The passing of ghazal maestro Jagjit Singh last year was a great loss to the music field. After a year, Sony Music and Chitra Singh are releasing eight songs of Jagjit in a new album called The Master and His Magic. These ghazals are from his live performances in the early 80s, but have not been released before. The songs have been restored and remastered by Chitra.
In an interview with Senior editor S. Sahaya Ranjit, Chitra spoke on Jagjit’s penchant for perfection, as well as the modern singers. Excerpts:
Are these special songs that you have chosen from his live concerts? And what is special about these songs?
A few months ago I had an ardent fan and a friend of ours from Ahmedabad who called me and said he had a collection of Jagjitji’s unreleased songs from various performances lying with him and he handed them over to me. I then worked on restoring and re-mastering them as none of these were studio recordings. This album is a tribute from me to Jagjitji and a gift to millions of his fans.
Have you also sung these songs jointly?
No, I am not a part of this album, well yes you will be able to hear me, but I would not like to divulge any details, this is something you should experience after listening to the album. These are penned by the India’s greatest lyricists Wasim Bareilvi, Farag Roohvi, Ghalib, the ghazals take you through the different phases of Jagjitji’s life.
After a year of Jagjit Singh’s passing away…..have you reconciled to the fact he is somewhere up above singing
Of course it has been difficult, its like I am not there. I have responsibilities to take care of and that’s why I am going on .
What is that special trait of his that you miss today?
He was a perfectionist where his music was concerned he would check every single instrument, sitting position, micro phone position. No rehearsal before the concert, he could sense the pulse of the audience
Do you listen to his music or ghazals everyday?
His ghazals are in my veins, I may not listen to his songs everyday but they are on me! I was a Talat Mahmood fan, so when I heard his voice for the first time I didn’t like it. I started listening to him and realised that it grows on you. My ears were not trained to listen to his music.
Ghazals have come a long way…..do you think today it is more geet-numa songs than pure ghazals that are sung today?
In India there are many sangeet vishards, who have do Phd’s in music but cannot sing one line.
Do you think the genre of ghazals is being diluted by the young singers of today ?
The trend of ghazals singing has changed, Jagjitji brought ghazals to such a level that today everyone in the world wants to sing only ghazals. People believe if ghazal singing has made what Jagjit ji was, then they all want to do that. What he has taught the world on how to compose lyrics, sing it, bring out the meaning of the lyrics, no one really knows that now. Today’s generation does not have any training or patience nor the passion that Jagjitji had.