1. Farida Khanum’s page has been listed in the vocal archive. Along with a previously featured ghazal in Jangla Bhairavi, her live performances of Shankara, Kamod, and Des have been added to the page. Riaz Ahmad Barni has kindly contributed the last three recordings. Mr. Barni is an ardent admirer of Farida Khanum and has a collection of brilliant live performances by her. Regarding his recent contribution to our website, he mentions very conscientiously, that “for Kamod, PNCA Islamabad deserves the credit as the item is from the 4-cassette album they produced on Farida Khanum.”

2. Ram Chatur Mallick’s Bhopali has also been added to the vocal archive.

3. The APMC Lahore Annual Festival will be held in March 2006. The details will shortly appear in the ‘Events’ section at apmc.info

Fareeda Khanum: Made in India, queen of Pak music
The Times of India

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

NEW DELHI: Barriers broke and emotions reigned as Pakistani ghazal queen Begum Farida Khanum’s full-throated voice filled the air, kindling renewed hopes of peace and friendship between people of both the countries.

As the diva sang one soulful ghazal after another on a cold wintry night, the message was clear: there is a new music in India-Pakistan relations that will ring clear above the din of politicians’ rhetoric.

“I am honoured to be in India. Such love and respect for an artiste is truly overwhelming. I thank you all from my heart,” Khanum told a mesmerised audience on Tuesday evening. The legendary singer was here as part of an initiative by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) to “build bridges” through culture. Introducing the singer, ICCR director-general Pavan K. Varma called her a “symbol” of India-Pakistan friendship.

Diplomats, celebrities and journalists, who turned out in large numbers at the convention hall of Ashok Hotel, spontaneously burst into applause after every number.

The 70-year-old singer enchanted them with truths from the heart. “One can lie with words, not music,” she said, and went on to sing the all-time favourite: ” Aaj Jaane ki jid na Karo .”

“She belongs to an era when our cultures were the same, our thinking was the same. She is the epitome of that age,” sarod maestro Amjad Ali Khan said.

“We hope that artistes from India will be able to create the same place in people’s hearts across the border as she has done here,” Khan said.

Farida Khanum, called Mallika-e-Ghazal (Queen of Ghazals), was awarded the Hilal-e-Imtiaz – Pakistan’s highest civilian honour – by Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf this year.

Born in Kolkata and raised in Amritsar, Farida Khanum was trained in classical music by her sister Mukhtar Begum and the reputed maestro of Patiala Gharana, Ustad Ashiq Ali Khan.

In 1947, she migrated to Pakistan. She rendered her first public concert in 1950 in which renowned singers like Zeenat Begum and Iqbal Begum presented their ghazals too.

The next five decades in her life saw her become an iconic singer who was equally popular on both sides of the border.

Pak nightingale gets Ustad Haafiz Ali Khan Award
The Sunday Express

Sunday, December 18, 2005
Sumati Mehrishi

Gwalior, December 17 – Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh today presented Begum Farida Khanum and Malini Rajurkar with Ustad Haafiz Ali Khan Award, 2005, named after host Ustaad Amjad Ali Khan’s late father.

Though the Ustad’s desire to honour Pakistan’s nightingale Begum Khanum and the Gwalior glory, vocalist Rajurkar, was fulfilled, the event was marked by a few disappointments for the sarod maestro. First, the PM’s inability to visit Sarod Ghar, the ancestral house of the Sarod family. Second, the maestro felt that the real motive behind the evening, honouring the legends, was turned into a political event by local Congress leaders, who splashed Gwalior with party banners.

‘‘They almost forgot that the PM was called here for art, not politics. This is not a party event. I held this function to honour genuine musicians but the mood in Gwalior is different from what I expected. Politics has taken over art.’’

The evening got more political colour when three BJP ministers of the state boycotted the event, minutes before the PM’s arrival. Reason: They were refused ‘‘appropriate seating arrangement.’’

The PM and his wife Gursharan Kaur were accompanied by Governor Balram Jakhar and Congress MP Jyotiraditya Scindia besides a few Cabinet members.

Aman and Ayaan Ali Bangash, sons of Ustad Amjad Ali Khan, played their favorite melody, Raag Rageshwari, on the sarod.

In a speech in Hindi after the award presentation, the PM said: ‘‘Gwalior is one of the prominent gharanas in India, and Ustad Hafiz Ali Khan, the shining star of Gwalior and sarod. Had the senior maestro been alive today, he would have been filled with joy to see his music flourish.’’

“‘My wife and I are honoured to be among legends. A student of Indian music, my wife is exceptionally interested in Begum Khanum’s compositions,’’ he added.

The PM also agreed to look into Amjad Ali Khan’s request for help for the Tansen Samahroh. Begum Farida Khan also asked the PM to work out measures to make exchange of students easier.