Salamat Ali Khan and Nazakat Ali Khan were the most famous classical singers of Pakistan in the post independence time. Renowned as Ali brothers when they were singing together and later Salamat as a solo singer reached great heights.
Ali brothers were born in Sham Chaurasi in Hoshiarpur District of Punjab. They received rigorous classical training from their father Ustad Wilayat Ali Khan, the doyen of Sham Chaurasi gharana, and began giving concert at a very young age. They even gave a radio concert from Lahore in 1942. Impressed by their singing, ruler of Champanagar state in Bihar made them is court musicians.
Soon they lost their father and then the partition happened. They decided to migrate to Pakistan. Ali brothers continued to tour India from their base in Pakistan, participating in music conferences and giving concerts.
After the 1965 Indo-Pak war and esp. after 1971 war, patronage for classical music greatly declined in Pakistan. In 1974 Nazakat Ali Khan, the elder brother separated because of a family feud and Salamat had to adopt to solo singing. Nazakat nearly quit singing.
Sham Chaurasi gharana is a very old dhrupad gharana going back nearly 500 years. Credit for bringing khayal singing to this gharana goes to Ali brothers. Deeply influenced by dhrupad, the khayal style they evolved had long alaap and great layakari. In that sense their khayal is very different from other long established khayal gharana-s.
In September 1978 Salamat suffered a stroke while performing at the Ravi Shankar Hall in London. He took a long time to recover and finally was back on stage with his son Sharafat Ali Khan. But the magic of earlier years was gone. In July of 1971 Salamat Ali Khan passed away after a prolonged period of illness.
His sons Sharafat Ali Khan, Shafqat Ali Khan, Sukhawat Ali Khan and Riffat Salamat are carrying forward the tradition of Sham Chaurasi gharana, especially the duo of Sharafat and Shafqat. Nazakat Ali Khan’s son Rafaqat Ali Khan is classically trained but prefers to sing experimental classical – pop fusion music. In 1961 they were awarded the “Pride Of Performance” medal by the government of Pakistan.
The Ali Brothers on AOL