Recording from Radio Pakistan Archives
Bhai Lal Amritsari was a singer of the Kapurthala Gharana trained in the Gwalior style of singing. Bhai Lal hailed from a Amritsar based rababi family of musicians and received his initial training from his father Bhai Ata Muhammad, a disciple of Mian Bannay Khan of the Gwalior gharana. After his father’s death, Bhai Lal then learnt from Mian Mahboob Ali, a renowned sitar player of the Kapurthala Gharana.
Bhai Lal was a disciple of Pandit Bhaskarbuwa Bakhale. Bhaskarbuwa had learnt from Ustad Faiz Mohammad Khan (Gwalior), Ustad Bande Ali Khan (Kirana), Ustad Natthan Khan (Agra), and Ustad Alladiya Khan of Kohlapur (Jaipur).
At the Shikarpur Music conference in 1927, Bhai Lal received the title of Sangeet Sagar. In 1936, Bhai Lal’s elder son, Nissar Hassan died at the age of 26 due to tuberculosis. Bhai Lal then decided to train his younger son, Ghulam Hassan Shaggan to continue the family tradition.
After the partition of the sub-continent in 1947, Bhai Lal moved to Lahore in Pakistan, despite of strong requests from friends and disciples to stay in Amritsar. Bhai Lal was appointed music supervisor at Radio Pakistan and his son started performing at Radio Pakistan. The following 12 years proved to be extremely difficult for Bhai Lal and his family as recognition of classical arts was not readily forthcoming in the young country struggling with social and ideological questions.
Bhai Lal passed away in 1962 at Lahore. His musical legacy is continued by his son Ghulam Hassan Shaggan and his grandsons Qadir Hassan Shaggan and Mazhar Hassan Shaggan.