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Jagjit Singh, music maestro


Jagjit Singh (music maestro) dies at 70


Jagjit Singh died on Monday in Mumbai at the age of 70. He had been in intensive care for three weeks after undergoing surgery when he fell seriously ill with a brain haemorrhage.

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Jhuki jhuki si nazar, in remembrance of Jagjit Singh

umbai, Oct 10, 2011: Indian ghazal king Jagjit Singh's way of celebrating his 70th year was unique - he was aiming to complete 70 concerts by the end of the year. The man who gave ghazals a new lease of life managed only 46 before breathing his last.

Singh, who learnt music under Pandit Chaganlal Sharma and then Ustad Jamaal Khan, rose to fame in the 1970s and 1980s with his lilting voice and refreshing style of rendering ghazals and devotional tracks. He was a Padma Bhushan awardee.

Born to a Sikh couple in Rajasthan Feb 8, 1941, Singh went on to pursue a post graduation in history from the Kurukshetra University in Haryana. He came to the country's entertainment capital, Mumbai in 1965, in search of work as a singer.

It was a struggle. Singing at small musical gatherings, house concerts and film parties in the hope of being noticed, became almost a daily routine for him. But he didn't lose hope.

In 1967, he met singer Chitra and following a courtship of two years, they tied the knot. Together they came up with several hit ghazal albums like "Ecstasies", "A Sound Affair", "Passions" and "Beyond Time" and were considered a formidable husband-wife singer duo.

They sang many successful duets until their only son, Vivek, died at the age of 21 in 1990. Chitra stopped singing. However, Singh continued his tryst with music - and for good.

In 1987, Singh recorded the first purely digital CD album by an Indian musician, "Beyond Time".

He also sang for Bollywood films like "Arth", "Saath Saath" and "Premgeet". He created a strong footing in films with songs like "Hontho se chhoo lo tum" ("Prem Geet"), "Tumko dekha toh yeh khayal aaya" ("Saath Saath"), "Jhuki jhuki si nazar" ("Arth"), "Hoshwalon ko" ("Sarfarosh") and "Badi nazuk hai" ("Jogger's Park").

Most of his non-film albums - "Hope", "In Search", "Insight", "Mirage", "Visions", "Kahkashan", "Love Is Blind", "Chirag", "Sajda", "Marasim", "Face To Face", "Aaeena" and "Cry For Cry" - were successful too.

His concerts were a delight, especially when he broke into pleasant Punjabi numbers like "Saun da mahina". His heavy voice used to turn joyful, leaving his listeners smiling ear to ear.

He had also collaborated with former Indian prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in two albums, "Nayi Disha" (1999) and "Samvedna" (2002). In his later years, Singh became disinterested in Bollywood music due to the moneymindedness of film producers.

But he remained connected to causes relating to the music industry. He was one of the frontrunners battling to get an equal percentage of royalty for singers and lyricist from songs.

What he couldn't battle was his illness. After being hospitalised for brain haemorrhage Sep 23, he died Monday morning. But the voice in tracks that won him the tag of Indian ghazal king, will remain fresh for generations to come.

Politicians in Maharashtra mourned the death of Jagjit Singh Monday, saying the ghazal maestro's absence will be felt by the music fraternity and millions of his fans.

Expressing his grief, Governor K. Sankaranarayanan conveyed his condolences to Singh's wife Chitra.

"Jagjit Singh was gifted with a rarest kind of voice that made his compositions elegant, beautiful and timeless. His death is particularly shocking as he had few more years of a brilliant singing career still left in him. In his death, Maharashtra has lost one of its proud jewels," he said in a message.

Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan said: "Jagjit Singh made ghazals a household name. He simplified the otherwise elite form of singing and made it understandable for a common man. In his death, we have lost a popular ghazal maestro."

Public Works Minister Chhagan Bhujbal said: "Singh might not be in this world in his physical form today, but he will always be present in our lives in the form of his ghazals and music. His ghazals were simplistic yet profound. His contribution to the spread of indian music in the form of ghazals and bhajans (devotional songs) cannot be forgotten."

People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) also paid tribute to Singh and his concern for elephants who were being run over by speeding trains.

"Singh's efforts to help stop the cruelty to these magnificent giants will live on through PETA's campaign until adequate steps are taken by the government to put their suffering to an end," a PETA official said.

Jagjit Singh had in April appealed to the then railway minister Mamata Banerjee to limit the speed of trains running through elephant corridors.

Singh, who died here after a brain haemorrhage at the age of 70, will be cremated Tuesday at Chandanwadi cemetery located in Marine Lines area of south Mumbai.


Bollywood celebrities, including singers, are expected to attend the funeral..........IANS

Ghazal loses its soulful king in Jagjit Singh (Roundup)

The soulful voice behind many a popular ghazal was stilled forever with the death of Jagjit Singh here Monday following brain haemorrhage. He was 70. Some of his songs like "Hontho se chhoo lo tum", "Jhuki jhuki si nazar" and "Tumko dekha toh yeh khayal aaya", continue to remain all-time favourites.

His death left not just his friends, family and colleagues teary-eyed, but also a huge void in the music industry, which was enriched with his soul-stirring and lilting melodies.

Singh was admitted to the Lilavati Hospital here Sep 23 following a brain haemorrhage. A surgery was conducted on him the same day, following which he showed slight improvement.

However, he breathed his last Monday morning. He is survived by wife Chitra Singh, who was by his side when he breathed his last.

The film industry remembered the singer and many paid condolences through Twitter.

Megastar Amitabh Bachchan posted on the microblogging site: "The sonorous silk voice of Jagjit Singh silent now!! A great loss to the world of music and Ghazal ...Prayers and condolences."

Oscar-winning composer A.R. Rahman tweeted: "Rest in Peace Jagjitji...No one can replace your voice and the perfection you had towards your art."

Singh will be cremated at Chandanwadi Crematorium at 4.30 p.m. in south Mumbai Tuesday. The cremation is expected to draw several celebrities. His relatives from Rajasthan have already arrived.

Born to a Sikh couple in Rajasthan Feb 8, 1941, Singh went on to pursue a post-graduate degree in history from the Kurukshetra University in Haryana. He came to the country's entertainment capital, Mumbai, in 1965, in search of work as a singer.

A Padma Bhushan award recipient, Singh has sung for many popular Hindi films. He had also sung in several languages, including Urdu, Punjabi, Gujarati and Nepali. His career boasted a repertoire comprising 50 albums, and he readily contributed to the ghazal, devotional and Bollywood market.

Music icons like Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Bhosle feel his music will live on.

"I can't imagine the days when I will no longer be able to hear his silken voice, no longer be able to talk to him or listen to his new songs. Now his old ghazals is all we have. His soothing voice, his warm hearted nature are all gone now. He was the pride of India. I also feel bad for his wife Chitra, she is all alone now," said Asha Bhosle.

Lata, with whom Singh collaborated for one of his best sold albums "Sajda", said: "It is such a big loss, an end of an era. He was one artist who never needed films to get popular. He was an instant hit."

Singh also worked with his his singer wife Chitra, whom he married in 1967, on various compilations, including "Ecstasies", "A Sound Affair", "Passions" and "Beyond Time".

His son's death in 1990 was a major setback, but that didn't curb his zeal to create soul-stirring music, and touch a million hearts.

The singer gave the industry memorable numbers like "Hontho se chhoo lo tum" ("Prem Geet"), "Tumko dekha toh yeh khayal aaya" ("Saath Saath"), "Jhuki jhuki si nazar" ("Arth"), "Hoshwalon ko khabar kya" ("Sarfarosh") and "Badi nazuk hai" ("Jogger's Park").

Among his other classic numbers are "Kal chaudhavin ki raat", "Koi ye kaise bataaye", "Woh kaagaz ki kashti", "Chitthi na koi sandesh", "Tum itna jo muskura rahe ho", "Shaam se aankh mein namin si hai", and "Kiska chehra".

Singh had four sisters and two brothers and was known as Jeet by his family.

He was the first Indian composer and, together with wife Chitra, the first recording artist in the history of Indian music to use digital multi-track recording -- for the album "Beyond Time" (1987).

Singh also voiced his concern over the politicisation of arts and culture in India and the lack of support for practitioners of India's traditional art forms, particularly folk artists and musicians.

Since the surgery on him at Lilavati Hospital, Singh was kept in the intensive care unit. A family spokesperson later said his body will be kept at the hospital Monday. "We shall take his body to the crematorium Tuesday for the last rites, till then it continues to be in the hospital," he said.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, in his condolence message, said: "I count myself among his admirers and share their sorrow. His music legacy will continue to enchant and entertain."

BJP leader L.K. Advani said: "It is a huge loss to the world of music and art...He was an extraordinary personality."

In Srinagar, Shabir Ahmad, an Urdu teacher, said the likes of Jagjit Singh might not be born for ages.

"There are only three big names who have sung Ghalib and helped him reach the masses. These are K.L. Sehgal, Talat Mehmood and Jagjit Singh," he said....IANS/



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