SALAMAT ALI KHAN
USTAD SALAMAT ALI KHAN
Born in 1934, in the heartland of Punjab at Shamchaurasi, district Hoshiarpur, Ustad Salamat Ali Khan belonged to a family of traditional musicians representing the Shamchaurasi gharana. It is claimed that the gharana was founded in the 16th century by Mian Chand Khan and Mian Suraj Khan who were contemporaries of Mian Tansen at the court of Mughal emperor Akbar. Prior to the emergence of Ustad Nazakat Ali Khan and Ustad Salamat Ali Khan as exponents of khayal, the gharana specialised in the dhrupad form of singing and was particularly renowned for its tradition of duet performances known as jugalbandi. Mian Karim Bukhsh Majzoob, Ustad Ahmed Ali Khan, Ustad Niaz Hussain Shami, and Salamat Ali Khan’s father Ustad Vilayat Ali Khan were some of the illustrious members of the Shamchaurasi gharana.
Salamat Ali Khan was initiated into classical music together with his elder brother Nazakat Ali Khan under the able guidance of their father Ustad Vilayat Ali Khan at the tender ages of five and seven respectively. They were initially taught the basis of dhrupad but later concentrated on learning khayal due to its increasing popularity. It was only after two years of training that they made their debut at the prestigious Harballabh Mela in 1941. They performed raag Mian ki Todi and were highly appreciated by both the audience and musicians present, these included Ustad Abdul Aziz Khan, Pandit Krishanrao Shankar, Pandit Omkarnath Thakur, Ustad Umeed Ali Khan, Ustad Tawakkal Hussain Khan, Ustad Malang Khan and Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan. Ustad Salamat Ali Khan recalled the performance in his autobiography; “we were so small that we had to be lifted onto the stage”.
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