Pakistan's doyen of ghazals Ghulam Ali, who gained multitudes of fans with his "Chupke chupke raat din aansoon bahana yaad hai", will open a music academy in Lahore next month to teach the finer nuances of classical music. Ali, whose career spans five decades, believes ghazals help bring moderation in a person's life. But he is worried that Pakistan is doing little to promote this genre of music. "Music cannot die in any country".
No one could end the popularity of classical music and ghazal in Pakistan. Ghazal is not being promoted here even though people of all age groups still love this genre of music," Ali told The Nation newspaper. <b1>
"The government is not fully promoting the traditional music which is part of our heritage. My recognition across the globe and honours I have received abroad come due to the blessings of Allah Almighty. I am a son of the soil and by establishing this academy, I would be returning something to it during my lifetime," he said. Ali firmly believes that ghazals help bring moderation to a person's life.
"Ghazal singing refreshes and soothes the spirit of the listener. I am against the hip hop culture in music and want to promote ghazal, which is part of our golden heritage," he said. Ali's academy will charge a nominal fee, and if a student cannot afford this fee, it will be waved. If a student is good, Ali will help him launch his music career. The singer with the golden voice lamented that even though there had been an influx of TV channels in Pakistan, none of them was promoting classical and ghazal singing.
Ali said good music should be promoted. "Ghazal and classical music is still popular as can be seen from the many shows and live performances across the world. It is sad that these channels are not promoting good music," he said.
The ghazal maestro said his brother Ashiq Ali will be in-charge of the academy that will open by the end of February. Ali has released over 250 albums and has performed in over 40 countries. Born in 1940, he began singing at the age of eight and is still one of the most sought after stars in the Pakistani music industry.
His last album 'Zikr' was released about two months ago. His upcoming album features ghazals and songs by him, his son Amir Ghulam Ali and Asha Bhonsle.
"We have not decided on the title of the album. Like all my earlier ghazals and songs, the compositions are my own while my son has arranged the music. Amir's friend Anis Ahmed has written the lyrics. The spirit of ghazal is reflected in each presentation. They are all sweet melodies and all music lovers will enjoy the album," Ali said.
The videos for two songs from the album will go on air soon. "The album will be launched in a very big way across the world by mid-February. I have sung two solo songs while two are by Asha Bhonsle. There are four duets in the album," he said. Ali also said he was disturbed by the turbulence and the political situation in Pakistan.
"We live in difficult times and it is sad to see the price hike. How could an ordinary citizen with a monthly salary of say Rs 6,000 or Rs 10,000 survive?" the maestro said. He said it is painful when people talk of their difficulties and how they are unable to make both ends meet. "I pray for peace and stability of the country. No one individual can change the course of things. We all have to make effort in this regard," Ali asserted.