Indian music maestro Jagjit Singh dies at 70

MUMBAI, Shail Kumar Singh- The Indian singer and composer Jagjit Singh, who won generations of fans by reviving the traditional genre of "ghazal" music, died on Monday in a Mumbai hospital at the age of 70.
Singh, dubbed "The Ghazal King", had been in intensive care for three weeks and underwent major surgery after collapsing with a brain haemorrhage before a concert in the city.

Jagjit Singh
Jagjit Singh
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh led the tributes, saying the singer's appeal came through making ghazals -- a poetic form of singing that spread to India from the Middle East in the 12th century -- accessible to everyone.
"He gave joy and pleasure to millions of music lovers in India and abroad," Singh said. "He was blessed with a golden voice."
Ghazals were traditionally reserved only for the elite, but Jagjit Singh popularised the form in the 1970s and 1980s by pioneering a modern sound and using Western instruments alongside Indian classical ones.
Besides spreading the appeal of ghazals in India, Singh sang and composed for Bollywood.
He will be best remembered for his music in popular films like "Prem Geet" (Love Song) in 1981 and "Arth" (Meaning) released the following year.
He last sang in the low-budget film "Khushiyaan" (Happiness), which is due in cinemas on Friday.
Top Bollywood lyricist Javed Akhtar said Singh's death was an "irreparable loss to the Hindi film and music industry."
Indian singer Lata Mangeshkar described his music as "intoxicating" and said he "sang from the heart".
Singh's classic ghazals, including "Chupke Chukpe Raat Din" (Silently, Night and Day) and "Tum Itna Jo Muskura Rahe Ho" (The Way You Smile), were popular studio recordings and featured often in concerts and movies.
Jagjit Singh was born to a poor family in the north Indian state of Rajasthan on February 8, 1941.
After moving to Mumbai to make his fortune, 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.
Chitra quit singing after the death of the couple's only son, Vivek, in a road accident in the 1990s, while Singh sang fewer live concerts and his music took on a more spiritual and religious tone.
In 2007, Singh performed at India's parliament building in New Delhi to mark the 150 years since the country's first war of independence against British rule, also known in British history as the Indian Mutiny.
Singh was awarded India's third-highest civilian honour, the Padma Bhushan, in 2003.

Tuesday, October 11th 2011
Shail Kumar Singh

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