Ghulam Ali's ghazals enthrall audience at PNCA -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

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Ghulam Ali’s ghazals enthrall audience at PNCA

By Mahtab Bashir

ISLAMABAD: Legendary ghazal singer, 70-year-old, Ghulam Ali’s voice remains rich and resonant as his audience at Pakistan National Council of the Arts (PNCA) continued to spill beyond the auditorium.

PNCA arranged a musical night titled ‘An evening with Ghulam Ali’ in collaboration with Ministry of Culture to pay tribute to the ghazal singer and to promote ghazal music in the country.

His voice evoked romantic memories of another day, of a time when love was expressed with a flutter of eyelashes and passion was a gentle feather caressing the cheek.

Ghulam Ali, the singing sensation who has enthralled audiences all over the world for almost five decades and now with “Chupke Chupke Raat Din Aasoon Bahana Yaad Hai”, yet again enchanted and enthralled the capacity crowd at PNCA.

Culture Minister Pir Aftab Hussain Shah Jilani was chief guest on the occasion, while DG PNCA Tauqir Nasir, Secretary culture Moinul Islam Bukhari, diplomats, ghazal music lovers and students also attended the event. One just is not talking about his rendition of the unforgettable ‘Pehli Waar Aj ohna akhiyan nay Takya’, the Punjabi ghazal that became his calling card. His attire too was regal in capital letters. Dressed in a Black embroidered Kurta and white Shalwar and with off white muffler, Ghulam Ali looks every inch the grand ghazal gaik that he is.

He started off the night with Ghalib’s ‘Har ik Baat Pay Kehtay ho Tum, Kay Tu Kia Hay’, followed by Ahmed Faraz’s ghazals. Ali also sang few of his famous ghazals including ‘Chupkay Chupkay Rat Din Aansu Bahana Yad Hay’, ‘Awaargo’, ‘Hangama Hay Kio Barpa’, and ‘Zindagi sy yahi Gila hay Mujhay’ with his heavy, baritone voice.

Later, on demand of large gathering, Ghulam Ali created very subtle vibrations in his voice, which he uses very beautifully, to convey a whole range of emotions through it. He could make it a sound hopelessly romantic or melancholic.

Ghulam Ali belongs to a musical family, his father was vocalist and sarangi player. He got his initial musical training from his father. His father would teach him by keeping small green leaves over the harmonium keys and marking them with a ballpoint pen.

It is his classical style of singing combined with soul and emotion of the ghazal without compromising clarity of reciting the words that makes Ghulam Ali so unique. Many music critics and experts unanimously agree that Ghulam Ali’s compositions are very tough, and it is next to impossible to imitate them.

Ghulam Ali is equally sensitive about the rhythm and technical virtuosity of the ghazals. He recites each word very clearly, making sure that the meaning of the ghazal is conveyed effectively. He can make 15 plus minute long ghazal sound equally beautiful as Mehdi Hassan. Along with Mehdi Hassan, he played a pioneering role in reviving the Ghazal in the 1970’s.

Despite his classical ghazals, he is very popular among critics as well as music lovers in various countries besides his own. Due to this very reason many music labels across the border and world have produced numerous compilations of his ghazals.

Again, owing to his immense popularity, some of his ghazals have been used in the Indian Hindi movies. His popular ghazal “Chupke chupke raat din” has been used in the movie Nikaah featuring Raj Babbar and Salma Aghaa. Moreover, many of the hindi film songs have been “inspired” from some of his ghazals. “Thori si jo pi li hain, chori to nahi ki hain” from Namak Halal (Ghazal – Hungama hain kyon barpa) as one would recognize, is one them.

Ghulam Ali produces only a few albums a year as he concentrates more on his live concerts. For his live concerts, usually the accompanying musical instruments are harmonium and tabla. The musical instruments such as sarod, sitar, santoor often complement him, but it is his voice which rules, and not the instruments.

Addressing on the occasion, Culture Minister Pir Aftab Hussain Shah Jilani said that culture ministry in cooperation with cultural organizations was striving to promote art and culture of Pakistan using culture as a tool.

“PNCA’s effort to promote and revive the classical music is laudable and I am glad to know the council has done tremendously well to promote and transform cultural legacy to its coming generation,” Jilani said.

DG PNCA tauqir Nasir also spoke on the occasion.
Source: Daily Times