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Singer Khurshid passes away 

KARACHI, April 19: Old time singer/actress Khurshid, whose songs from Bhakta Surdas (1942) and Tansen (1943) still linger in the memory of film music buff died on Wednesday after a prolonged illness. She started her film career way back in the late thirties and was among the two surviving actresses to have shared stellar honours with the renowned singer K.L. Saigal. Suraiya, another popular singer-actress of the forties and fifties, remains the only one now. Irshad Begum in real life, Khurshid had done a number of movies for Ranjeet Movietone and her leading men included Saigol, Motilal, Isharilal and Jairaj. Soon after partition she migrated to Pakistan and settled down in Karachi, where she did only two movies, Mandi and Fankar, both of which didn't fare well at the box-office. 

 In 1956 Irshad Begum got married to Yusuf Bhaimia, and made philanthropy the mainstay of her existence. Since then she refused to give interviews or even talk about her film career. She was 79 when she passed away.

Khursheed Begum's songs were a part of our childhood and growing up days; we heard her enchanting songs, sang them over the years and they became a part of our happy nostalgia.

For Bill Amlani's introduction please refer to his website at


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Nusrat Fateh Ali's musical tradition blazes through nephew  

Source: India Abroad News Service Aug 25, 2000 23:15 Hrs (IST)  

Los Angeles: More than a thousand fans of late Qawwali maestro Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, many of them Westerners, thronged a theatre here to hear his nephew, Rahat Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, carry on the tradition.   

The 27-year-old Rahat Khan did not disappoint the crowds at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre. His three hour-long concert reassured fans that Nusrat's signature stamp on the Sufi musical style of Qawwali still blazes.   

Singing a variety of mystical Sufi lyrics, Rahat Khan exhibited his command over the classical 'sargams' (musical notes) woven into the rendering of the songs, as well as on the high-pitched 'taans' (a musical mode) that were the hallmark of the late master. Seated on stage with 10 accompanists who assisted him vocally as well as on the tabla, dhol and harmonium, Khan opened his concert with his "Aalahoo" number, calling it "the signature lyric of our family."   

Singing in a high-voltage voice, Khan would often delve into the long, embellished taans, then another singer would pick up the taan until Khan would resume it again, turning the song into a group effort calculated to maximum impact on the audience.   Khan's manner of singing seemed to grip the audience with its vocal gymnastics as well as with his flowing hand gestures, chopping the air as his face gave expression to the passion of the lyrics. He rendered some popular lyrics, among them 'Mera Piya Ghar Aaya,' 'Jhulelal' and some Punjabi Qawwalis, as well as such emotional numbers as 'Udaasiyan Na Laate to Aur Kya Karte.'   After the interval, the vocalist warmed up to the audience and he sang song after song in quick succession, many of them the old master's popular numbers. Several people in the audience approached the stage and showered the singer with dollar bills, some shouted for encores and others danced in the aisles.   

As Khan's singing unleashed a dynamic energy, the audience began clapping, their hands up in the air, or dancing in their seats to numbers like 'Yeh Teri Nazarka Kasoor Hai Jo Sharab Peena Sikha Diya,' which had become a hit.   While singing 'Saasonki Maalape,' he sang the refrain in several different styles, changing the pace of his delivery and gesturing wildly, the audience responding with applause. After singing the famous 'Akhiyan,' Khan concluded with the all-time hit, 'Damadam Masta Kalandar.' No sooner had he ended the concert than the audience leaped out of their seats and gave him a standing ovation, clapping wildly.   Gifted with a robust, well-modulated voice that can reach an expansive range, Khan can delve with ease into soothing light classical progressions with sustained warmth.   The Qawwali tradition dates back to the 10th century, and the Khan family's Qawwali singing lineage dates back 600 years. Rahat was formally handed the mantle as head of the musical ensemble by his family a few years ago shortly after the death of the older Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan.   

The late singer had handpicked his nephew Rahat to carry on the legacy, having trained him intensively since he was six years old. By the time he was 15, Rahat was accompanying the older Khan in every concert.   The younger Khan has appeared before the Southland audiences, first in January of 1997 and again in March of 1998 when he sang with Eddie Vedder in a benefit concert at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. Although audiences constantly compare him to the old master, they are also looking for his originality and his own stamp.

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  India's Noted music director Kalyanji dead

Source: Press Trust Of India, Thursday August 24, 9:21 PM

Mumbai, Aug 24 (PTI) India's Noted Hindi film music director Kalyanji Veer Shah died here Thursday after a prolonged illness, family sources said.   He was 72 and is survived by his wife Sakarben and five children.   

One of the duo of the famous Kalyanji-Anandji team, Kalyanji was suffering from breathing problem and was admitted to the Breach Candy hospital a fortnight back. He was recovering well but his condition deteriorated again and he breathed his last at 17:00 IST, his son Dinesh told PTI.   

Kalyanji started his career by assisting music director Hemant Kumar in mega hit "Nagin" by composing haunting melody of "Man Dole Mera Tan Dole" in 1952.   

He became an independent music director in 1954 when he composed music of "Samrat Chandragupt". Two years later he was joined by his younger brother Anandji to make a mark on the Hindi film music.   He received Padmashree (one of the highest civilian award of the country) three years ago and was honoured with almost all the awards meant for music direction in the country.   

Kalyanji had performed more than 1000 charity shows along with Amitabh Bachchan and others.   During the last decade, he became very popular among children through his show "Little Wonders" and performed over 350 shows.   

Kalyanji started "Kalaveer Academy" to promote new talent and one of his sons Viju Shah is also from the Academy. He was instrumental in promoting young talents like Anuradha Paudwal, Sadhna and Johnny Lever.

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  His voice is immortal
By Khushwant Singh 

Source: The Tribune August 26 2000

MANY years ago there lived a family of Muslim barbers in Kotla Sultan Singh village, not far from Amritsar. The father went to the city every day to dress menís hair and shave them in his tiny saloon facing the bus stop. He returned to his village home every evening. He had six sons, and to the youngest, born on December 24, 1924, he gave the name Mohammed Rafi.

Rafi went to the village school where he was taught Urdu, mathematics, history and geography. He could have learnt his fatherís trade and spent his life clipping menís hair and shaving their beards. But there was a fakir who went around the village every day begging for alms in the name of Allah. He had a mellifluous voice that so enchanted young Rafi that he began to follow him around and sing like him. His elder brother Hamid Rafi decided the boy would make a good singer. He sent him to Lahore when a fledgling film industry was coming up. Music director Shyam Sunder engaged him to sing a song in Punjabi. It was an instant hit.

Mohammed Rafi realised that if he had to make a career as a playback singer in Hindi films he had to have grounding in classical Hindustani music. He did that under the guidance of Jeevan Lal Matroo and Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan. He made his debut in Bombay films in 1944.

Not being much of a film-goer, I was not aware of how Mohammed Rafi had won millions of hearts with his voice. I first heard one of his songs sung by a young sardar at a small party given for me by Indian residents of Rangoon. It was Chaudhveen kaa chaand ho, yaa aafataab ho, jo bhii ho tum khudaa ki qasam, laa-javaab ho (You may be the full moon or the sun, whatever you are, you are beyond comparison). Hammy words but beautifully rendered without any musical accompaniment. Back home in India, I got hooked on Mohammed Rafi. For 35 years he dominated the world of male playback singers as the Mangeshkar sisters reigned over female singers. He died in Bombay 20 years ago on July 31, 1980. He was only 55.

It is a pity that Rafiís songs are not aired on TV or radio as often as they should be. They mean a lot to my generation. So I was very excited when I heard pianist Brian Silas would devote an entire evening to playing Rafiís best-known songs at the Habitat Centre on his 20th death anniversary. The idea was that of Brianís promoter and companion, Ravi of Rainbows. As usual she managed to pack the hall to capacity and had to turn back many would-be gate crashers. On the stage was the grand piano; behind it a large screen made up entirely of strings of jasmine flowers. The hall was filled with a heady fragrance. Raviís sister Sherry was to enlighten me about tunes which had faded out of my memory. My favourite Silas rendering is Jab jab bahaar aayee, aur phool muskraye, mujhe tum yaad aaye (whenever spring came and flowers blossomed into smiles, I thought of you). Again, a hammy verse beautifully sung by Rafi and as beautifully rendered by Brian Silas. I had no problem identifying Ishaaron ishaaron mein dil leyney vaale; others Sherry had to help me out with a mild reprimand: "How could you have forgotten this one?" A surprise item for the evening was Brian singing a ghazal while he played the piano. He got a lot of applause. I was not among the clappers. His voice is no better than mine. And mine is not very melodious.

The highlight of the evening was Brianís rendering of Madhuban mein Raadhika nache re. He played it with superb skill with his tabla accompaniment making it into a delightful jugalbandi. Months of practise must have gone into it to make it the most fitting tribute to Mohammed Rafi.

Ravi is planning to arrange concerts for Brian in Hyderabad, Bangalore, Chandigarh and other cities. People who have not heard him play have certainly missed something very precious.

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