Wednesday, August 30, 2000

Gulam Ali to steal many hearts in capital

By Razen Manandhar

KATHMANDU, Aug 29 - After spell-binding Nepali music lovers with his evergreen numbers like Gajalu tee thula thula ankhha, Gulam Ali, the legendary ghazal singer is back in the capital to steal the audiences’ hearts once again.

The veteran Pakistani singer Ali appreciated Almighty God Tuesday for bestowing him an opportunity to come amidst Nepali audience again with Nepali numbers after a gap of 15 years.

The famous singer of ghazals who made a revolutionary craze for ghazals among Nepali audience in 1985, is here in Kathmandu for his live concert and recording of a new album with all new Nepali songs.

In a simple and yet erudite voice, he paid homage to God whom he believes the most, for having "an opportunity" to visit Nepal. "I really thank God that I am here. I know, nothing happens without God’s will."

Audience’s response was the most important gift for Gulam Ali during his first visit. He still remembers the response Nepali audience gave him fifteen years ago. He recalled, "In my first visit, the audience gave me that much of response and love that I have not forgotten yet. And I’m not going to forget it till end (of my life)"

The 59-year-old maestro’s songs have gained fame all over the world but he is thrilled that the Bengali, Afghani and Nepali audience can "give their life" for classical music.

He is aware of the encroachment of Western music in and around the Indian subcontinent but this threat of pop songs cannot flicker his morale. He said,"Pop songs are like storms. It comes and fades and what remains is just eternal."

Gulam Ali came across ghazal singing in his childhood, when his father Daulat Ali Khan took him to different music maestros. Bade Gulam Ali Khan and Barkat Ali Khan were some of his teachers whom he esteems even today.

"I love ghazals because it is always full of sublime words. One can experience beauty of words, expressed through sonorous voice -- when the meaning of words and feeling of voice comes together, they are bound to hypnotize the audience." he explained.

After giving four peerless songs written by MBB Shah during his previous visit, Gulam Ali has recorded eight new songs written and composed by Nepali younger artistes. Digital Symphonic Recording is releasing his new album Sambandh soon. "These songs will be my gift for Nepalis,"
he said.

He will perform two live concerts, one in Radisson Hotel and another in Royal Nepal Academy on 31 August and 3 September respectively.

Earlier, according to the organizers, Their Majesties had graced his special concert at the Royal Palace last Friday.

Gulam Ali, who is also a decent tabla player, has so far recorded around 5,000 songs. Still, he does not believe that he has hit the perfection. "I am continuing my journey. An artiste never finds his journey complete. It is just like journey into the sea - the deeper you go the more water you will find," he said.

These days, he spends "normal and easy" life in the Pakistani city of Lahore.
[Kathmandu Wednesday August 30, 2000 Bhadra 14, 2057.]