activities in Pakistan and signifies the fact that although the nations may be divided, they share the same cultural identity.

Ustad Salamat Ali Khan Awards Ceremony 2005

Ustad Hussain Bukhsh Khan and noted music director Master Manzoor were the recipients of the Ustad Salamat Ali Khan awards show in Lahore on 10th December 2005. Organised by the Salamat Ali Khan Music Circle, the event has been taking place annually since 2003, mainly due to the efforts of the late maestro’s son Shafqat Ali Khan and aims to reward deserving musicians for their services rendered to classical music. The event drew a huge crowd at the Al-Hamra Arts Complex and included senior musicians Ustad Ghulam Hassan Shaggan, Ustad Tafo Khan, Imtiaz Ali Khan and Qadir Ali Shaggan amongst the audience. Performances came from Tanveer Hussain (Rabab), Shujaat Ali Khan (vocal), Naqi Ali Khan (vocal) and violin player Anupriya Roy who was specially invited from India. The finale came from Shafqat Ali Khan- and Ustad Sharafat Ali Khan who performed a khayal and tarana in Raag Chandrakauns.

Click to hear audio excerpt of Shafqat Ali Khan perform Raag Chandarkauns

Images from the Ustad Salamat Ali Khan Award Ceremony

Audience at the Alhamra Arts Centre

Ustad Shaggan, Ustad Hussain Bukhsh and Inaam Ali Khan

Indian violinist Anupriya with Kashif Ali Dhani on tabla

Shafqat Ali Khan & Sharafat Ali Khan rendering Raag Chandarkauns

Ustad Abdul Sattar Khan Tari tours India

Distinguished tabla player Ustad Abdul Sattar Khan Tari recently completed a highly successful tour of India by giving a series of solo performances, most notable of which was his solo performance and accompaniment with sitar maestro Ustad Rais Ahmed Khan at the Harvallabh Sangeet Sammellan in December 2005. The maestro hailing from the Punjab gharana, has a large fan base across India and received a rousing reception throughout his stay.

Ustad Tari Khan

Prominent personalities pass away

Finally, on a sad note the past year has seen the passing away of a number of notable personalities associated with the classical music scene in Pakistan. The founder of All Pakistan Music Conference (APMC), Hayat Ahmed Khan passed away in Lahore on 6th February 2005, aged 84. The sole driving force of the APMC, Hayat saheb had dedicated his life for the promotion of classical music and was one of the few individuals who had prevented the untimely death of classical music in Pakistan.

Hayat Ahmed Khan

Born inside the walled city of Lahore on 15th September 1921, Hayat Ahmed Khan graduated from the Punjab University and attended the Gandharva Mahavidyalaya, where he received his musical training. He also learnt the tabla from the legendary Mian Qadir Bukhsh. In 1959, he was instrumental in setting up the All Pakistan Music Conference, the organisation provided a platform to both seasoned and budding classical musicians. The showcase event saw many great performances by the leading luminaries of the classical music world and became a lifeline to those musicians who were struggling financially

Hayat Ahmed Khan leaves behind four daughters. His daughter Dr. Ghazala Irfan has taken up the mantle of leading the APMC.

Parvez Mehdi

Ghazal Maestro Parvez Mehdi

Renowned ghazal singer Parvez Mehdi passed away in Lahore on 11thSeptember 2005 as a result of a heart attack. He was 58. Widely regarded as Mehdi Hassan’s finest disciple, Parvez Mehdi created an independent stylistic identity in the genre of ghazal singing due to his training in both the classical and folk forms of music. Apart from being a leading ghazal singer, he was also a brilliant composer, a number of his compositions were adapted by the Indian film industry. The ghazal maestro had been conferred the Sitara-e-Imtiaz by the Government of Pakistan, just days prior to his death.

Ustad Aslam Khan

Senior tabla player, Ustad Aslam Khan popularly known as “Accha Pehalwan” passed away on 18th September 2005, aged 70. A senior disciple of Punjab gharana’s Ustad Allahditta Khan, Aslam Khan was regarded as an authority over his knowledge on rare compositions of the Punjab gharana. Blessed with a warm personality and gentle nature, the maestro, apart from his love for music, had a passion for wrestling and poetry, and wrote under the pseudonym of “Najafi”. He leaves behind a healthy line of disciples including Kaleem Raza, Gulfam Raza, Erum Butt, Naveed, Sohail Bhatti and son Abid Ali Khan. His nephew, the late Khalifa Akhtar Hussain Khan had also been partly trained by him.

Please click on the following link to view report on the Ustad Aslam Khan tribute concert

Ustad Aslam Khan

Ustad Rahmat Ali Khan

Ustad Rahmat Ali Khan of the Gwalior gharana passed away on 3rd January 2006 in Karachi. Belonging to the family of Mian Banne Khan, Rahmat Ali Khan sang in partnership with his younger brother, the late Ustad Ahmed Ali Khan. Both brothers were trained by their father Ustad Misri Khan and cousin, the illustrious Ustad Umeed Ali Khan.

Ustad Rahmat Ali Khan

Ustad Latafat Hussain Khan

Ustad Latafat Hussain Khan

Classical vocalist, Ustad Haji Latafat Hussain Khan passed away in 2005 at the age of 89. Hailing from a distinguished line of musicians representing both the Rampur and Bhindi Bazar gharanas, Latafat Hussain was highly regarded for his knowledge over rare raags. Prior to partition, he was associated with the Indian film industry as a music director, composing for a number of films in partnership with his elder brother, Ustad Mushtaq Hussain Khan, the teacher of renowned music director Naushad Ali. The maestro had been based in the UK for the past ten years and taken retirement from all musical activities. His final years were devoted to Islamic mysticism. Most notable amongst his disciples are the famous Qawwali group Sabri Brothers, the late Ustad Bashir Ahmed Khan, son Ali Hafeez Khan and ghazal singer Farida Rahman.

Ustad Bahauddin Qawwal

Renowned qawwal Ustad Bahauddin Khan passed away on 3rd February 2006 in Karachi as a result of ill health. Hailing from the prestigious Qawwal Bacche gharana, Bahauddin Khan was born in 1934 at Hyderabad Deccan. He was groomed by his father, Haji Suleman Khan and uncle Ustad Sardar Khan, the grandsons of Ustad Tanras Khan. The maestro spent the early part of his career at the court of Hyderabad Deccan and received a number of titles namely Nanhay Raagi from the Government of India. He migrated to Pakistan in 1956 and joined his cousins Munshi Raziuddin Khan and Manzoor Ahmed Niazi to form a Qawwali ensemble.

Ustad Bahauddin Khan

In 1966, he formed his own Qawwali group with brother Qutubuddin Khan and won international recognition. Ustad Bahauddin Khan was a multi-lingual and had inherited a vast amount of traditional musical repertoire from his ancestors. He was at ease at presenting Qawwali in Urdu, Hindi, Persian and Arabic. He toured Europe, the Middle East, and Africa on an extensive basis. He was the recipient of the Pride of Performance and Tamgha-e-Imtiaz medals from the Government of Pakistan. His sons, Najmuddin and Saifuddin are now carrying forward his torch for the propagation of Qawwali.

Khalifa Irshad Ali

Khalifa Irshad Ali

Senior tabla player Khalifa Irshad Ali passed away in Rawalpindi on 24th May 2006, aged 84. The son of Punjab gharana's legendary tabla maestro, Mian Nabi Bukhsh Khan, Khalifa Irshad had inherited the title of Khalifa from his late father and was considered the figurehead of the Punjab gharana by tabla players associated with the silsila of Mian Fateh Din Qasurwalay. Associated with Radio Pakistan, Rawalpindi for over 35 years, Khalifa Irshad leaves behind a daughter and a host of disciples including Akhtar Hussain Tandaywasia, Aqeel Bhatti and Yunus Gill.

Mehdi Hasan receives Rs1m from President

Ghazal maestro Mehdi Hassan was presented with a cheque for Rs 1 Million on behalf of the President of Pakistan, General Parvez Musharraf on 27th January 2003 in recognition of his contribution to music. Presidential spokesman Maj-Gen. Rashid Qureshi visited the residence of the maestro in Karachi and communicated good wishes on behalf of the President. Presenting the cheque, Rashid Qureshi said the maestro was a national asset who had made significant contributions to the melodic culture of the subcontinent.

Mehdi Hassan

Rustam Ali Khan to tour Europe in April 2003

Talented vocalist of the Patiala gharana, Rustam Ali Khan will be touring Europe in April 2003. Rustam is the son and disciple of Ustad Fateh Ali Khan and is regarded as one of the finest vocalists amongst the younger generation. He has received national acclaim for his renditions of khayal and thumri and represented Pakistan on cultural delegations to India, South East Asia and Europe. Any individuals or organisations interested in arranging concerts can contact Saqib Razaq on

Rustam Ali Khan

Pakistani classical music concert

Shafqat Ali Khan will present a concert of classical music in San Francisco on Sunday, 26th January 2003 at 5:00pm. Accompaniment on the tabla is provided by Ferhan Najeeb Qureshi. The concert will take place at 2852 25th St. on the corner of Hampshire, San Francisco. For further information please contact Deirdre (415)970-8837 or Michael (415)647-9194.

On Saturday, February 1, at 8:00 pm, Shafqat will perform a musical evening of sufi music, ghazals and classical ragas at St. John's Presbyterian Church in Berkeley at 8.00 p.m.

Shafqat Ali Khan

The death of Ustad Akhtar Hussain Khan Sheranwale

Classical tabla playing in Pakistan suffered a tremendous loss by the recent death of Ustad Akhtar Hussain Khan Sheranwale at the age of 70. The ustad was the disciple of Punjab gharana's Ustad Allah Ditta Khan and was widely respected for his knowledge and skill of accompaniment to classical vocal music. He was one of the few tabla players who had received the prestigious "Pride of Performance" Medal from the Government of Pakistan in 1998. Ustad Akhtar Hussain Khan was associated with the National Radio and Television stations and regularly seen performing on the classical music programme "Raag Rang". May his soul rest in peace.

Ustad Akhtar Hussain Khan


Amjad Amanat Ali Khan passes away

Patiala gharana vocalist Amjad Amanat Ali Khan passed away in Lahore during the month of Ramzan (November 2002). Amjad was the eldest son of the illustrious Ustad Amanat Ali Khan and was trained by his grandfather Ustad Akhtar Hussain Khan and uncle Ustad Fateh Ali Khan. Following the death of his father, Amjad Amanat Ali Khan provided vocal accompaniment to Ustad Fateh Ali Khan on a regular basis. His style of performance mirrored that of his late father and was appreciated by the followers of Ustad Amanat Ali Khan. May the Almighty bless his soul and give courage to his family to overcome this loss.

Amjad Amanat Ali Khan


Tribute To Ustad Salamat Ali Khan

n remembrance Ustad Salamat Ali Khan

The death of Ustad Salamat Ali Khan on 11th July 2001 marked the end of a glorious career spanning over six decades. The ustad’s untimely demise has prompted concerns that desperate measures are now required to save Pakistani classical music from oblivion. Saqib Razaq looks back at the career of the late maestro heralded as an icon of khayal singing and recognised as a major influence in the popularisation of classical music outside South Asia.

There is always great sorrow when a human being departs from this world. What makes the grief even harder to bear is when that individual has made significant contributions and achieved excellence in his field of speciality. Inborn genius, creativity, individuality and sheer dedication are some of the attributes that make the individual irreplaceable. The late maestro Ustad Salamat Ali Khan was bestowed with all these qualities, distinguishing him from others. Widely regarded by fellow musicians and connoisseurs as one the greatest vocalists of the 20th century, Salamat Ali Khan had a huge impact on South Asian classical music, achieving worldwide acclaim for his masterful artistry and command over khayal singing.

Born in 1934, in the heartland of Punjab at Shamchaurasi, district Hoshiarpur, Ustad Salamat Ali Khan belonged to a family of traditional musicians representing the Shamchaurasi gharana. It is claimed that the gharana was founded in the 16th century by Mian Chand Khan and Mian Suraj Khan who were contemporaries of Mian Tansen at the court of Mughal emperor Akbar. Prior to the emergence of Ustad Nazakat Ali Khan and Ustad Salamat Ali Khan as exponents of khayal, the gharana specialised in the dhrupad form of singing and was particularly renowned for its tradition of duet performances known as jugalbandi. Mian Karim Bukhsh Majzoob, Ustad Ahmed Ali Khan, Ustad Niaz Hussain Shami, and Salamat Ali Khan’s father Ustad Vilayat Ali Khan were some of the illustrious members of the Shamchaurasi gharana.

Click to hear excerpt of the child prodigies perform Raag Basant in 1943 (To Play Sound Clip) Right Click- Save Target As..

Youngsters Nazakat Ali Khan and Salamat Ali Khan with their father

Salamat Ali Khan was initiated into classical music together with his elder brother Nazakat Ali Khan under the able guidance of their father Ustad Vilayat Ali Khan at the tender ages of five and seven respectively. They were initially taught the basis 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. They performed raag Mian ki Todi and were highly appreciated by both the audience and musicians present, these included Ustad Abdul Aziz Khan, Pandit Krishanrao Shankar, Pandit Omkarnath Thakur, Ustad Umeed Ali Khan, Ustad Tawakkal Hussain Khan, Ustad Malang Khan and Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan. Ustad Salamat Ali Khan recalled the performance in his autobiography; “we were so small that we had to be lifted onto the stage”.

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 1944, the duo received their first official state invitation from the Maharaja of Champanagar. Their stay in Champanagar lasted a few months and was followed by performances at the Allahabad and Gwalior music conferences where they had the good fortune of meeting and hearing Ustad Rajab Ali Khan of Dewas who made a lasting impression on Ustad Salamat Ali Khan and was a major influential figure in his career. The All-India Music conference of 1945 in Calcutta saw Nazakat and Salamat being included in a musical line up featuring Ustad Faiyyaz Hussain Khan of Agra, Pandit Omkarnath Thakur, Ustad Rajab Ali Khan, Ustad Vilayat Hussain Khan, Ustad Amir Khan, Kesarbai Kerkar, Ustad Allauddin Khan and Pandit Ravi Shankar. These music conferences were of great benefit as they provided both brothers with ample opportunities to hear and perform before great musicians. In 1946, the duo conducted a nationwide tour of India which included performances at the courts of Gwalior, Hyderabad and Patiala. The popularity of the child prodigies soured as their singing expressed maturity far beyond their years, it was the young Salamat in particular who impressed listeners for his dazzling “tayyari” and “layakari”.

Following 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 occasionally performed in Multan and the adjoining state of Bahawalpur. By 1950, the brothers had achieved fame throughout the country; they began to give broadcasts from Radio Pakistan and permanently moved to Lahore. The brief stay in Multan did have an advantage in that the duo became exposed to the semi classical genre of Multani Kafi. Kafi is a musical form with its origins steeped in Sufism; the lyrical content is devoted to mysticism and can be performed in both a classical and folk manner. The genre is extremely popular in the regions of Punjab and Sindh, mainly due to the poetry being in the regional languages of Punjabi, Sindhi and Saraiki. Both Nazakat and Salamat were greatly impressed by the beautiful poetry of Sufi mystics Khwaja Ghulam Farid, Abdul Shah Latif, Shah Hussain and Baba Bullhe Shah and decided to incorporate the Kafi in their repertoire.

Two great maestros- Ustad Salamat Ali Khan with Ustad Amir Khan

Click to hear an excerpt of Multani Kafi

(To Play Sound Clip) Right Click- Save Target As..

In 1953 the brothers toured India and performed at the Harballabh Mela. This performance paved the way for the brothers to be regularly invited across the border. The Indian audiences lauded the young maestros and were highly appreciative of their art, Salamat Ali Khan particularly acknowledged the audiences of Bombay and Calcutta for their knowledge and patronage of classical music. In 1955, the brothers were invited to perform at the All India Music Conference in Calcutta which included musicians of the calibre of Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan, Ustad Amir Khan, Ustad Allauddin Khan, Ustad Hafiz Ali Khan, Pandit Omkarnath Thakur, Kesarbai Kerkar, Ustad Ahmedjan Khan Thirakwa and Ustad Habibuddin Khan. Their performance was highly acclaimed and had such an impact that they were given the honorary title of Ustad. Countless performances during the 1950s, particularly the Swami Haridas music conference in Bombay in 1957 and the All Pakistan Music Conference at Jinnah Bagh, Lahore in 1959 saw the brothers emerge as one of the leading vocalists of the subcontinent.

The success of the duo was a result of their dedication to practice, great understanding and a disciplined approach to their performance. Their singing style displayed shades of the Patiala gharana, particularly that of stalwarts Ustad Ashiq Ali Khan and Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan. However both brothers contributed with their own individuality and made use of their initial training in dhrupad, which was most apparent in the alaap and vilambit (slow tempo) part of their presentation. The brothers were equally adept at performing in both the vilambit and drut (fast tempo) sections. The vilambit part of the presentation was clearly defined by their concentration on the development of the raag; Nazakat Ali Khan would create the general ambience of the performance and concentrate on building the aesthetic framework. He would act as a path leader to his younger brother who would dominate the drut half of the performance through thundering taans, cascading sargams and ingenious rhythmic interplay known as layakari. The greatest strength of the duo was probably their appeal to both the masses and connoisseurs. The brothers performed a wide variety of raags throughout their career but were known for their mastery over raags Rageshri, Abhogi Kanada, Gorakh Kalyan and Malkauns.

The brothers during a Radio Pakistan broadcast in the 1960s

Click to hear them talk about a memorable concert(To Play Sound Clip) Right Click- Save Target As..

The path of success continued for both brothers during the 1960s. In 1961, the Government of Pakistan recognising their contribution to classical music conferred the civilian award of “Pride of Performance” upon them and in 1967 King Zahir Shah of Afghanistan awarded them with the “Tamgha-e-Hunar”. International acclaim for the duo followed in 1969 when they were formally invited to tour the United Kingdom and Holland. Following their performance at the Edinburgh Festival, the brothers became renowned in the West as the “Ali brothers” and began to regularly feature in International music festivals.

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. Following a short stint as a solo vocalist, Salamat enlisted his eldest son Sharafat Ali Khan to accompany him and fill the huge void left by Ustad Nazakat Ali Khan. In later years, the ustad was also accompanied by his youngest son Shafqat Ali Khan. Despite the absence of his elder brother, the maestro gave some memorable performances during the mid-1970s and continued to fly the flag of the Shamchaurasi gharana.

Click to hear excerpt of Shahana Kanada 1975 (To Play Sound Clip) Right Click- Save Target As..

A new phase- Ustad Salamat Ali Khan with Sharafat Ali Khan

The maestro received another setback in 1978 when he suffered a stroke during a concert in London. The stroke affected his speech and doctors advised him to consider retiring. However, the maestro made a courageous recovery and continued with his rigorous schedule of performing. Even though Salamat could not recapture his form of earlier years, his performances still retained the vitality and vigour of previous years. The maestro was probably one of the few classical musicians who achieved popularity with both the masses and discerning audiences in Pakistan. Keeping this in mind, he published his autobiography titled “Main aur Mausiqui” which was well received by readers in Pakistan and abroad.

Mastery over layakari can probably be regarded as Salamat Ali Khan’s greatest contribution to South Asian classical music. He would commonly sing in time cycles regarded as difficult including Talwara, Ikwaai, Punjabi Dhamar and Soolfakhta. The audience would always be in awe with the ease at which Salamat would arrive at the sum through intricate tihais, sargams and bol taans. In addition to layakari, Salamat was renowned for his command over taan patterns, of which the choot and sapat variety were considered his specialty. The ustad also created a number of raags and composed bandishes under the name of “Man Rang”. His creations include Madhkauns, Shamwati, Thames, Nandeshwari, Jog Kanada, Madh Kalyan, Roopdhani, Roopawati Kalyan, Milan Gandhar, Abhogi Kauns, Lagan Kauns and Kanwal Bhairav. Salamat Ali Khan always retained a broad perspective on music and experimented with fusion music so that classical music could be appreciated by a broader audience, this is highlighted in his album “Princess of the Sea” as well as in a specially arranged piece in raag Pahadi which he named “International Pahadi”. Primarily trained by his father, Ustad Salamat Ali Khan was always upfront to cite other musicians from whom he had received training, these were his uncle Ustad Niaz Hussain Shami, Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan, Ustad Ashiq Ali Khan, Ustad Tawakkal Hussain Khan, his father in law Baba Natthu Khan, Pandit Pran Nath, Ustad Habib Khan Beenkaar and the father of Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Ustad Fateh Ali Khan Qawwal.

Click to hear Ustad Salamat Ali Khan's creation Raag Milan Gandhar (To Play Sound Clip) Right Click- Save Target As..

Despite being a musician of exceptional virtuosity, he was a human being of unmeasured compassion. He was always kind and considerate towards everyone he met which gave an impression of trust and intimacy. Blessed with a great sense of humour and wit, the maestro would always convey a mood of happiness and joy wherever he went. In spite of the recognition he received throughout his life, Ustad Salamat Ali Khan was not an artist who was motivated by fame or wealth and did not seek opportunities which would promote his personal aspirations. He always displayed high regards for fellow musicians and would always encourage upcoming musicians. This is evident in the following sound clip, in which the maestro has composed a bandish in tribute to the late Qawwal, Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan.

In the company of Ustad Allah Rakha, Pandit Ram Narayan and Lata Mangeshkar

Click to hear Ustad Salamat Ali Khan's tribute to Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan

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The ustad was a great teacher and responsible for training the next generation of musicians including his sons Sharafat, Sakhawat, Latafat, and Shafqat Ali Khan who are trying very hard in becoming worthy successors to their father’s tradition. He also trained his grandson Shujaat Ali Khan and other family members such as Hussain Bukhsh Guloo, Imtiaz Ali Khan, Riaz Ali Khan and Rafaqat Ali Khan. Other shagirds include Abida Parveen, Taj Multani, Nazir Afridi and Aqeel Manzoor. Furthermore, Salamat Ali Khan took a brave decision in training and permitting his daughter Riffat to become a performing musician, who is at present one of the very few female vocalists hailing from a family of professional musicians.

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 which 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, greatness and excellence of Ustad Salamat Ali Khan.The ustad remained to his last breath a teacher, a friend and above all a musician who left a lasting impression as a human being for whom music was not just an art but a way of life.

Ustad Salamat Ali Khan Lahore 1997

Carrying on the legacy of Ustad Salamat Ali Khan

Sharafat Ali Khan

Shafqat Ali Khan

Latafat Ali Khan

Sakhawat Ali Khan

Sound Archive

Ustad Nazakat Ali Khan and Ustad Salamat Ali Khan





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Photographs courtesy of the family of Ustad Salamat Ali Khan, Dawn, Classical Music Research Cell, Radio Pakistan, Lahore, Pakistan Television Network and Ayub Aulia.

Sound files courtesy of Radio Pakistan, Classical Music Research Cell, Pakistan Television Network, EMI Pakistan and Lok Virsa.

About Our Instruments

Tabla: The major percussion instrument of North Indian music. Consists of two drums commonly known as dayan and bayaan. The tabla is used in accompaniment with all the major classical genres and also with folk music.

Tanpura. Stringed instrument which provides a drone. The drone acts as a reference point. The tanpura is often mistaken with the sitar. The major difference between the two is that the sitar contains frets.

Pakhawaj. Double barreled percussion instrument used in accompaniment to dhrupad.

Harmonium. Reed instrument, uses a keyboard for note reproduction. The harmonium is now gaining popularity over the sarangi as an accompanying instrument to classical music.

Sitar. Popular stringed instrument. Gained prominence during the 18thcentury. The instrument is plucked with a plectrum known as mizrab, whilst the other hand operates the main fretted board.

Sarangi. Bowed string instrument which is used as accompaniment to khayal, thumri, and ghazal forms of music. Sadly almost extinct in Pakistan due to its difficult nature and association with the courtesan tradition.

Bansuri. Wind instrument used mainly as a solo instrument in classical music due to the efforts of the late Pandit Pannalal Ghosh.

Swarmandal. Zitther harp, the strings are tuned to the notes of the raag to provide an ambience of the raag.

Santoor. A Persian instrument, belonging to the Dulcimer family of instruments. Uses little wooden hammers to strike the strings.

Sarod. Developed from the rabab. The metal fingerboard is fretless and a coconut wood plectrum is used to strike the strings

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