- Birth Date: 30 Nov -0001
- Birth Place: Kaleka, Pakistan
Ghulam Ali, the singing sensation has enthralled audiences all over the world for almost four decades now.His "Chupke Chupke Raat Din Aasoon Bahana Yaad Hai...." whose words still haunt. And the man behind that voice still stays as elusive as he ever was.His background as a Thumri singer makes him an exceptional ghazal singer. Ghulam Ali can easily be termed as the most versatile ghazal singer ever.
Ghulam Ali was born in 1940, at village Kaleke, district Sialkot, which is now a part of Pakistan in 1940 . He belongs to a musical family, his father was vocalist and sarangi player Ghulam Ali 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.
Ghulam Ali encountered Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan , an unparalleled legend of classical music fro the first time , when he was a 15-year-old boy. Ustad Khan had come to Kabul. Ghulam Ali's father requested the Ustad to take his son as a disciple. But the maestro insisted that since he was hardly in town, regular training wouldn't be possible. But after repeated requests from Ghulam Ali's father, Khan Saheb asked the young Ghulam Ali to sing something. It wasn't easy to sing before him. He mustered the courage to sing the thumri, Saiyyan Bolo Tanik Mose Rahiyo Na Jaye... After he finished, Ustad Saheb hugged him and made him his disciple.
Bade Ghulam Ali Khan had three brothers, Barqat Ali Khan, Mubarak Ali Khan and Amanat Ali Khan, all of whom were renowned classical musicians. The young Ghulam Ali was placed under their supervision as they lived in Lahore. It was under Ustad Mubarak Ali Khan that he learnt to recognise ragas and other basics. With time,his inclination towards ghazal, thumri, dadra grew, and he decided to take them up professionally. All these great teachers of classical music taught him finer details of classical music, making him one of the best classical singers of all times. And his solid foundation in pure classical music, raagas, thumaris is very apparent in all his singing, making is style unique and inimitable.
For the singer, 1960 was a turning point in his career. That year, he attended the biggest-ever musical event in Pakistan called Kul Pakistan Music Conference, in which maestros from across the world participated. Personalities such as Gopi Krishna and Girija Devi had come from India. He got to sing for 12 minutes, a rare chance for someone who was relatively unknown. He was the youngest there. As he sang, the demand for more poured in. The next day,he hit the headlines of the most prestigious newspaper of Lahore called Imroz.The rest, as they say, is history.
Also he came under the association of a master poet whom he has called Sufi Sahab. He guided Ghulam Ali to enter into the realm of the heart and aesthetics of ghazals. Sufi Sahab taught him how to recite the shers effectively without distorting the beauty of the poetry. He told him where to stop and where to stress so that the words remained crystal clear.
The hallmark of Ghulam Ali's style is his mastery over Classical Music and perfect understanding of the ghazal. He fuses them perfectly to bring this complex amalgam within the easy reach of all. The result -- timeless compositions like Hungama kyon hai barpa,Dil mein ek lahar si uthi hai abhi, Mehfil mein baar baar usi par nazar gayeen, Kal Chaudavin ki raat thi, to name only a few. His incomparable rendition of the ghazals through his pioneering style, coupled with his impeccable voice, carries even the most disinterested listener to a height where sheer ecstasy reigns supreme.
Ghulam Ali has a heavy, baritone voice, and while rendering ghazals he creates very subtle vibrations in his voice which he uses very beautifully, to convey a whole range of emotions through it. He could make it sound hopelessly romantic, he can make it sound melancholy, he can make it sound anything that he wants almost effortlessly.
It's his classical style of singing combined with soul and emotion of the ghazal without compromising clarity of reciting the words makes Ghulam Ali so unique. Many music critics and experts unanimously agree that Ghulam Aliís compositions are very tough, and it's 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 has played a pioneering role in reviving the Ghazal in the 1970's. He can deservedly be called one of the most influential amabassadors from across the border, who, when he sang Faasle aise bhi honge, yeh kabhi socha na tha brought ghazal from both the countries closer to one another. Listeners are always left breathtaken and spellbound as Ghulam Ali unlocks the eternity of emotions that run through his exquisite rendering of the ghazal.
Despite of his classical based ghazals, he is very popular among critics as well as music lovers giving him rare adulation in various countries besides his own. Due to this very reason many music labels such as HMV Saregama, Music India, Polydor, Venus, Tips, T-Series, Navras Sony across the globe 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. "Thodi si jo pi li hain, chori to nahi ki hain" from Namak Halal (Ghazal - Hungama hain kyon barpa) as you would recognize, is one them.
Ghulam Ali produces only a few albums a year , concentrating 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.