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Jagjit Singh sings sayonara in South Africa

Ghazal maestro Jagjit Singh ended a three-city musical tour of South Africa in Johannesburg.

india Updated: Jan 30, 2006 12:09 IST
Indo-Asian News Service
Indo-Asian News Service

Ghazal maestro Jagjit Singh ended a whirlwind three-city tour of South Africa with a three-hour performance here, winning the greatest applause for his songs from Hindi films.

Singh, who performed at the Linder Auditorium here Sunday evening, had earlier been to Cape Town and Durban as part of a farewell world tour ahead of his retirement.

Adapting easily to the audience mood with his six musicians, Singh flowed smoothly through his repertoire, switching from almost melancholy tunes and philosophical odes to life to love ballads in the style that has made him a legend in the ghazal genre.

Unimpeded by the restrictions of studio recordings, the live performance allowed for the troupe to extend popular songs beyond their traditional formats. Interaction between the musicians on tabla, dholak, keyboards and other instruments found particular favour, with flautist and clarinet player Shyam Raj winning much acclaim.

The audience, comprising a large number of expatriate Indians, could not get enough, breaking into spontaneous applause every time the musicians entered into friendly contests with each other and Singh regaled with repetitive musical scale renditions, ranging from slow to furious.

But over and over again, it was Singh's renditions of the songs that he has sung for films that were most recognised by the audience.

Replaying the songs of legendary Indian composers and singers, put together for an album in his own unique style, the audience needed little urging from Singh to sing along with the words of favourites known to all.

At one point, singing a song made famous by Kishore Kumar, Singh seemed to be humming as though he had forgotten the words to the song. It later emerged that Singh's songbooks had indeed gone astray with his clothes on a flight from Cape Town, as he jokingly told the audience at the start of the show.

The standing ovation at the end of the show was a far cry from a performance by Singh here two years ago, when he left audiences irate with a short show and abruptly unexpected ending.

After the show, Consul-General Suresh Goel and his wife Shalini hosted a reception at their residence in honour of Singh's self-proclaimed last concert in Africa.

First Published: Jan 30, 2006 11:42 IST