Jagjit Singh

Jagjit Singh performing at Symphony Hall, Birmingham, 12 September 2008 Courtesy: HAE Live UKBackground informationBornFebruary 8, 1941 (age 70)
Sri Ganganagar, Rajasthan, IndiaGenresGhazal, Classical, Devotional, FolkOccupationsComposer, Singer, Music Director, Activist, EntrepreneurInstrumentsVocals, Harmonium, Tanpura, PianoYears active1966–presentLabelsEMI, HMV, Saregama, Universal Music, Sony BMG Music Entertainment, Polydor, TIPS, Venus, T-SeriesWebsitewww.jagjitsingh.co.uk

Jagjit Singh (Punjabi: ਜਗਜੀਤ ਸਿੰਘ, Hindi: जगजीत सिंह) (born February 8, 1941) is a prominent Indian Ghazal singer, composer, music director, activist and entrepreneur. Popularly known as “The Ghazal King” he gained acclaim together with his wife, another renowned Indian Ghazal singer Chitra Singh, in the 1970s and 1980s, as the first ever successful duo act (husband-wife) in the history of recorded Indian music. Together, they are considered to be the pioneers of modern Ghazal singing and regarded as most successful recording artistes outside the realm of Indian film music. He has sung in Punjabi, Hindi, Urdu, Bengali, Gujarati, Sindhi and Nepali languages. He was awarded India’s third highest civilian honour, the Padma Bhushan, in 2003.

Widely credited for the revival and popularity of Ghazal, an Indian classical art form, through his music in landmark films such as Prem Geet (1981), Arth and Saath Saath (1982), and TV serials Mirza Ghalib (1988) and Kahkashan (1991), Jagjit Singh is considered to be the most successful ghazal singer and composer of all time, in terms of both critical acclaim and commercial success. With a career spanning over five decades and a repertoire comprising 80 albums the range and breadth of his work has been regarded as genre-defining. He is the only composer and singer to have composed and recorded songs written by Prime MinisterAtal Behari Vajpayee, also a critically acclaimed poet – in two albums, Nayi Disha (1999) and Samvedna (2002). India’s current Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his wife Gursharan Kaur are known to be his avid admirers.

On May 10, 2007, in a milestone joint session held in the historic Central Hall of India’s Parliament (Sansad Bhawan), Jagjit Singh rendered the last Moghul Emperor, Bahadur Shah Zafar’s famous ghazal “Lagta nahin hai dil mera” to commemorate the 150th anniversary of India’s First War of Independence (1857). President A P J Abdul Kalam, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Vice-President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee, Congress President Sonia Gandhi and dignitaries including former Prime Ministers, Members of Parliament, Foreign Ambassadors and High Commissioners were in attendance.

Jagjit Singh is the first Indian composer, and together with his wife Chitra Singh the first recording artist in the history of Indian music to use digital multi-track recording for their (India’s first digitally recorded) album, Beyond Time (1987). He is regarded as one of India’s most influential artistes. Together with sitar legend Ravi Shankar and other leading figures of Indian classical music and literature, Singh has voiced his concerns over politicisation of arts and culture in India and lack of support experienced by the practitioners of India’s traditional art forms, particularly folk artists and musicians. He has lent active support to several philanthropic endeavors such as the library at St. Mary’s School, Mumbai, Bombay Hospital, CRY, Save the Children and ALMA.

On 23rd September 2011 he was hospitalized and was operated upon after suffering from a brain hemorrhage.

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[edit] Early years and background

Jagjit Singh was born in Sri Ganganagar, Rajasthan[1] to Amar Singh Dhiman, a government employee, a native of Dalla village in Punjab (India) and his mother, Bachan Kaur from Ottallan village, Samrala. He had four sisters and two brothers and he is known as Jeet by his family. He was raised as a Sikh by religion.

He went to Khalsa High School in Sri Ganganagar and then studied science after matriculation at Government College, Sri Ganganagar and went onto graduate in Arts at DAV College, Jalandhar. He is a post-graduate in history from Kurukshetra University in Haryana.

His association with music goes back to his childhood. He learnt music under Pandit Chaganlal Sharma for two years in Ganganagar, and later devoted six years to learning Khayal, Thumri and Dhrupad forms of Indian Classical Music from Ustad Jamaal Khan of the Sainia Gharana school.

[edit] Career

[edit] Early career

The Vice-Chancellor of Punjab University and Kurukshetra University, Late Professor Suraj Bhan encouraged his interest in music. He arrived in Mumbai in 1965 in search of better opportunities for being a musician and singer. His early struggle in the music industry, though not too harsh by his own account, still had its share of trials and tribulations. He lived as a paying guest and his earlier assignments were singing advertisement jingles or performing at weddings and parties.

[edit] First Entry Into Movies

Jagjit Singh was first offered to sing in a Gujarati Film. “Dharati Na Chhoru” produced by Mr. Suresh Amin, famously known by Jagjit Singh as “Jholi Vaaley Baba” : known so, because he carried a Red Shoulder Bag wherever he went. Mr Suresh Amin was from Baroda-Gujarat and was associated with Scad Consultants Pvt Ltd. When, Mr Suresh Amin died in 1998 and Scad Consultants, Baroda, Organized a Live Concert by Jagjit singh in December 1998 – Jagjit Singh [Famously Called by friends as Maharaj] paid a special Tribute to Mr Suresh Amin and dedicated the Scad Consultants Concert to Mr Suresh Amin by Singing the song ” Chitthi Na Koi Sandesh “, the perfect song to match his unawareness of Suresh Amin’s Death.

[edit] Rise to fame

During 1970s, the art of ghazal singing was dominated by well-established names like Noor Jehan, Malika Pukhraj, Begum Akhtar, Talat Mahmood and Mehdi Hassan. However, he was able to make his mark and carve out a niche for himself. In 1976, his album The Unforgetables (On HMV LP Records) hit music stores. Essentially a ghazal album, its emphasis on melody and Jagjit’s fresh voice was a departure from the prevalent style of ghazal rendition, which was heavily based on classical and semi-classical Indian music. Skeptics had their own reservations, purists scorned it but it was widely successful among listeners and the album set new sales records.

In 1967, Jagjit met Chitra, also a singer. After a two year courtship they got married (1969). They epitomize the first successful husband-wife singing team. Jagjit and Chitra Singh have made immense contributions to ‘Ghazal’ music and the Indian music industry in general.

Successful releases of the duo include Ecstasies, A Sound Affair and Passions. While these albums were breezy, Beyond Time released in the opening years of 1990s was an experimentation with sounds and conveyed a feeling that was beyond space and time.

Around this time the duo was struck by grief, when their only son, Vivek (21), met an untimely death in a road accident on 28 July 1990. Their subsequent album ‘Someone Somewhere’ was the last album with ghazals sung by both. The album is a tour of the soul, ethereal, conscientious and introspective. These ghazals have a moving quality to them since they embody a feeling of deep personal loss. After that Chitra Singh quit singing.

Jagjit Singh’s later albums, including Hope, In Search, Insight, Mirage, Visions, Kahkashan (meaning “Galaxy”), Love Is Blind, Chirag (meaning “Lamp”/”Flame”) also achieved success. Sajda (an Urdu word meaning “prostration”), which has ghazals sung by Jagjit and Lata Mangeshkar was another brilliant release and made its mark as a classic Ghazal album. The combined successes of his many albums made him the number one ghazal singer in India. The audience wanted more and Jagjit Singh obliged with his Punjabi albums. Ebullient, effervescent and bubbly, his Punjabi songs are pleasant as well as joyous. His enchanting ghazals use the choicest poetry by renowned poets including Mirza Ghalib, Firaq Gorakhpuri, Qateel Shifai, Shahid Kabir, Ameer Meenai, Kafeel Aazer, Sudarshan Faakir and Nida Fazli, and contemporary writers like Zaka Siddiqi, Nazir Bakri, Faiz Ratlami and Rajesh Reddy.

Jagjit also sang (as playback singer) for various songs in Bollywood films including Arth, Saath Saath, and Premgeet (all from 1980s). These scores remain popular even today. In fact, all the songs of film Premgeet were composed by Jagjit. His compositions for the TV serial Mirza Ghalib (based on the life of the poet Mirza Ghalib), remain extremely popular among ghazal aficionados. The exclusive element of Ghalib’s poetry was sensitively and wonderfully brought out in the soulful compositions of Ghalib’s ghazals by Jagjit Singh. The album could veritably be called a magnum opus.

Compared to his earlier ghazals (sung during 70s and 80s) his later ghazals have acquired a more soulful and poignant demeanour, as in albums such as Marasim, Face To Face, Aaeena, Cry 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, Tum Bin and Tarkeeb.

Most of the earlier albums of Jagjit Singh had English titles. Later, these had Urdu names like Sahar (meaning “Dawn”/”Morning”), Muntazir (meaning “In waiting”), Marasim (meaning “Relation”/”Relationship”/”Affinity” ), and “Soz” (meaning Pathos). The switchover may not be deliberate but marks a milestone in his singing. These new albums show a far better selection of lyrics and his singing has scaled new peaks.

Besides ghazals, Jagjit Singh has also sung Bhajans and Gurbani (Hindu and Sikh devotional hymns respectively). Albums such as Maa, Hare Krishna, Hey Ram…Hey Ram, Ichhabal and also Man Jeetai Jagjeet in Punjabi, put him in the league of Bhajan singers such as Mukesh, Hari Om Sharan, Yesudas, Anup Jalota and Purushottam Das Jalota. The soothing effect that Jagjit’s voice has on frayed nerves has prompted psychiatrists in metros (as large cities in India are called) to prescribe them as stress relievers.

[edit] Influence

Jagjit Singh is accredited with bringing the ghazal genre, which was previously restricted to the elite classes, to the masses. His music direction can be seen to be pioneering in changing the sound layout by adding more Western instruments while mostly retaining the traditional orchestra (which includes a tablaa, dholak, bongos, sitar, sarod, santoor, flute, and harmonium, and a couple of string instruments]. Jagjit Singh is also nicknamed Ghazaljeet Singh.

Jagjit Singh is accredited with finding a famous singer of modern times Kumar sanu. Sanu himself confessed that Jagjit singh offered him the first chance to sing.

Jagjit Singh voiced his opinion against artists from Pakistan being allowed to sing in India, when Pakistan refuses to reciprocate the gesture.

In addition to cultivating his own successful career, Jagjit Singh has been involved in guiding many new, talented singers such as Abhijeet, Talat Aziz, Ghanshyam Vaswani, Ashok Khosla, Siza Roy, Vikram Singh, and Vinod Sehgal. He also lends active support to several philanthropic endeavors such as the Library at St. Mary’s (Mumbai), Bombay Hospital, CRY, and ALMA (an organization that adopts under-privileged students for further education and development). He assisted Peta India [2] in asking the Minister of Railways to enforce speed restrictions to prevent further elephant deaths from collisions with speeding trains.

[edit] Personal life

Jagjit Singh married the popular singer Chitra Singh in 1969. They live in Vivek Singh Lane (a road dedicated to their son) on Breach Candy in Mumbai. Their only son, Vivek, died in a road accident in the early 1990s.

In January 1998, Jagjit Singh had a heart attack, which led him to quit smoking. In October 2007, he was hospitalized following blood circulation problems. He has been hospitalized in Lilawati Hospital at Mumbai on 23rd September 2011 due to brain hemorrhage and now he is in ICU undergoing major brain surgery[3].

[edit] Music career

[edit] Ghazals

There are many successful ghazals composed by Jagjit Singh. Some of them are listed below:-

  • Yaarian Rab Kar Ke (Sang for Shiv K. Batalvi)
  • Umr Jalwon mein basar ho
  • Der lagi aane mein tumko
  • Apni aankho ke samundar mein utar jaane de
  • Koi paas aayaa sawere-sawere
  • Apne hothon par sajaana chaahta hoon
  • Meri zindagi kisi aur ki, mere naam ka koi aur hai
  • Apne haathon kee lakeeron mein
  • Sadma to hai mujhe bhi ke tujhse juda hoon main
  • Aadmi aadmi ko kya degaa
  • Haath chhooten bhi to
  • Garaj baras pyaasi dharthi par phir paani de maula
  • Apni marzi se kahan apne safar ke hum hain
  • Ik barahman ne kaha hai
  • Main na hindu na musalmaan mujhe jeene do
  • Kaise kaise haadse sehte rahe
  • Wo jo hum mein tumme qaraar tha
  • Patta-patta boota-boota haal hamaara jaane hai
  • Chak jigar ke see lete hain
  • Main bhool jaaoon tumhe, ab yahi munaasib hai
  • Jaate jaate wo mujhe achchhi nishaani de gaya
  • Shaam se aankh mein namin si hai
  • Tere baare mein jab socha nahin thaa
  • Tere aane ki jab khabar mehke
  • Tamanna fir machal jaaye agar tum milne aa jaao
  • Ab main ration ki kataron mein nazar aata hoon
  • Tujhse milne ki saza denge tere shehar ke log
  • Patthar ke khuda, patthar ke sanam
  • Huzoor aapka bhi ahtraam karta chaloon
  • Din aa gaye sabaab ke aanchal sambhaaliye
  • Gulshan ki faqat phoolon se nahin kaaton se bhi zeenat hoti hai
  • Baat saaqi ki na taali jaayegi
  • Roshan jamal-e-yaar se hai anjuman tamaam
  • Tera chehra kitna suhaana lagta hai
  • Tum nahin, gham nahin sharaab nahin
  • Sarakti jaaye hain rukh se naqaab aahistaa-aahista
  • Ae khuda ret ke sehra ko samandar kar de
  • Yeh daulat bhi le lo, yeh shohrat bhi le lo
  • Hoshwalo ko khabar
  • Honthon se chhoo lo tum
  • Koi yeh kaise bataye
  • Tere khat
  • Bahut khoobsurat hai
  • Kiska Chehera
  • Kal chodvi ki raat thi
  • Baat niklegi to
  • Der laagi ane mein tumko
  • Main nashe mein hoon
  • Pyar mujhse jo kiya tumne
  • Tera chehera hai aaeene jaisa
  • Chitthi na koi sandesh
  • Tum itna jo muskura rahe ho
  • Jab se kareeb ho kay chale zindagi se hum
  • Koi fariyaad
  • Kahin duur jab din
  • Kehta hai baabul
  • Jhuki jhuki si nazar
  • Tumko dekha to yeh khayal
  • Sehma sehma
  • Yaad kiya dil ne kaha ho tum
  • Aap ko dekh kar
  • Jab saamne tum
  • Hazaron khwaishe aisi
  • Ya to mit jaaeeye ya mita deejiye
  • Tere aane ki jab khabar mehke
  • woh khat ke purje jala raha tha
  • tum ye kaise khafa ho gaye
  • hum to hai perdes mein desh mein
  • Jeevan Maran Chhe Ek (in Gujarati)
  • Woh kaaghaz ki kashti
  • Badi Najuk he ye manzil mohabbat ka safar he

[edit] Awards

  • In 2003, he was awarded the Padma Bhushan, one of India’s highest civilian honours, by the Government of India
  • In 2006, he was presented the Padmashree Award from the Prime Minister
  • In 2006, he was also presented the Teacher’s Achievement Awards

[edit] Discography

[edit] Song for films

Film Name↓ Year↓ Details↓
Dear Friend Hitler 2011 Har or tabahi ka manzar
Pyar Kare Dis : Feel The Power of Love 2007
Umar 2006 playback Singer: “Khumari Chaddh Ke Utar Gayi”
Kasak 2005
Dhoop 2003 playback singer: “Benaam Sa Ye Dard”, “Har Ek Ghar Mein Diya”, “Teri Aankhon Se Hi” lyrics
Joggers’ Park 2003 “Bari Nazuk Hai” lyrics
Aapko Pehle Bhi Kahin Dekha Hai 2003 “Aisi Aankhen Nahin Dekhi”
Leela 2002 “Dhuan Uttha Hai”, “Jaag Ke Kati”, “Jabse Kareeb Ho Ke Chale”, “Tere Khayal Ki”
Vadh 2002 “Bahut Khoobsurat”
Deham 2001 “Yun To Guzar Raha Hai”
Tum Bin 2001 Koi Fariyaad
Tarkieb 2000 Kiska Chehra ab mai dekhun… Tera chehra dekhkar
Shaheed Udham Singh 2000
Bhopal Express 1999 is duniya mein rakha kya hai
Sarfarosh 1999 “Hosh Walon Ko”
Dushman 1998 “Chhitti Na Koi Sandesh”
Khudai 1994 “Din Aa Gaye Shabab Ke”, “Ulfat Ka Jab Kisis Ne Liya Naam”, “Ye Sheeshe Ye Rishte”
Mammo 1994 hazaar baar ruke ham, hazaar baar chale by Gulzar
Khal Nayak 1993 “O Maa Tujhe Salaam”
Nargis 1992 “Dono Ke Dil Hai Majboor Pyar Se”, Main Kasie Kahoon Janeman
Billoo Badshah 1989
Aakhri Kahani 1989
Doosra Kanoon 1989 TV
Kaanoon Ki Awaaz 1989
Mirza Ghalib 1988 TV Hit Serial Directed by Gulzar
Rahi 1987
Aashiana 1986 “Humsafar Ban Ke Hum”
Long Da Lishkara 1986 “Ishq Hai Loko”
“Main Kandyali Thor Ve”
“Sare Pindch Puare Paye”
Phir Aayee Barsat 1985 “Na Mohabbat Na Dosti Ke Liye”
Ravan 1984 “Hum to Yun Apni Zindagi Se Mile”
“Main Gar Mein Chunariya”
Bahuroopi 1966
Bhavna 1984 “Mere Dil Mein Tu Hi Tu Hai”
Kalka 1983
Tum Laut Aao 1983
Zulf Ke Saye Saye 1983 “Nashili Raat Mein”
Arth 1982 “Jhuki Jhuki Si Nazar”
“Koi Yeh Kaise Bataye”
“Tere Khushboo Mein Base Khat”
“Too Nahin To Zindagi Mein Aur Kya Reha Jayega”
“Tum Itna Jo Muskura Rahe Ho”
Saath Saath 1982 “Pyar Mujh Se Jo Kiya Tumne”
“Tum Ko Dekha To Yeh Khayal Aaya”
“Yeh Bata De Mujhe Zindagi”
“Yeh Bata De Mujhe Zindagi”
“Yeh Tera Ghar Yeh Mera Ghar”
“Yun Zindagi Ki Raah Mein” chitra singh
Sitam 1982
Prem Geet 1981 Hontho se chhoo lo tum
Ek Baar Kaho 1980 Koi Gesu Koi Aanchal Hamein Aawaaz na De (music: Bappi Lahiri) (genre: nazm)
Griha Pravesh 1979
Avishkaar 1973
Heena 1999 TV Serial
Neem Ka Ped 1994 TV Serial (“Muunh ki baat sune har koii (Title Song)”)
Hello Zindagi 19** TV Serial (“Hai Lau Zindagi(Title Song)”)

[edit] Ghazal albums

  • The Unforgettables (1976)
  • Birha Da Sultan(Shiv Kumar Batalvi) Jagjit & Chitra (1978
  • Live in Pakistan (1979)
  • A Milestone (1980)
  • Main aur Meri Tanhaayee (1981)
  • The Latest (1982)
  • Ae mere Dil (1983)
  • Live at Royal Albert Hall ª(1983)
  • Ecstasies (1984)
  • A Sound Affair (1985)
  • Echoes (1985–86)
  • Beyond Time (1987)
  • Mirza Ghalib (Two Volumes) (1988), TV Serial Directed by Gulzar
  • Passion / Black Magic (1988)
  • Ghazals from Films (1989)
  • Emotions
  • Man Jite Jagjit (1990)
  • Memorable Ghazals of Jagjit and Chitra (1990)
  • Someone Somewhere (1990)
  • H O P E (1991)
  • Sajda (Two Volumes with Lata Ji) (1991)
  • Kahkashan (Two Volumes) (1991–92), TV Serial Directed by Jalal Agaa
  • Visions (Two Volumes) (1992)
  • In Search (1992)
  • Rare Gems (1992)
  • Face to face (1993)
  • Your Choice (1993)
  • Chiraag (1993)
  • Desires (1994)
  • Insight (1994)
  • Cry for Cry (1995)
  • Mirage
  • Unique (1996)
  • Come Alive in a Concert (1998 (CD))
  • Live at the Wembley
  • Love is Blind (1998)
  • Silsilay (1998) (Lyrics by Javed Akhtar)
  • Marasim (1999) (Lyrics by Gulzar)
  • jaam utha(1999)
  • Saher (2000)
  • Samvedna 2002 (Atal Behari Vajpayee‘s poetry))
  • Soz (2002) (Lyrics by Javed Akhtar)
  • Forget Me Not (2002)
  • Muntazir (2004)
  • Jeevan Kya Hai (2005)
  • Tum To Nahin Ho (Lyrics by Bashir Badr) (2005)
  • Life Story (2006)
  • Best of Jagjit & Chitra Singh (includes Mere Darwaaze Se Ab Chand Ko Ruksat Kar do by Ali Sardar Jaffrey)
  • Koi Baat Chale (Lyrics by Gulzar)
  • Jazbaat(2008)
  • Inteha (2009)(Promoted on Banoo Main Teri Dulhann)
  • Aeena (2009)
  • Vakratunda Mahakaya (2009)

His Nepali Ghazal ‘Kun Maya Sadar Bho, Mero maya badar bho…’ [which love has been granted, my love has been disproved]is a big hit… some other songs in the same album is romantic song which is ‘not his type’sung with Sadhana Sargam. though his nepali pronunciation in romantic songs are not perfect still worth listening.