In this article we have gathered a list of Legendry Old Pakistani Singers. They play an essential role in the development of classical and pop music. Our famous singers produce quality music by using different instruments.
Pakistani music consists of diverse elements ranging music from different parts of Asia like South Asia, Central Asia etc. Our country is a land of great poets like Allama Iqbal, Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Faraz, Ghalib, Mian Muhammad Bakhsh and many more. Our Musicians led the poetry at peak level by adding different musical tunes.
Qawali is a great musical tradition which is vibrantly carried out by our Famous Qawwals. Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Sabri Brothers, Amanat Ali Khan, Mehdi Hassan and many other Qawwals showed the magic of their voice in the World of Qawwali. They sang such quality content and that Qawwali’s are a great asset for Classical Music. Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan has died but his music is still alive in the musical industry.
In this article we are going to discuss great Pakistani Musicians.
Great Old Pakistani Singers (Late)
World-renowned Pakistani musicians who passed away but are still considered an asset to the world of music are:
Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan (NFAK 1948-1997)
Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan (original name : Pervez Fateh Ali Khan) was born on 13 october 1948 and died on 16 august 1997 in Faisalabad, Pakistan. NFAK belongs to a “Patiala Gharana” , his family was extending the 600 years old tradition of Qawwali. His first performance was at the age of 15 at his father’s chehlum. That was the start of his great musical career. He is the only one from his family who introduced Qawwali music to International audience. He is also known as “Shahenshah-e-Qawwali King of Kings of Qawwali ”. He had an extraordinary range of vocal abilities, he can easily perform for several hours at a high intensity. NFAK is broadly considered to be the greatest Qawwal in history. He received the Pride of Performance award from the President of Pakistan for his great contribution to the Pakistani music. He received many awards internationally like UNESCO music prize, Grand Prix des Ameriques, art and culture prize and many more. He also held the Guinness World Record for the most Qawwali recordings(2001). There are almost 125 Qawwali albums recorded before his death. There is a long list of awards he received before and after death. He is the only person in music history, whose music is still listened to by audiences. He is still alive in the world through his great collection of music.
Noor Jehan (1926-2000)
Noor Jehan (original name : Allah Wasai) was born on 21 september 1926 and died on 23 december 2000 in Karachi, Pakistan. She is also known as Queen of melody (Malika-e-Tarannum). She was ranked at eighth position in the list of most influential Pakistani after Quaid e Azam Muhammad ali Jinnah.
She worked first in British India and then after the constitution of Pakistani she worked in Pakistan. Her career span is almost 6 decades 1930’s to 1990’s.She is one of the greatest musicians of that time, especially in South Asia.She holds a record of giving a range of film songs with Ahmed Rushdi to the Pakistani Cinema. She made more than 40 films and 20k songs during her career of 6 decades. She is thought to be the most creative singer of all time. She is also the first female film director of Pakistani Cinema. She received many awards like Singer of Millennium, Nigar awards for best playback singer (Female), Best Punjabi Singer and Best Urdu singer. She had a very short career in the Subcontinent before Partition. But Eastern Eyes ranked her in a list of 20 Bollywood singers of all time at 16th position. Eastern eye said that Noor jehan was the first female singer of bollywood cinema and helped us to lay the foundation of Playback singing. She even inspired the generation of singers like Lata Mangeshkar after partition. She became the First Asian Women to sing Qawwali in film Zeenat, after that famous american pop singer Madonna Louise said that I can easily copy any singer but not Noor Jehan. She sang many songs during the 1965 war, so she received a special Nigar award for best war songs.She also received Tamgha-e-Imtiaz award from army for support in the 1965 war. She was also awarded by President of Pakistan for Pride of Performance award in 1965. There is a huge list of awards she received in her career.
Nisar Bazmi (1924-2007)
Nisar Bazmi (original name : Syed Nisar Ahmed) was born on 1st December 1924 and died on 22 march 2007 in Karachi, Pakistan. He was a great music composer and film director in Indian and Pakistani film industries (before and after Partition).He is one of the most demanded musicians of South Asia. He introduced many new singers to the film industry, one of them is Alamgir. He composed many songs for famous singer Ahmed Rushdi.
Career in India: He started his career at the age of 11 by joining Yasin’s Khan Qawwali Group in Mumbai before Partition. In the 1930’s, Saheb Aman Ali Khan taught him music for four years. Then he started his own music career in 1939 by joining All India Radio. In 1944, he composed some songs for Drama Play Nadir Shah Durrani and all songs were succeeded. Then he composed many songs for almost 28 bollywood films. After Partitioning,in 1962 he came to visit some of his relatives in Pakistan.
Career in Pakistan: Fazal Ahmed Karim Fazli (a Pakistani Film Producer) invited him to compose music for Pakistani film Industry. Nisar Bazmi accepted his offer and shifted to Pakistan. He composed his first song in Pakistan for Ahmed Rushdi and Noor Jehan. Then he composed many songs for various famous singers of Pakistan. He also trained many new composers like Badar uz Zaman at that time. He composed music for almost 140 films during his career in Pakistan. Nisar Bazmi received the Pride of Performance award in 1994. He also received many Nigar awards for different films.
Wajid Nashad (1953-2008)
Wajid Ali Nishad was born in 1948 Mumbai, India and died on 18 june 2008 in Lahore, Pakistan. Wajid Nishad along with his family migrated to Pakistan in 1964.
He started his film career from film Parastish in 1977 as a composer. Then he composed music for many films. Some popular films are Lady Commando(1989), Haathi Mere Saathi(1993), aakhri Mujra (1994), Mummy, Miss Istanbul and Love 95 (1996), Hum Kisi Se Kam Nahin (1997), Koi Tujh Sa Kahan (2005) and many more.
Wajid Ali Nishad composed music for many TV Programs like Mehndi Walay Hath, Kanch Ke Par, Doosra Aasman, Hawa Pe Raqs, etc.
Nazia Hassan (1965-2000)
Nazia Hassan was born on 3rd april 1965 in Karachi, Pakistan and died on 13 august 2000 in London, UK. She started her music career at a very young age of 10. She was a Pakistani Pop singer and songwriter. She made her first singing debut “Aap Jaisa Koi” in indian movie Qurbani. Nazia Hassan debut album Disco Deewane released in 1981 and charted in 14 countries internationally. That became the best selling Asian pop album at that time. She released some other albums as well which are Boom Boom in 1982, Young Tarang in 1984, Hotline in 1989 and his last album with her brother Zohaib was Camera Camera released in 1992. Then she quit the music industry to focus on her personal life. Her greater success in Pop Music played an important role in shaping of Pakistani Pop Music. At the age of 15 she became the first Pakistani celebrity and youngest recipient to win a Filmfare award. She received so many national and international awards. Nazia Hassan fought a long battle with Lung Cancer and died at the age of 35. After his death on 23rd march 2002 President of Pakistan Pervez Musharraf presented the Pride of Performance award to her mother Muniza Basir. Ahmad Haseeb gave a tribute to Nazia Hassan by creating a documentary “A Music Fairy” in 2007.
Mehdi Hassan (1927-2012)
Mehdi Hassan was the legendary singer of Pakistan. He was born on 18 july 1927 in Rajasthan, British India and died on 13 june 2012 in Karachi, Pakistan. He was a Pakistani ghazal and Playback singer. He is also known as Shehenshah-e-Ghazal just because of his baritone voice. He is the only person who attracts international audiences towards the ghazal singing. As he was born to a musical family, he gives melodic patterns and integrity of ragas in a genius way.
He started his ghazal singing career in 1952 from Radio Pakistan. He sang ghazals on Radio Pakistan. He sang his first song for film Shikar in 1956. Later on, he sang a ghazal “Gulon mein rang bhare, baad-e-naubahar chale” written by Famous poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz. here he got a major breakthrough in Pakistani Film industry as a ghazal singer. After this great success he never looked back.
Mehdi Hassan stepped down from playback singing in late 1980’s due to severe illness.
He received many national and international awards: K. L. Saigal Award(1979- Government of India), Gorkha Dakshin Bahu award (1983- Government of Nepal), Pride of Performance(1985- Government of Pakistan), Hilal-e-Imtiaz (2010- Government of Pakistan), Nishan-e-Imtiaz (2012- Government of Pakistan) and many other awards.
Ahmed Rushdi (1934-1983)
Ahmed Rushdi was born on 24 april 1934 in Hyderabad, British India and died on 11 april 1983 in Karachi, Pakistan.
Ahmed Rushdi is the first pop singer of South Asia, who could easily sing high tones with comfort. He was one of the best singers of South Asia and well-known for his distinctive voice and dark emotional expressions. Ahmed Rushdi is credited with the nickname of “Magician of Voice”. He had an ability of singing in different categories like happy,comedy, Qawwali, pop, revolutionary, folk, and lullaby. He had another unique quality of producing voices of different objects and words during his performance with great expressions. Ahmed Rushdi recorded the highest number of movie songs in history for Pakistani Cinema. As he was considered the pop singer of South Asia , he sang his first pop song for south Asia which was KoKo Korina. He was the best playback singer from 1955 to 1982. He suffered from chronological disease in the later part of his life and died of a major heart attack at the age of 48. He recorded approximately five thousand songs in his career for 583 movies. Ahmed Rushdi, awarded for many Niger awards, got a title for Best singer of the Millennium. Pervez Musharraf awarded Ahmed Rushdi the Sitara-e-Imtiaz award after 20 years of his death.
Junaid Jamshed (1964-2016)
Junaid Jamshed was born on 3 september 1964 and died on 7 december 2016. Junaid Jamshed was a Pakistani artist, Fashion designer, actor, singer, song writer and at the end “Preacher”.
He worked as a civil engineer before his musical career. He started his music career from the group “Vital Signs”. Vital Signs released an album Vital Signs 1 in 1987. The success of the album helps the Pakistani Music industry to develop Rock Music in Pakistan. Then he released his Solo album “Junaid of Vital Signs” in 1994, “Us Rah Par” in 1999 and at the last “Dil Ki Baat” in 2002.
Junaid Jamshed left his both careers (Music and Engineering) completely in 2004 and devoted his life for preaching Islam. He started reciting Nasheed on Television. He also owned a popular clothing brand with the name “J.”. His popular Nasheed Albums are Jalwa-e-Janan (2005), Mehboob-e-Yazdan (2006), Badr-ud-Duja (2007), Yad-e-Haram (2008), Rehmat Ul Lil Aalmin and Badar uz Zaman (2009) and many more.
He went to Chitral for a Tablighi Jamaat along with his wife in dec 2016. Unfortunately they both died in the Plane crash near Havelian on 7 dec 2016 when they were returning to Islamabad.
Ghulam Farid Sabri (1930-1994)
Ghulam Farid Sabri was a famous Pakistani Qawwali singer. He is the prominent member of the well known qawwali group “Sabri Brothers”. His family was famous for classical and sufi music from the centuries.
Ghulam Farid Sabri started learning music from his father Innayet Hussain Sabri at the age of six. His first public music performance was at the Urs of the Sufi Saint Mubarak shah in 1946. Then his family migrated to Pakistan after partition. Ghulam Faris Sabri and his younger brother Maqbool Ahmed Sabri joined in singing Qawwali in 1956. Their first Qawwali recording “Mera Koi Nahi Hai Tere Siwa” was released in 1958 and became the popular hit of that time and is popular in Pakistani public even till today.
Ghulam Faris Sabri also wrote some famous Qawwalis which are “Aave Mahi” and “Auliya ka Moula Imam Aaye hain”.
Ghulam Farid Sabri and his brothers received so many awards for their Qawwalis and Sufi music. Sabri Brothers received Tamgha e Husn e Karkardagi (1978- By Pakistani Government), Khusro Rang (1980- India), Bulbul E Pak O Hind (1977- by Pakistani & Indian Governments), Charles De Gaulle award (1983- byCharles De Gaulle), The Doctorate Degree for Shikwa Jawab E Shikwa by University of Oxford. Ghulam Farid Sabri received the “Spirit of Detroit Award” (1981- Federal Government of United States). Ghulam Farid Sabri died on 5 april 1994 due to a major heart attack.
Asad Amanat Ali Khan (1955-2007)
Asad Amanat Ali khan was born on 25 september 1955 and died on 8 april 2007. He was a famous classical and ghazal singer of Pakistan. Asad Amanat Ali khan was son of famous Musician Amanat Ali Khan. Asad Amanat Ali Khan died from a heart attack in London.
He started his music career at the age of 10, and recorded his first song from his grandfather’s album. He started singing officially after completing his FA. Nisar Bazmi gave him his first chance by introducing him on Television. Asad Amanat Ali Khan worked for Pakistani Television for many years. He formed a duo with his youngest uncle Hamid Ali Khan and they both performed on many shows in the 1970’s and 80’s. Some of his famous songs are Insha Ji Utho ab Kooch Karo, Diyar Yaar geya, Doob gai sub, Zara Zara dil Main Dard Hua, Aankhain Ghazal hain aapki and many more. He died on 7 april 2007 while enjoying an outing with his family in Cassiobury Park, London.
Iqbal Bano (1935-2009)
Iqbal Bano was a Pakistani Ghazal Singer. She was famous for her semi classical Ghazals and Thumris. She also sang many songs for Pakistani films in the 1950’s. From a very young age she developed love for music. She learnt music from Ustad Sabri Khan and Ustad Chaand Khan, they both are experts of pure classical forms of vocal music.
Ustad Chaand Khan referred her to indian radio, where she recorded her first song. In 1952, she migrated to Pakistan and after marriage she started her music career in Pakistan. She sang many songs for famous Pakistani Movies like Gumnam, Inteqam, Qatil, Sarfarosh etc.
Iqbal Bano was considered a top class vocalist, she sang so many ghazals of Faiz Ahmed Faiz and Nasir Kazmi. She received the Pride of Performance award from the Government of Pakistan.
She died on 21 april 2009 in Lahore after a short illness.
Amjad Farid Sabri (1970-2016)
Amjad Farid Sabri was born on 23 december 1976. He was son of Famous Qawwal Ghulam Farid Sabri and nephew of Maqbool Ahmed Sabri. He is one of the prominent Qawwal, Sufi singers of Asia. Amjad Farid Sabri is also known as “Rockstar” of Qawwali.
He started learning music from his Father Ghulam Farid Sabri at the age of 9. He gave his first performance on stage along with his father at the age of 12. Then he gave many performances along with his father and uncle. His first album “Balaghal Ula Be Kamalehi” was released in 1997. Some of his hit Qawwalis are Zehra ke Sath hai Ali Ki Shadi, Na puchiye ke kya Hussain hai etc. Most famous Naat of Amjad farid Sabri is “Karam mangta hoon”. His last musical project was with Coke Studio season 9. He sang “Aaj Rang Hai” with Rahat Fateh Ali Khan in Coke Studio. That was his first and last performance in Coke Studio.
He died on 22 june 2016 in targeted killing in Karachi. Amjad Farid Sabri was awarded “Pride of Performance” by the Government of Pakistan. In 2018, the third highest civilian honour award Sitara e Imtiaz was awarded by President Mamnoon Hussain.