ISLAMABAD: The 43rd death anniversary of the great folk singer Ustad Baray Ghulam Ali Khan was observed on Saturday.
The legend was born in Kasur in 1902. Baray Ghulam Ali Khan was at ease with almost all forms of sub-continental vocal music; Khayal, Tarana, Thumri, Dadra, and Kafi.
His close associates remember that he also sang Punjabi, Kashmiri, Sindhi, Purabi, Bengali, and even Nepalese folk songs with equal aplomb. After independence he left Bombay and settled down in Karachi.
Unfortunately, he was alienated by the "attitude" of the head of Karachi radio station at a social gathering in Lahore.
He returned to India in 1954, where he was warmly welcomed and eventually honoured with the highest award given to an individual for artistic excellence.
Baray Ghulam Ali Khan was master of Khayal singing as it was refined by the Patiala Gharana of Punjabi musicians, which came to dominate the entire sub-continental melodic scene.
His recitals of classical formulations, and the variety of effects which his unique voice created, held audiences spellbound.
During his 30-year career as a vocalist, his fame attained heights reached by few others. Music lovers still remember his masterly approach to the structure and unfolding of a raga.
For a good 25 years before his death, he was widely acknowledged as the greatest classical singer of the sub-continent.
He died in Hyderabad Deccan on 23 April 1968, after a prolonged illness which left him partially paralyzed in his last years.