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by World Music Network October 10, 2011


Jagjit Singh: 1941-2011

Renowned Indian singer Jagjit Singh has died today in the city of Mumbai after suffering a stroke last month, aged seventy. 

Famous for his semi-classical ghazal songs (a poetic form), Singh was popularly known as the 'Ghazal King'. He is survived by his wife, Chitra Singh, who is also a leading ghazal singer. They had commercial success with songs recorded together in the 1970s and 1980s.

The first prominent ghazal singer from India in a genre dominated by Pakistani singers, Singh recorded over fifty albums. Along with this high volume of work, he was widely admired for revolutionising ghazal music, making it accessible to the wider public. He was the first ghazal singer who moved renditions away from the reliance on classical instruments, towards a wider mixture including the guitar, violin and bongos. It was partly through this fusion that he reached a far wider audience. 

Ghazal singer Pankaj Udhas said that Singh had made ghazal so accessible that his audiences 'could sing along with him', while actor Anupam Kherpaid tribute to his music, saying it was 'gentle, soothing and went to your heart'.