The name Ghulam Ali comes first in place when it comes to Ghazal singing in Pakistan or in India. The singer is best known for his Ghazals and Thumari. He is one of the finest ghazal singers present today. Although born in Pakistan, Ghulam Ali is also much popular in India as well. His name is often confused with Bade Ghulam Ali Khan and Chhote Ghulam Ali. Actually Ghulam Ali is the disciple of Bade Ghulam Ali Khan. It was his father who named him as 'Ghulam Ali' after the master Bade Ghulam Ali.
Ghulam Ali was born in 1940, in a musical family. His father was also a vocalist and a Sarangi player. Ghulam Ali took his initial music training by his father. Later he learnt music from the legendary classical master Bade Ghulam Ali Khan of Patiala Gharana. Actually he was trained by Bade Ghulam Ali Khan's three brothers: Amanat Ali Khan, Barqat Ali Khan, and Mubarak Ali Khan. Ghulam Ali was born in a village of Kaleke in the Sialkot district of Punjab, which is right now in Pakistan. Ghulam Ali learnt the nuances of classical music including Thumri and ragas from these three musical masters.
Ghulam Ali started his singing career in 1960 by singing for Radio Lahore. Ghulam Ali is also popularly known for his live concerts. The singer has more than fifty albums on his name. Many big productions like T-Series, HMV, Sony, Venus, and Tips has released his albums. He also has composed ghazals for himself. Ali also had sung in Punjabi and Nepali language. His Nepali ghazals along with the Nepali singer Narayan Gopal from album 'Narayan Gopal, Ghulam Ali Ra Ma' are much famous in Nepal.
The biggest turning point came to him with the musical event Pakistan Music Conference in Pakistan in 1960. The event was participated by the maestros from around the world like Girija Devi and Gopi Krishna from India. He got chance to perform there for 12 minutes. His singing was liked by everybody there and next day he made headlines to the Lahore's most prestigious newspaper Imroz.
The man who fined his ghazal singing was master poet Sufi Sahab. He guided Ghulam Ali to understand the aesthetics of ghazals. Sufi taught him how to sing the shers effectively without diminishing beauty of the poetry. He taught him where to stop and where to stress the words. Ghulam also calls Sufi Sahab as his friend and philosopher. Now Ghulam is so expert that he can sing the same couplet in different ways, conveying different meaning each time.
Ghulam Ali is also much popular in India. He made his entry into India with the song 'Chupke Chupke Raat Din' from B. R. Chopra's movie 'Nikaah'. Ghulam Ali is also best remembered for his ghazals like 'Hungama Hai Kyon Barpaa', 'Mehfil Mein Baar Baar Usi Par Nazar Gayeen', 'Dil Me Ek Laher Si', 'Kal Chaudhavi Ki Raat Thi', 'Karoo Na Yaad Magar' and many more.
Ghulam Ali is expert in making vibrations to convey the range of emotions through his singing. His strong base in classical music plus soulful emotions in ghazal makes him a unique singer. Many experts from musical fraternity believes that Ghulam Ali's compositions are very difficult and makes almost impossible to sing for others.
The singer who holds more than fifty albums keeps himself busy mostly with the live concerts. For concerts, he usually accompanies instruments tabla and harmonium. Sometimes he uses instruments like santoor, sarod and sitar, but what stands out most is his mellifluous voice.
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