|Jagjit Singh was born “Jagmohan” in a religious middle class Sikh family on 8th February 1941 in Sriganganagar, Rajasthan. On a family priest’s advice his name was changed to Jagjit… the priest could look into the crystal ball! His father saw a musical spark in him and arranged lessons for him in the guidance of Pt. Chaganlal Sharma. Later he learned from Ustad Jamal Khan of Senia Gharana considered to be a descendant of Mian Tansen. He listened to all the great masters of that time but was enamored by the style of Ustad Aamir Khan Saheb and shades of that style are visible in his singing.Chitra Singh (Shome) then, was born in Calcutta in a musical family where her mother was a trained vocalist. While she was a witness and a follower of the musical lessons at home, She has not learned the intricacies of the classical music through the “tayyari” way. She claims to be and is a vocalist by the ear, though in her later years she learned from people like K. Mahavir, Mohinderjeet & Jagjit Singh himself whose style she absorbed and a fantastic fusion was born.
Jagjit went to Khalsa School & later in a college in Sriganganagar but music overrode all scholarly ambitions. To pursue his music he shifted to DAV College Jallandher where at the All India Radio he performed & came in contact with some leading lights of Music at that time. While he was a trained classical vocalist he sensed in himself a melancholy shade source of which remain a mystery. This took him to ‘bol pradhan gayaki’ and eventually to the ghazal format, his visits to Raag “Bhairavi” time and again indicate to something. (listen to Raag “ Lalit ” in “koi paas aaya savere savere – Come Alive & recently “Sahma Sahma Dara Sa Rehta Hai”- Koi Baat Chale) He later enrolled in Kurukshetra University where he won a lot of admirers all around for his craft. He did not fulfill his father’s ambitions of making it to the IAS but logically took the Bombay musical route and finally arrived back here in 1965 having had a feel of the city on an earlier scouting mission in the year 1961.
Chitra Singh had married very early and this child bride was a mother before she stopped being a child herself. She married Mr. Datta and on a transferable job landed in Bombay. Mr. Datta ran a sound recording studio from his home where they stayed, he recorded jingles there then and shortly Chitra Datta became the undisputed jingle queen of the town. Among other people she met Jagjit Singh around this time and did some odd jingle together. Chitra Datta’s marriage was nearly over when Jagjit made an appearance in her life and they were married in the year 1970 joining lives and career together.
There didn’t exist a sustainable market in those days for non filmy music so like everyone else they made the rounds of the “film Circle”. A few crumbs did come their way but that was not what they were destined to do. Both decided to focus on the ghazal and expanding the market. In the pre “Unforgettable” era Jagjit made 3 EP’s, Chitra 2 and a Super Seven together. (go to “Albums” for Details) Jagjit the vocalist was being challenged by Jagjit the composer and the arrival of this Super Seven settled it once in for all him being a composer first, a vocalist second followed by an arranger and a technician.
The “Unforgettable” 1976 changed the face of Ghazal and non-film music forever. Its quality and charm won over a new audience who wanted to get away from the deteriorating filmy music but didn’t know where to go. “Baat Niklegi”, “Aahista Aahista”, “Dard Badhkar”, “Bohot Pehle Se” brought him attention from the whole nation and put him in a different orbit. They had now arrived! This album was followed by a Punjabi album “Birha Da Sultan” followed by “Milestone” setting new records in sales and acceptance.
It his here that “India Today” included Jagjit & Chitra Singh in their list of “50 People who changed our Lives” and Khuswant Singh said about Jagjit Singh-“He sings better than Mehdi Hassan and looks better than Dilip Kumar”. It is you his audience who can put a stamp of approval or otherwise on these.
Films also happened around the same time while films like-PremGeet, Arth & Saath Saath brought in mass adulations and critical acclaim some indifferent half hearted work in others due to constant “non-musical interference” convinced the duo to stick to their form of music where they were making a new pathway and expanding the market for many other artists to follow. One after the other private album followed “Ecstasies”, “Sound Affair”, “Passions”, “Echoes”, “Beyond Time” setting the bar higher in product and commercial success. They also composed music for Famous TV Serials like “Mirza Ghalib” & “Kahkashan” which enabled the serials to live in the memory of viewers even today.
The duo always encouraged new talent and made private albums and film music with the likes of Sudha Malhotra, Sukhwinder Singh, Ghansham Vaswani, Vinod Sehgal, Seema Sharma, Ashok Khosla, Dilraj Kaur, Ila Arun, Hariharan, Kumar Sanu, Talat Aziz, Abhijeet, Jaspinder Nirula & many more. All of them are established musicians in their own right, Jaswinder Singh (Bunty) is keeping the Ghazal flag flying based in the U.S.A.
The duo has performed all over the world in the USA, Canada, UK, Pakistan, Singapore, Kenya, South Africa, Dubai, Kuwait, Europe, Australia, New Zealand in over 40 Countries and enthralled audience all over. Their concerts have taken places in every corner of the subcontinent setting high standards in quality and presentation.
In the year 1990 tragedy strike the duo as their only son Vivek expired in a road accident. The duo were jolted like never before. Jagjit Singh took time off, and buried his sorrows in music. His religious renderings after that bear a testimony to that. Jagjit Singh made peace with the all mighty but Chitra Singh could never totally recover from this shock. She stopped singing completely and went out of public gaze searching for answers. She always was a private person but her journey for peace and answers continuous till today. They however released an album “Someone Somewhere” as a tribute to their son which was recorded before the mishap. Starting with a Shabd – Gurubani Album Jagjit made a solo comeback minus Chitra Singh and made this pain as a reference point for his music to come. Jagjit also released an album with “Lata Mangeskar” “SAJDA” which was his long standing dream. Other notable albums include “Marasim”, “Face to Face”, Silsilay”, Bhajan albums (now a staple with Jagjit Singh) & an album with Prime Minister Vajpayee “Nai Dishayen” His recent album “Koi Baat Chale” with Gulzar and “Kabir Bhajans have been received extremely well by the public.
Jagjit Singh is associated with a lot of Charities and has brought out a special album “Cry for Cry” for Children Relief and You (CRY). The other NGO’s he is involved with include Prayas, Save the Children, Alert India, NAB & Concern India. He has done a number of concerts to raise money for Social Causes and mishaps including Earth Quake, Floods etc.
Jagjit sing has won numerous awards including a D.Litt., the Sahitya Kala, Sangeet Natak Academy, Ghalib Academy & Lata Mangeskar Award by the M.P. Govt. In the year 2003 he was given the much coveted “PADMA BHUSHAN” by the Govt. of India.
One very important facet of Jagjit Singh’s life is his passions for Horses & Racing. He owns stabled race horses which are looked after by his team of trainers and syces. His relaxation comes from Horses and being around them. He has derby wins to his credit, a feat that gives him immense pleasure and satisfaction.
A colossus in the world of Music, the duo in real life are simple, humorous, unassuming persons touching the hearts of both, the connoisseur of Music as well as the common man.
|They are assisted by the following musicians in their concerts/recordings