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In Search…Of Jagjit Singh

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Whenever I travel for work, I cannot NOT listen to GhazalJit Singh. While listening to one of the albums today, I wondered why some of the best albums of Jagjit Singh aren’t present in most of the playlists (which normally start with ‘Tumko dekha to ya khayal aaya’ and stop at ‘Hoshwalon ko khabar kya’ or at max ‘Koi fariyaad’).

Allow me to write a bit about the album that was released when I was in class 12 (1997) and was a companion in tackling many issues (including solving those tough mock CBSE Accounting papers)

  • Apne hothon par sajana chahta hu, aa tujhe main gungunana chahta hu – Penned by Qateel Shifai, the simplicity of singing and easy composition ensured that a noob of class 12th understood everything without having to consult any intellectual on the meaning of a Ghazal. Santoor was prominent throughout this entire album and this ghazal was no different. Towards the end you can hear Jagjit Singh humming and that was back then (and till now) so soothing. A quiet Ghazal about love and nothing else. If only such gems were released in the days of Youtube, twitter…
  • Dosti Jab kisise ki jaaye, Dushmano ki bhi raai li jaaye – Penned by Rahat Indoree, this ghazal speaks without mincing words about life that continues to bleed. The slow tabla throughout the ghazal with layers of Santoor, violins and other instruments brings in a stillness about things when one wants to sit and take stock of life. I remember going all ‘Waaaaaaaah’ when I heard this antraa for the first time that went ‘बोतलें खोल के तो पी बरसों, आज दिल खोल कर भी पी जाए’. I have lost count on the number of occassions I have used this line and gained appreciation at the expense of Jagjit Singh and Rahat Indoree..
  • Kahin Aisa na ho daaman jala lo, hamarey aansuon par khaak daalo – Penned by Liyaqat ali Azm – A ghazal with such a beautiful style of request and persuasion that will make you wonder if such arguments (To win back the beloved) exist today?  मनाना ही ज़रूरी है तो फिर तुम, हमें सबसे खफा हो कर मना लो….(उस अंदाज़ पे गौर करियेगा जिसमें जगजीत सिंह ‘हमारे’ कहते हैं…4:59 mins के समय)
  • Ya to mit jaaiy Ya mita dijiye, kijiye jab bhi sauda, khara kijiye – Penned by Wajida Tabassum, this is a ghazal for the hopeless romantic (No wonder Sitar makes the first appearance in this album via this ghazal). Good amount of keyboards were used by Jagjit singh to compliment the feel of the ghazal that remains top class throughout the ghazal. अब जफा कीजिए या वफ़ा कीजिए, आखिरी वक्त है, बस दुआ कीजिए…)
  • Kaise Kaise haadsey sehtey rahey, fir bhi hum jeetey rahey hanstey rahey – If she made us fall in love with ‘Ya to mit jaiye’, Wajida Tabassum makes our heart ache with this soulful ghazal. Pain was jagjit singh’s middle name so he is quite easily at his best, composition wise, arrangement wise and singing wise. The deliberate high pitch in the mukhda of the ghazal constructs a feel of pain just so beautifully…वक्त तो गुज़रा मगर कुछ इस तरह, हम चरागों की तरह जलते रहे…
  • Khaamoshi khud apni sada ho aisa bhi ho sakta hai, sannata hee goonj raha ho aisa bhi ho sakta hai – Penned by Zaqa Siddiqui, this ghazal makes up for the ‘sadness’ in the album. Composed in low notes especially in the Mukhda of the ghazal, this is not an easy ghazal to sing. A ghazal filled with insight and self reflection.
  • Bebasi Jurm hai hauslaa jurm hai, zindagi teri ek-ek adaa Jurm hai –  Ayaz Jhansvi pens this ghazal with good amount of ‘शिकायत’ quotient and Jagjit Singh sang it with consummate ease. Poetry at it’s fluid best, composition at it’s melodious best, there is hardly a thing that is wrong with this ghazal. याद रखना तुझे मेरा इक जुर्म था, भूल जाना तुझे दूसरा जुर्म है…
  • Jab kisi se koi gila rakhnaa, saamne apne aaina rakhnaNida fazli gives the voice of Jagjit singh the right amount of pathos with an insightful ghazal. Asking us to look at our reality before finding faults with others, the ghazal is slow, melancholic and thought provoking without getting preachy or loud. मिलना जुलना जहाँ ज़रूरी हो, मिलने जुलने का हौसला रखना….

Jagjit singh is rightly credited with taking ghazals to the masses. Prior to his arrival on the scene, this genre was reserved mostly for some singers who took pride in using tough words and putting their Epiglottis out for display. This album is as simple as it can get. Listen to it once and I will leave you to make your opinion on the same. What most of the people forgot when they talked about Jagjit Singh was his ability and willingness to find new poets and showcase their work. Have a look at the lyricists of this album and you will know what is the point I am trying to make.

Don’t miss this album if you are a ghazal listener.

If you feel there is something wrong with the album it is purely because of the overexcited writing in this post and the fault is mine.

Meanwhile, ये रहा मेरा कसेट

GhazalJit Singh

Jagjit Singh – The Master And His Magic (New album)

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Last year on October 10, music lost Jagjit Singh.

Sony has released this album to ensure some more ghazals reach out to us that were previously unheard by most of us.

The album starts with Tu Ambar ki Aankh ka taara and Jagjit Singh announces something that is impossible to put in here. This track is essentially treated like a ‘geet’ and is a live recording. Simply treated, easy lyrics. The second track Dekha jo aaena starts with a brief commentary by Chitra singh. This is a track that Jagjit Singh has sung many a times in other live concerts earlier. Still, this track starts with an alaap and instantly tugs at your heart. Brilliantly penned and as usual exquisitely executed by the maestro. The next ghazal jao ab subah honay waali hai also starts with an alaap by Jagjit Singh. A new ghazal and even though the context, treatment, lyrics and theme is not related to the ‘savere savere’ ghazal (featured in the album ‘Come alive with Jagjit singh’), I was instantly reminded of that ghazal. This ghazal however, is sad and heartbreaking, a genre that Jagjit Singh excelled throughout, without a doubt.

Ro lete to achcha hota sounds very familiar tune wise. Simple tabla and minimal guitars with the velvet voice of Jagjit Singh. The Santoor makes the setting even more familiar to the ears. The is the shortest ghazal (little over 4 minutes) of the album. Some might call it sad, some might call this soulful…decide for yourself when you listen to this beautiful composition. Aahon mein asar starts again with a brief commentary by Chitra singh. It is a crime for me to ‘pick a favorite’ from the album, but this ghazal is what we ‘devotees’ identify Jagjit Singh with. Liberal use of Violin, breathtaking words (light ghungroos in the background). If you are reminded of the ‘Mukhda’ from the ghazal ‘Aankhon mein jal raha hai kyun’ (From Marasim), listening to this ghazal, don’t be surprised.

Rone se ishq mein aur bebaak ho gaye  is quite easily an old (or not a recent) recording and you can identify it by the voice quality. Sitar is a bonus although I wish the recording was clearer. Stillness isn’t a plus point of this track. Slow, yet in a hurry…never losing the sense melody anyway. Tu jo aa jaaye has the typical ‘By the harmonium and violin’ beginning and then sounding mildly like ‘Dhoop mein niklo ghataon mein naha kar dekho’ (from Sajda), the ghazal just quietly captivates you. Insanely romantic and sung very intimately by Jagjit Singh.

The ever so golden Ghalib nazm Wo firaq aur wo visal kahan gets a different treatment (And a new set of lines which weren’t present in the Mirza ghalib album before). Composition is very by the strings. The atmosphere that Jagjit Singh creates with this one is melodiously pensive.

This is not a review. It can never be.

Just a celebration of another new set of pearls that we have come across from someone who kept on fooling us by making us believe that he is singing with his voice…whereas what we heard always was his heart that took over the microphone and mesmerised us, made us smile and made us weep…

A ‘must have’ album for those who know his body of work and a ‘should have’ album for the rest.

Sir Jagjit Singh, Thank you for the music.

‘New’ year?

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Grew up with you, sir.

Be it the wait for a new album to be released

Be it ‘begging’ for the poster of ‘face to face’ from the cassette shop (shiv electronics, bhootnath Lucknow).

Be it your first ever concert I attended in Lucknow

Be it the first ever album I got ‘dubbed’ (In Search) or be it the last Concert I attended in September 2011.

Always had a sense of achievement whenever I listened to anything new or rare sung by you

It’s the so called ‘new year’ and the world has gone mad making noise about it. For few of us, the world came to an end on October 10, 2011.

Few of us are still thinking where your  first concert in 2012 would have happened

So for the time being, I will continue with the habit of not stopping a ghazal in between…

Sir Jagjit Singh…you are missed…more than I ever imagined.

GhazalJeet Singh

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I guess I was in Class 8. It was the month of may and we were attending a marriage in Hardoi (a small town near Lucknow, my hometown). It was long back. It was 1993.As one would associate with small towns, the evening was dark evening because there was no electricity and to add to the atmosphere, we were sitting in a circle and black clouds looked ominous because it was the rainy season.Someone demanded one of the relatives to sing and that evening was the first time I heard a ghazal composed by JagJit singh. ‘Charagh aftaab gum…badi haseen raat thee’.After this day, I don’t recollect listening to anything except Jagjit Singh. So much so, that my parents made me consult a doctor because they felt i was too ‘sad and melancholic’ as compared to the other guys of my age. Days were spent waiting for the new album of Jagjit singh (Shiv electronics at Bhootnath, Lucknow will acknowledge this anyday anytime).  Hours were spent in contesting with the so called ‘adults’ who were hell bent in comparing Jagjit Singh with lesser mortals from Pakistan and elsewhere (No one, in my view deserves a mention in the same post which has Jagjit Singh’s name in it)And today, October 10, 2011.

I cannot believe he is no more.

How can someone just go? May be in the years when he was busy adding to our treasure trove and hiding his problems (emotional and physical), we all forgot he is a human being. I can go on and on about my limited by magical meetings with him but I will stop. Eyes are blurred, hands are shaking and the mind just cannot stop repeating the soulful ghazal penned by Sudarshan Fakir

Naa mohabbat, na dosti ke liye
waqt rukta nahi kissi ke liye

Dil ko apne saza na de yoo.n hee
Iss zamaane ki be-rukhi ke liye

Kal jawaani ka hashr kya hoga
sonch le aaj, do ghadi ke liye

Har koi pyaar doondhta hai yahan
Apni tanha si zindagi ke liye

Waqt ke saath saath chalta rahe
yeh hee behtar hai aadmi ke liye

GhazalJeet singh sir, I have grown up listening to you and you have been with me in all the highs and lows of my life.

No, you have NOT gone. Anywhere.

GhazalJeet singh – Live in Bombay 16 September 2011

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Yet another concert ticket! So we went to listen to Jagjit Singh (I went to be awestruck because he is GOD). Anyway, here is a ghazal by ghazal update of the evening.

The signature ‘alaaps’ before all the ghazals were present so I will spare the reader those details.

1. The concert was kick started by the superb ghazal from the album ‘face to face’ , Zindagi tuney lahu le ke diya kuch bhi nahin. The crowd almost erupted when GhazalJeet Singh sang this antra – ‘mere in haathon ki chaho to talashi le lo, mere haathon mein lakeeron ke siwa…kuch bhi nahi’

2. Denewaley mujhe maujon ki rawani de de – Since the guitarist was not the regular one, the ghazal started with GhazalJeet singh trying to bring him up to A-Minor note..quite hilarious because you could see GhazalJeet Singh hand-holding the poor fellow who was obviously nervous. Quite a non-massy ghazal so most of the people were applauding it on a ‘per stanza’ basis. Treat to hear…to say the least.

3. Dosti jab kisi se ki jaaye – From the album ‘In search’ was the next one on the line. If you have heard this ghazal already, you would have been surprised because GhazalJeet Singh completely changed the tune and enthralled the audience. He even mentioned ‘Ye tune abhi banayi hai’. One stanza which speaks of ‘maut ka zeher hai fizaon mein’ was introduced by Jagjit singh ji as – ‘This one is for environmental pollution’ . Idiots like me had a huge grin. 🙂

4. Apni aag ko zinda rakhna kitna mushkil hai – A soulful ghazal, very relevant to the times we live in was haunted even more by the immaculate flute player who literally held the senses hijacked. Pity I missed out on music introductions as I was too busy ogling at Jagjit singh when the intro was happening.

5. Dil ke deewaro dar pe kya dekha – Originally a duet with Chitra Singh, GhazalJeet singh sang this keeping the original tune intact. Teri aankhon mein humne kya dekha, kabhi Qatil kabhi Khuda dekha…..And the auditorium exploded! Funny incident – GhazalJeet singh pointed out – Bhai Air condition On kar do (in between ghazal) and the auditorium resonated with a thunderous applause.

6. Koi Mausam – Another ghazal from ‘Face to face’ marked yesterday by an amazing guitarist was the next one in line. Again, GhazalJeet singh kept the original tune with some alaaps and minor changes in between.

7. Mai pila kar aapka jayega – Yet again a ‘rare and non-massy’ offering by GhazalJeet singh which was kept intact (tune wise) and was applauded per stanza by the crowd! The ‘ace’ Abhinav upadhyay (on Tabla) flirted with the flute and the result was a superb jugalbandi in between.

8. Pyar ka pehla khat – Another one from the album ‘Face to face’ but a relatively popular ghazal met with a thunderous applause, right from the beginning and throughout!

9. Medley – Began with tumko dekha to ye khayal aaya and for a minute we couldn’t hear anything thanks to whistles and loud cheers (No No I didn’t cheer..I just whistled…elegant no?) As has been very typical of GhazalJeet singh, he gestured to the audience to sing with him and thats it! The hall was humming, singing and swaying to the magician…(and my neighbor on the other side shouted in my ears – ONCE MORE), thats when Hothon se chu lo tum was woven into the ghazal and towards the end the punjabi geet ‘Mitti da bawa’ was introduced only to be taken back to hothon se chu lo tum and end it…quite a super normal experience for ghazalJeet singh fans.

10. Sarakti jaye hai rukh se naqaaab – Couldn’t hear much of this ghazal because the crowd (and yours truly was a part of it) was singing along, cheering, clapping and…well dancing! In the stanza Shab-e-furkat ka jaaga hu fairshton ab to soney do, GhazalJeet singh just mentioned – My dad used to snore so loudly that he used to wake up on his own sound of snores…(and then he snored on the mic!)

11. Tum itna jo muskura rahe ho – Which concert can be complete without this gem? Yet again, it was welcomed with a thunderous applause and some not required singing by the crowd. Sigh! fans I tell you! The champion on the keyboards made his presence felt and how!

12. Wo kagaz ki kashti – Self explanatory. If it isn’t, you don’t listen to good ghazals. You should, really.

13. Hoshwalon ko khabar – Yes, Yes Yes!! were the screams all around. The guitarist was having the same hairdo as mine (baldy) and Jagjit singh told him on the stanza – ‘khulti zullfon ne sikhai mausamo ko shayari – This stanza is for you…and the crowd erupted. Easily the most participated ghazal of the evening… There was a part in one of the ghazals where GhazalJeet singh mixed it with dekho sakhi piya rooth gaye hain as well…and I am yet to find words to describe how good it was.

It was just an amazing evening and this is not a ‘review’ not even ‘almost’. If you get any negative vibes about the concert from this write up, trust me the fault is totally and ONLY mine

Jagjit Singh, thank you for allowing us to exist in the same era in which you chose to enthrall us all…

Your servant, forever

Rohit

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