Indian Music Legend Jagjit Singh Passes Away
A maestro of the poetic Ghazal genre, Singh recorded over 80 albums and contributed to major Bollywood soundtracks.
NEW DELHI – One of India's greatest singing legends, Jagjit Singh, 70, passed away in Mumbai Monday following a brain hemorrhage.
Singh was a major force in popularizing the traditional Ghazal genre, known for its poetic renditions in the Urdu language. Along with his wife Chitra, Singh rose to heights in the seventies as a live performer while delivering 80 albums over his five decade career. In 1987, the duo recorded Beyond Time for EMI, the first digital CD by Indian artists.
But the couple suffered a personal tragedy in 1990 when their only son, 18-year-old Vivek, was killed in a car accident in Mumbai which led to Chitra retiring from music. In another unfortunate development, the couple's adopted daughter committed suicide in 2009.
Rooted in the Ghazal genre and North Indian Punjabi folk, Singh also lent his unique voice to Bollywood films, most notably 1982's extra-marital drama Arth (The Meaning) directed by Mahesh Bhatt. “My film Arth would not have touched the hearts of millions of people without the contribution of Jagjit Singh. Thank you friend. Thank you!” Bhatt posted on his Twitter account.
”The sonorous silk voice of Jagjit Singh silent now! A great loss to the world of music and Ghazal. Prayers and condolences,” tweeted Bollywood legend Amitabh Bachchan.
Among his numerous awards and honors, Singh was bestowed with the Indian government's civilian honor, the Padma Bhushan, in 2003.
Considering the common heritage of Ghazal and Urdu between India and Pakistan, Singh had recently performed in Delhi with Pakistan's Ghazal legend Ghulam Ali. The duo were slated to give another concert in Mumbai on Sept. 23 but the event was cancelled as Singh was taken ill the same day and rushed to hospital where he underwent a brain hemmorhage operation after which he was in a coma under intensive care.