- Birth Date: 08 Feb 1941
- Birth Place: SriGanganagar, Rajasthan
He is the numero-uno of the ghazal world. His poignant and meaningful lyrics and hauntingly mellow voice stimulates many a thinking mind.Jagjit Singh's articulation of tenderness and exclusive choice of lyrical poetry of renowned Urdu poets has helped him create a fond and firm niche in millions of hearts. The Ghazal maestro Jagjit Singh brings a welcome respite from the raucous Bhangra dhols and the inanity of Indipop.Jagjit Singh is known for imparting sensibility to the declining standards of Indian music. His latest album "Aaeena" is a delectable music treat replete with ghazals and songs of love, longing, pain and separation.
Jagjit Singh was born on 8th February 1941 at SriGanganagar in Rajasthan. His father Sardar AmarSingh Dhiman, a Government servant, originally hailed from Dalla village in Ropar district and his mother Sardarni Bachchan Kaur came from deeply religious Sokhi family of Ottallan village near Samralla. His siblings include four sisters and two brothers and he is fondly called Jeet by his family.Although his late father always wanted him to pursue IAS as a career, he took immense pride in his son's achievements in the world of music today. Schooling was done from Khalsa High School at SriGanganagar. He passed his Inter in Science stream from Government college, SriGanganagar. He graduated in the Arts stream from DAV College, Jalandhar. He also acquired a Post Graduate Degree in history from Kurukshetra University, Haryana.
His association with music goes back to his childhood days when he was twelve years old. He first learnt under Pandit Chaganlal Sharma for two years in SriGanganagar. After which for another six years he learnt under Ustad Jamaal Khan of Sainia Gharana, under whom he learnt all forms of Indian ClassicalMusic - Khayal, Thumri and Drupad and gained early recognition from his recordings at HMV and EMI India. He always had an open mind and was ready to learn from lesser known but talented musicians throughout his college days.
He first learnt under Pandit Chaganlal Sharma for two years in SriGanganagar. After which for another six years he learnt under Ustad Jamaal Khan of Sainia Gharana, under whom he learnt all forms of Indian ClassicalMusic - Khayal, Thumri and Drupad. He always had an open mind and was ready to learn from lesser known but talented musicians throughout his college days.
He reached Bombay in 1965 and his struggle from another wannabe to the pinnacle of Ghazal started. Like any other struggler, he too had his share of trials and tribulations. He never had a god-father and hence it was an uphill task to survive in Mumbai. He lived as a paying guest and accepted every singing assignment that came his way - be it jingles for ad films or performing at weddings and parties.
In 1967 Jagjit met Chitra who hails from a Bengali Shome family of Calcutta. Her mother, Krishna Roy, was a Classical vocalist. Chitra was the only child of her parents. She did her graduation in English Honours and also learnt Classical Music and Rabindra Sangeet in Calcutta. She had a diverse range of interests, ranging from painting to dance forms like Manipuri and Bharat Natyam. They got married in 1969. Jagjit Singh pioneered the ghazal wave in India in 1976, thus creating a new music genre with his debut album "The Unforgettables" with wife Chitra. Against the backdrop of a delectable amalgamation of western and Indian instruments he gave a new form to ghazal and nazm.The love affair that started with 'The Unforgettables' continued well into 'Ecstasies'. It flew high with 'A Sound Affair' and grew passionate with 'Passions'. Needless to say, that all of them disappeared from the shelves like magic. And magic it was, of the duo's voice, of the blissful romance and the utter blithesome quality of their Ghazals.
While the above-mentioned albums were breezy, 'Beyond Time' released in the opening years of nineties was an experimentation with sounds and conveyed a feeling that was beyond space and time. Around this time the duo was struck by grief as their only son Vivek Singh met a car accident, on July 28, 1990.Chitra stopped singing and retired completely from singing after the sudden death of their only son.Shocking, as it was to them, it was as much shocking for the innumerable fans across the world. The album is a tour to the soul, ethereal, conscientious and introspective. Fraught with pain, the album in one word is touching. 'Someone Somewhere' has become the last album by the duo together and subsequently Chitra Singh called it quits.
The towering persona of Jagjit Singh braved the tragedy and continued alone treating the listeners with gems like 'Hope', 'In Search', 'Insight', 'Mirage', 'Visions', 'Kahkashan', 'Love Is Blind', 'Chirag' and a few others. 'Sajda' in collaboration with Lata Mangeshkar was another brilliant release and made its mark as a classic Ghazal album. His evergreen ghazals like "Baat Niglegi To Phir" and "Sarakti Jai Hai Rukh Se" are still hummed for their sheer magic and charm. His musical genius was further exhibited through filmi ghazals for films like "Prem Geet", "Saath Saath" and "Arth". Of his latest release there is an album of his ghazals "Saher" and two compilation albums "Jazbaat" and "Dil Kahin Hosh Kahin" along with singers like Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Bhosle.
Like a true genius, Jagjit Singh did not restrict himself to Ghazals and has also cut a few albums of Bhajans. 'Maa', 'Hare Krishna', 'Hey Ram...Hey Ram', 'Ichhabal' and also 'Man Jeetai Jagjeet' in Punjabi, put him in the league of Bhajan singers Mukesh, Hari Om Sharan, Yesudas, Anup Jalota and Nitin Mukesh.
Of late, there has been a clear shift in the mood of his Ghazals; they have acquired a more soulful and poignant demeanour, as in 'Marasim', 'Face To Face' and the latest 'Aaeena' 'Cmy For Cry'. But all through this romance never took a backseat! The journey to the soul is punctuated by romantic pauses like 'Dil Kahin Hosh Kahin'. A testimony to his popularity is his Ghazals in recent Bollywood flicks like 'Dushman', 'Sarfarosh' and 'Tarkieb'. In addition to cultivating his own successful career, Jagjit Singh has been involved in guiding many new talents such as Talat Aziz and Vinod Sehgal. He is also active in several philanthropic endeavors such as the Library at St.Mary's, Bombay Hospital, CRY, and ALMA, an organization whose focus is to adopt students for further education and development.