I fear that classical music will die altogether: Ustad Hussain Baksh Gullo

Gullo is well known for his impeccable singing skills and has a big name within the classical music industry


Adnan Lodhi October 05, 2017
PHOTO: YOUTUBE

LAHORE: Pakistani classical singer Ustad Hussain Baksh Gullo has recently expressed his disappointment regarding the future of classical music within the country. He believes that as of now, there is no platform in Pakistan to provide classical music the recognition it deserves.

“Years ago, classical music dominated the industry but it seems like that domination is now coming to an end,” Gullo told The Express Tribune. “Although there is a lot of talent and many classical singers present in Pakistan, they lack opportunities.”

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Gullo is well known for his impeccable singing skills and has a big name within the industry, due to his expertise in thumri and kafi singing. He has previously been presented a Pride of Performance award deliberated by the Government of Pakistan.

The singer originates from Patiala Gharana, a social organisation linking vocal Hindustani classical musicians founded by Ustad Fateh Ali Khan and Ustad Ali Baksh Khan. He belongs to two famous houses of music, Patila and Shamchaurasi.

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“There’s a list of legendary singers that are the pride of classical music and who earned fame for our country because their work. Many of them introduced new styles and traditions within classical music, which was welcomed by many,” shared Gullo.“However, the last two decades have witnessed the industry’s decline. It seems like no one is ready to talk about or consider the challenges we are presently facing.”

Gullo is the son of legendary classical singer Ustad Nathu Khan and has two sons of his own, Suraj and Chand, who are both also singers. “I wish my boys Suraj and Chand the best of luck and am proud that they have learnt this art. I am happy that they are performing in different countries but I would really like to see more singers in the classical music field,” Gullo expressed.

PHOTO: YOUTUBE PHOTO: YOUTUBE

In his five-decade long singing career, the musician released many albums and has won countless hearts along the way. He has performed around the globe and is currently teaching music at Alhamra Hall, Lahore. “I have seen a wonderful era of classical music in my 55 years of singing. And I can say, without a doubt, Pakistan has ruled the classical music industry.”

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The singer then went on to speak about the lack of motivation within the country’s youngsters. “However, no one has the passion to learn anymore. Everyone just wants to become a star in a matter of days and of course, that can’t happen. I don’t know what happened to ustad-shaagird tradition.”

He continued, “I am not forgetting those who are willing to learn but the fact of the matter is that they are a minority. Overall, the majority wants fame at their fingertips and the situation is getting worse by the day. We can’t forget that classical music is our asset. Our seniors have really struggled and it is so painful for me to see that even after all those hitches, such circumstances have still occurred.”

‘Those promoting classical music should be lauded’

Gullo further spoke about the future of classical music and expressed his desire for the concerned departments to really understand the issue and take relevant steps to make the situation better. “India has thousands of music academies in comparison to Pakistan. The root of the issue is that we have a shortage of resources due to which, it isn’t possible for people like us to provide such platforms to our young talent.”

He suggested the government establish more institutions like Alhamra Hall so senior musicians have the opportunity to teach music. “I believe that artists like me have a responsibility to teach and transfer knowledge on to the newcomers. It’s really hard for me to see that we are unable to provide opportunities for such people. I fear that in coming years, classical music will die altogether within Pakistan.”

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