University of Washington Ethnomusicology Archives concert recordings: Salamat Ali Khan (audio), 1982-09-21

Overview of the Collection

University of Washington Ethnomusicology Archives
University of Washington Ethnomusicology Archives concert recordings: Salamat Ali Khan (audio)
4 items  :  OT-4 reels (7 1/2 ips, 2 tr., stereo, 7"); 4 WAV files (48 kHz, 24-bit); Duration: 2:00:45
Collection Number
Concert recorded in the University of Washington Music Auditorium, 9/21/82.
University of Washington Ethnomusicology Archives
University of Washington
Ethnomusicology Archives
Box 353450
Seattle, WA
Telephone: 2065430974
Access Restrictions



Biographical NoteReturn to Top

The inventive improvisations of the Pakistani singer Salamat Ali Khan, who has died of kidney failure aged 66, caused a sensation when he visited India with his elder brother, Nazakat Ali, in 1953. Subsequently, they toured the country several times, earning the highest accolades from India's music pundits.

Salamat Ali was an outstanding exponent of khayal, the imaginative and colourful style of music that evolved in India under the influence of Sufi saints venerated by both Hindus and Muslims. Later, the Jaunpur ruler, Hussain Shah Sharqi (1458-1528), gave the style its particular form and shape. Most of the musicians of north India, Pakistan and Bangladesh are practitioners of one school of khayal, or another named after the town or city where it flourished, or after a leading Muslim ustad or Hindu guru.

Salamat Ali's family were professional Muslim musicians from the Sham Chaurasi gharana (home or school) in Hoshlarpur, in the eastern part of the undivided Punjab. It was a minor gharana, well known locally but nowhere near the eminence of, for instance, the Patiala, Agra, Benares or Gwallor gharanas. Salamat Ali, however, raised the Sham Chaurasi to the attention of the subcontinent and won it international recognition. Both brothers were rigorously trained by their father, Ustad Vilayat Ali Khan. They were child prodigies, but the younger, Salamat, was always the lead singer. In 1945, then 10 and 12 respectively, they sang at the All-India Music Conference in Calcutta; sage musicians and critics who heard them predicted a promising future, though there was a patronising tinge in the praise. Cultivated people in Delhi, Lucknow and Calcutta made the point that although the Punjab produced worthy peasants and soldiers, it was not well known for the classical arts.

With the partition of India in 1947, Hindus and Sikhs fled to India, and Muslims to Pakistan. Since Hoshlarpur was on the Indian side of the border, the Khan family moved to Lahore, in Pakistan, a city of poets, painters and musicians, and it was there that the brothers matured. They were feted as the country's leading vocalists, but had still to prove themselves across the subcontinent. In spite of wars, recriminations, and religious and political differences, the classical music of the northern region remains in essence the same. Originating in the Vedic past, it was enriched in expression, technique and content during what has been called the Muslim period, enriched by new influences from Iran, Arabia and central Asia. The resulting synthesis was termed Hindustani music, and thus, ever mindful of this immense musical heritage, the Ali brothers went off to India in 1953. Three years later, in Calcutta, the leading music maestros of India declared Salamat Ali the outstanding vocalist of the subcontinent. He received a similar citation in Bombay in 1957. In 1960, he won the President of Pakistan's Award and, in 1969, his appearance at the Edinburgh festival launched him towards worldwide recognition.

Personal tragedy came when, due to family differences, he parted company with Nazakat in 1973. He is survived by his wife, Razia Begum, four daughters and four sons, two of whom, Sharafat and Shafqat, were trained by him, and continue the Sham Chaurasi tradition. • Salamat Ali Khan, singer, born 1935; died July 10 2001

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

Performers: Salamat Ali Khan/voice; Latafat Ali/voice, harmonium; Sharafat Ali/voice, tanpura; Ghulam Hussain Khan/tabla.

Contents: Ghazals (sung by Latafat Ali); Rag Nath-Narayani; Rag Hansadhvani; Pahari (Thumri).

Recorded by Daniel Neuman, Maddie Terada, and David Bilski with Nagra IVS, Neumann mics.

Tapes digitized 4/2016 (WAV, 48kHz, 24-bit) - 82-14.1.wav (33:48), 82-14.2.wav (32:53), 82-14.3.wav (36:20), 82-14.4.wav (17:44)

Note: On tape 1, one second drop-out at 14:18. Start of tape 4 sounds distorted for about a minute.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

1 audio files : WAV File
1 audio files : WAV File
1 audio files : WAV File
1 audio files : WAV File

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

Subject Terms

  • Concerts
  • Ethnomusicology

Geographical Names

  • Asia
  • Pakistan
  • Seattle (Wash.)

Other Creators

  • Personal Names
    • Ali, Latafat (prf)
    • Khan, Ghulam Hussain, 1928- (prf)
    • Khan, Salamat Ali, 1934-2001 (prf)
    • Khan, Sharafat Ali (prf)