Ghazal maestro Jagjit Singh dies at 70

Monday October 10, 2011
Reference from
Jagjit Singh, ghazal king

Jagjit Singh, ghazal king

INDIAN musician and composer Jagjit Singh, who won generations of fans by reviving the traditional genre of ghazal tunes, died today in Mumbai at the age of 70, hospital officials said.

Singh, dubbed “The Ghazal King”, had been in intensive care for three weeks after undergoing surgery when he fell seriously ill with a brain haemorrhage.

Ghazals are a poetic form of singing that originated in the middle East and spread to India from the 12th century.

They were traditionally reserved for the elite, but Singh popularised the form in the 1970s and 1980s by pioneering a modern ghazal sound and using Western instruments alongside Indian classical ones.

“Unfortunately, he expired this morning,” said Mohan Rajan, spokesman for the private Lilavati Hospital in Mumbai.

As well as spreading the appeal of ghazal in India, Singh sang and composed for Bollywood, the Hindi-language film industry.

Singh will be best remembered for his music in the films Prem Geet in 1981 and Arth the following year.

He last sang in the low-budget film Khushiyaan, which is due in cinemas on Friday (October 14).

Jagjit Singh was born to a poor family in Rajasthan on February 8, 1941.

He took to singing at an early age and like millions of other migrants, travelled to Mumbai, then known as Bombay, to make his fortune.

After initial struggles singing advertising jingles and performing at parties, he found a foothold in regional-language and Bollywood cinema, going on to form a successful duo with his wife Chitra in the 1970s and 80s.

When Singh was taken to hospital on September 23, he had been about to sing at a concert in Mumbai with Pakistani ghazal legend Ghulam Ali.

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