Sunday, July 5, 2009

Rare Gems : The early recordings of Jagjit Singh

It almost took a decade for Jagjit Singh to cut his first LP ‘The Unforgettable’ in 1976.When Jagjit Singh started his career as a singer in the Mid-60’s film music ruled the roost as popular music and Ghazals as existed being esoteric in their format were only patronized by the connoisseurs. Jagjit Singh as a singer and composer released some EPs and Super Sevens (EPs with 33 rpm speed) in this period spanning from 1966 to 1975.To commemorate the silver jubilee of his recording career, HMV brought out a 2-Volume Cassette in 1992 of these earlier recordings of Jagjit Singh-Chitra Singh. This Album now available in CD though contains 19 numbers out of the 21 original compilations would certainly be an item to be treasured by Jagjit Singh fans, if they are still yet to acquire this Rare Gem.

The recordings not only offer an opportunity to relish these unheard songs, but also give an idea about the evolution of Jagjit Singh as a singer and composer. After a brief introduction on the production of the Album by the Maestro himself, the two 1966 compositions by C.K.Chauhan follows in succession. Faruq Kaiser’s Apna gham bhool gaye and Shamin Shahabadi’s Aankh ko jam samajh baitha anjaane mein/saqia hosh kahan hai deewanon ko give a feeling of singing style of early Mehdi Hasan songs. Both the Ghazals are exquisite.

What follows next are compositions by Jagjit Singh. The choice of poetry has been that of the Masters of Urdu Poetry as Momin/Mir/Daagh/Ghalib etc. These recordings of 1970 includes Jigar’s Yeh kisika tassavur /Momin’s Who jo hum mein tum mein qarar tha /Ghalib’s Bas ke dushwar hai/ Daag’s Ajab Apna Haal Hota Jo Visaal-E-Yaar Hota, all sung by Chitra Singh.Jagjit Singh’s numbers include Jigar’s Mujhe de rahe hain tassaliyan/ Daagh’s Dil Ko Kya Ho Gaya Khuda Jane and Mir’s Patta patta boota boota. These numbers are structured around the style of ghazal singing in vogue at that time with minimal use of instruments as Sarangi/Sitar/Tabla. These poetry bearing a theme of unrequited love have the spark of the wizadry of the Maestro, who has to take the musical scene by storm in a few years hence.

The 1973/74 recordings have Zauq’s Ab To Ghabrake Yeh Kahte Hain/ Ghalib’s Phir Kuchh Is Dil Ko Beqarari Hai sung by Jagjit Singh.The Chitra Singh numbers are Ghalib’s Kab Se Hoon Kya Bataoon/ Jigar’s Os Pade Bahar Par and Ishq Fana Ka Naam Hai. Jigar seems to be the favorite poet with as many as seven selections of his poetry finding place in these recordings. A brilliant wordsmith, Jigar’s poetry oozes with feelings which are a reflection of his pathos-ridden life. Jagjit’s composition gives them a living presence.
The 1975 recordings present a change in the singing style with use of guitar and violin pieces and perhaps can be considered as precursors in shaping the distinct style which identifies Jagjit Singh. Krishan Adeeb’s Jab Bhi Aati Hai Teri Yaad Kabhi has been sung by Jagjit Singh. This beautiful number has been included in one of his later Album. Shamin Shahabadi’s Dhuan Utha Tha Deewane Ki Jalte Ghar Se is a solo by Chitra Singh, while Ameer Minai’s Uski Hasrat Hai Jise Dil Se Mita Bhi Na Sakoon is the only duet in these recordings. Altogether this compilation presents a ‘rare’ listening pleasure.

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