21 comments on “And Now for One Gorgeous Duet

  1. what a lovely song! never heard it before.
    Love the outfits: the first time I went to Chennai, I was 16, and this is what most of the girls my age were wearing, and I loved it!
    Apparently it is no longer so, jeans and salwar-kameez have now taken over….what a pity!

  2. Bawa, always happy to present something you like that you haven’t heard before!

    Those are nice outfits, and I don’t think I see women dressed exactly like that around here either. That might seem like a funny thing to say, but in Jackson Heights, I often do see people, especially women, dressed in very colorful old-style Indian attire, far from jeans. (I see a lot of this especially on Sundays.) But they’re mostly norhern Indians, Pakistanis, and Banglas; there probably isn’t much southern style. :)

  3. Richard, it was the style in the south only, salwar-kameez (the baggy trousers with long shirt) was the norm in punjab/dlehi.
    The weird thing is, in my dad’s time, when he was young, a tumba = a sort of straight skirt with a pleat at the front, was common in rural punjab along with the “ghagra”: the skirt very like in this song, only with longer shirts and the salwar was kind of “night/home only” clothes, only to be within the house and family. If a visitor came or they went out, they put a ghagra (skirt) over the salwar!
    I Chennai I liked this manner of the long skirt with blouse and this particular way of wearing the dupattai..but the last few times I have been in the south, north indian dress seems to have become ubiquitous, a pity, I think. But I maybe wrong, anyone tamil nadu may know more.
    Yes, you would see everyone in Indian clothes esp on a Sunday, but it does seem to be mostly sarees or any of the forms of north indian salwar or churidar (the tight trousers)

  4. Thanks for the link, richard!
    Didn’t know that there were so many more ways of wearing a sari. I only knew the north indian, orissa, bangali, malyali and tamil styles.

  5. fun link!

    Now I have “pay” you back by sharing favourite a Noor song. It was originally sung by her and picturised on her as Anarkali

    And then you can hear young Sajjad Ali, who made waves with his re-singing of this song, which Madame Noor Jehan herself appears to enjoy very much! It was from a great talk-show of PTV called Silver Jubilee and this episode was his debut on TV, and an excellent one too!

  6. As is usual when you start looking at history, your song led me somehow to Noor’s Bawari Chakori, leading to Sajjad Ali, who as a child re-sang -and very well- two real hits of Master Madan, the very very famous young ghazal singer. I really like his singing but he came to strange end, dying at the age of 14 through poisoning, over several months in Radio Delhi, with mercury. Rumours hinted at anything from Begum Akhtar (= Akhatari Faizabadi)!! to a host of other jealous adult singers, but no one ever investigated- British times- and as such it remains a mystery.

    So you can see passions singing evokes in India as elsewhere: this is his most famous ghazal, there are very few recordings as most of the singing was live radio. Hope you enjoy this slice of Indian music history!

  7. thank you bawa for these glorious videos. what a voice!
    Have to find out more about this master madan. Are there more samples of this on you tube? Can one buy his records anywhere? What a captivating voice!
    I am completely bowled over!

  8. Bawa, you made my life richer with this contribution. No exaggeration here. His voice has this timbre which makes it stand out from hundreds. I don’t know much (let us say nothing) about the techniques of singing but he must be great, making it sound all so easy. He has a singular voice just as Bade Ghulam Ali Khan’s voice was. THANKS a lot!
    Lapped up all his you tube videos and will be doing it more often this evening. Goodbye all home work!

  9. Thanks harvey! Master Madan was born in Khanna in a Sikh family, and sang at an early age , 3 or 4 by all accounts. He became a rage all over India appearing in live shows and AIR, Delhi. Dad was govt officer.

    HMV recorded only these 2 ghazals , think at the age of about 11, and for a long time it was thought nothing more had been left for posterity. Then, a few years ago, 6 more records were found: private ones, apparently recorded much earlier, when his Sikh and other admirers, where he sang shabads, approached HMV to record him and were turned down. they then made these private recordings distributed also the same way, of 2 punjabi filk songs, 2 shabads, and 2 light classical compositions. These are now available on youtube and surjit singh’s page.

    His surviving aunt family lives in Delhi and his aunt and uncle in Shimla still.
    His Dad only passed away in 1981.

    It was well-known that he was slowly becoming ill and for some reason it was even pinpointed to the milk he drank in AIR Delhi canteen everyday. Mercury was prime suspect but he couldn’t be saved. The whole thing took several months, have heard that no investigation was carried out as far as anyone knows: troubled times and all. People often pointed at jealous fellow singers, the guy was immensely popular and a natural genius.

    We had the 78 rpm HMV ghazals at home- Dad loved him- and of course he had heard him sining all sorts of things on AIR when he was alive. And I played it over and over again…

    A great loss to Indian music: those ghazals are just amazing, he had such an ease and control in his voice.

  10. Bawa, thank you for these great songs/clips and all the information…

    I know the soundtrack to Anarkali well. I think the song from this movie that is most familiar to me is “Jalte Hain Armaan,” which I have on my homemade ’50s Noor compilation and have listened to many times. “Bwari Chakori” is very nice too, as is every song from this great soundtrack. It was nice, too, hearing Sajjad Ali’s version. And I love the piece of Indian music history from and about Master Madan! Given all the comments and clips that you’ve been providing since you started commenting on this blog, I think you have already added quite a bit to my education in Indian music history.

  11. @ bawa: Thanks for the info, the info oyou have provided wasn’t to be found though I searched in the web for more info on master madan. Very interesting. Have to just figure out how to download those clips.
    Thanks to richard for it as well.

  12. @ bawa: also thanks for the Anarkali song: banwari chakori. liked it so much, that I went to have a look at the original. Like them both!
    Who is Sajjad Ali? Is he famous?

  13. Sajjad Ali came from a branch of Bade Ghulam Ali’s family, I believe, from what was said about in his TV days. I have a great cassette by him, worn now to the point of danger, where he sings Master Madan’s “Reh reh ke” and also a great ghazal by Mir Taqi Mir, “Dekh to dil ke jaan se”, as teenager, and also some classical. Unfortunately for me, after this excellent beginning, he began to sing more mundane “pop” songs and forgettable filmi songs of the Pak 80s and 90s. if you search in youtube for his name, these are the ones that come up…a waste of a voice really, to me, although I guess he had his reasons.

    Richard, harvey, it is a pleasure to share what little knowledge one has to people who are genuinely interested!

    This quote from a piece by my niece about my father, written in a book we presented as a homage to my parents on their 50th wedding anniversary may help explain some of the sources of this curiosity
    “..grandad, enduring friendships, knowledgeable about everything under the sun…answers to all possible questions I have ever had…and loads of wonderful stories to tell. In the age of no internet and email he has the strongest, most enduring friendships that find no match in today’s world. Also I keep wondering how does he manage all those answers to our zillion questions without any support form “google”.

  14. I have now found the audio clips of Sajjad Ali, a truly excellent young singer, but it also highlights how great Master Madan’s talent was.

    here’s Aaye na Baalam

  15. harvey:
    here are links to the most detailed info i have been able to find on the internet re Master Madan. one of my Dad’s best friend was posted in Shimla for a few years in early 50s and the story was still fresh in many minds there. Hence some details that I know from hearing these stories.
    The Tribune article is especially interesting as it details the relationship between Master Madan and K L Saigal. That train journey they mention makes me long for a time machine!

    http://writtenencounters.blogspot.com/2006/10/master-madan-hindustani-musics-child.html

    http://www.tribuneindia.com/2006/20061001/spectrum/main1.htm

  16. Wow, the phrase about your dad is so touching. Your dad must have been so proud to have a family like this and rightly so! :-D

    So Sajjad Ali is from the same family as Bade Ghulam Ali Khan, does he? Musicality, one can say, runs in their genes, eh? But I’m sure Sajjad Ali did his riaz good as well. have to lsiten to the link, which you’ve sent.

    Thanks so much for sharing.
    You told once that your children are into western classical. Have you heard Maria Callas. She is phenomenal. She doesn’t have a sweet nightingale voice, but when you listen to her, she strikes a chord in you just like with Bade Ghulam Ali and Master Madan or even Shobha Gurtu.

  17. richard, harvey, look what I just found! not even the two articles so well-researched above mention this. I suspect if one were to go to the archives of the newspapers of the era, much more could be found, to say nothing of the AIR.

    http://www.jstor.org/pss/906375

    whereas this
    http://www.thehindu.com/fr/2009/11/06/stories/2009110650210400.htm
    tells us that the music director responsible for M Madan was the elder brother (Pt. Amarnath – Mirza Sahiban) of a composer duo who gave Lata Mangeshkar one of her earliest hit films – Bari Behen.

  18. harvey: dad is still around :)), and his classmate posted in Shimla too, and he can still come up with a few tales, more interesting now that he doesn’t “control” them as when he was younger!

    Unfortunately he can’t read much anymore – gets dizzy- but both my parents are great readers, and that is the otehr reason I have so many odd facts sticking in my head: we must have subscribed to at least 3 newspapers and more than a dozen magazines , literary, film, general news, foreign, indian, when I was growing up.

    But over the past few years he has concentrated solely on his other passion -music- apart from the glass of beer of course!

    Love opera and Callas, although I only started to like Western classical as a student in London, after I had seen the first live concert.
    In fact daughter is going to start conservatoire in Sept.- Guildhall school of music- very very difficult career choice. But as she got offers from 3 in London, it seems that she does have the talent to begin with, at least.

  19. Bawa, many thanks for the links to all the articles and posts. I only comment in a spotty way right now (there is so much stuff there! :)…

    Interesting about Pt. Amarnath. As you know, I’ve become something of a fan of his. I love the soundtrack to Mirza Sahiban (1947); it’s one of my all-time favorites. (I downloaded that and I actually listen to it on headphones sometimes while riding on the subway :) …

    Thanks for the link to that blog by Fawad Zakariya. I’ve seen that one before (maybe through a reference from you?)… But I really like his other one, “Moments of Tranquility,” which I am adding to my blogroll.

    Meanwhile, I will have to return to some of these articles tomorrow (I’ve been busy with a few things on this blog, as you can see. :)

    Thanks again for sending so much stuff over here!

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