Ustad Hamid Ali Khan is a Pakistani Classical singer. He belongs to the Patiala Gharana, one of the most renowned vocal classical music families, known for singing ghazal, khayal and thumris. He is the youngest brother of prominent classical singers, Ustad Amanat Ali Khan and Ustad Bade Fateh Ali Khan. After the death of Ustad Fateh Ali Khan in 2017, Hamid remained the only exponent of the Patiala Gharana’s tradition of classical singing. He sings classical and semi-classical forms of music. In 2007, he received the highest national literary award in Pakistan; the Pride of Performance Award by the President of Pakistan.
Ustad Hamid Ali Khan was born in 1953 in Pakistan. He learned music under the tutelage of his father Ustad Akhtar Hussain Khan, who was also a renowned classical singer and used to sing in the court of Maharaja of Patiala. Being born into a family of legends, he too bore a magical voice like his elders.
Parents & Siblings
Ustad Hamid Ali Khan belongs to a Punjabi-Muslim family. His great-grandfather Mian Kallu was the founder of the Patiala Gharana, who used to sing classical Hindustani music. His grandfather Jarnail Ali Baksh Khan, and his father Akhtar Hussain Khan used to sing in the court of Maharaja of Patiala. He had two elder brothers, Ustad Amanat Ali and Ustad Fateh Ali who were also selected as the singer of the court of Maharaja of Patiala, Yadavinder Singh.
Ustad Akhtar Hussain Khan, Hamid Ali’s father
Ustad Bade Fateh Ali Khan (left) and Ustad Amanat Ali Khan (right), elder brothers of Ustad Hamid Ali Khan
Wife & Children
Ustad Hamid Ali Khan has three sons- Nayab Ali Khan, Wali Hamid Ali Khan, and Inam Ali Khan, who together formed a Sufi rock band, ‘Raga Boyz’. The boys are keeping the legacy of Patiala Gharana alive. Nayab Ali and Inam Ali sing both, classical as well as pop music. Whereas, Wali Hamid Ali Khan, apart from singing, has also tried his hand at acting. He debuted his acting career with the serial “Kaisi Aurat Hun Main.”
Ustad Hamid Ali Khan with his sons, Nayab Ali Khan (extreme left), Wali Hamid Ali Khan (second from right), and Inam Ali Khan (extreme right)
Ustad Hamid Ali Khan is gifted with a magical voice in inheritance. Like his ancestors, he too sings Hindustani classical forms of music such as thumri, khayal and ghazals. According to the tradition of Patiala Gharana of singing in pairs, Ustad Hamid Ali Khan used to sing with his nephew Amjad Amanat Ali Khan, at the beginning of his singing career. Later, when Amjad went to London, Hamid Ali started singing with Asad Amanat Ali Khan and the duet gained immense popularity. But after the demise of Asad Amanat Ali Khan, the duet broke up and Hamid Ali had to manage all the work alone.
Ustad Hamid Ali Khan with his nephew Asad Amanat Ali Khan
Ustad Hamid Ali Khan has sung more than 100 songs including some famous ghazals of his elder brother Amanat Ali Khan. His ghazal “Laagi Re Tose Lagi” and “Menu Tere Jiya Sohna” are considered the all-time favourite of his fans. Some of his most famous albums are- “Raag Se Geet Tak” (1981), “Yaad E Maazi,” “Lazzat-e-Dard” (1990), “Phool Khilne They Abhi” (2006), “Ragas: Malkauns, Mian Ki Malhar & Megh” (2006), “Ik Roz Tamanna Ke” (2018), and “Zikar E Yesu” (2020).
Poster for the album ‘Ragas Malkauns, Mian Ki Malhar & Megh (2006)
Moreover, in 2015, Ustad Hamid Ali Khan performed the song “Piya Dekhan Ko” on Coke Studio, Season 1o. In 2016, he performed with his elder brother Ustad Bade Fateh Ali Khan at the All Pakistan Music Festival in Karachi. He launched an album in 2017, titled “Dil Tau Kehta Hai,” which includes 6 ghazals. The album was composed by himself only. The album “Karam” (2021) is a collaboration of classical music by Ustad Hamid Ali Khan and the Sufi rock band “Raga Boyz,” starring Nimra Khan and Wali Hamid Khan.
Poster for the album ‘Karam’ (2021)
Awards, Honours, Achievements
- In 2007, Ustad Hamid Ali Khan was honoured with the Pride of Performance Award by the President of Pakistan.
- In 2010, the Government of Pakistan awarded Ustad Hamid Ali Khan with the award Sitara-i-Imtiaz.
- He was also bestowed with several awards for lifetime achievement in the field of classical music during his tour of India in 2007.
- Ustad Hamid Ali Khan was honoured by the Ambassador of 8 countries for conveying the message of peace and harmony through his music. The singer was honoured in Islamabad on 15th July 2021, by the Ambassadors of Italy, Germany, Japan, Belgium, Sweden, Poland Morocco and Switzerland.
- Ustad Hamid Ali believes that the vogue of classical music and launching albums is declining day by day. In 2017, he launched an album titled “Dil Tau Kehta Hai,” after a gap of six years, which consists of the classical genres of music such as raag and thumris. He also wants other singers to launch albums as well and keep the culture and heritage of the country alive. In an interview, he said,
I have to secure the traditions of my family and that is the reason why I will continue to launch more albums in the coming years,” he added, “I will do my very best for the preservation of our culture and heritage.”
- In an interview, Hamid told the reason behind the tradition of singing in pairs in Patiala Gharana. He explained,
Our ancestors devised this method of singing in pairs so that the next generation always sticks together. So, while both partners have a full range, in public performances one would take care of the Durat (fast tempo) while the other would take on Alap (improvised sections of ragas). There are thousands of ragas in music and it is important to have a wide range for every trained classical singer, but our gharana especially excels in Malkuns, Darbari, Adana, Des, Bhopali, and Multani of which some are sung in the morning, some in the evening and some at night,”
- Ustad Hamid Ali Khan loves and respects his country. In an interview with Wasi Shah on a TV channel, he recalled his visit to India on an occasion and told that he was praised by the former Indian Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee. He told that he was asked to stay in India for a while and offered all kinds of facilities in return, but the singer denied it and said,
I’m a Pakistani and I will only serve my country.”
- Ustad Hamid Ali Khan suggested the title “Raga Boyz” for the band of his sons. The reason behind this title is that “Raag,” a traditional melodic framework in Indian music, is called “Raga” in western countries, and the singing style of the band is a fusion of western pop music and Indian traditional classical music. Therefore, he found the title to be most suitable for the band of his sons.
- In 2014, Pearl Continental Hotel Rawalpindi in collaboration with FM Productions organised the event “A tribute to the Patiala Gharana” in which three generations from the Patiala Gharana; i.e Ustad Bade Fateh Ali Khan, Ustad Hamid Ali Khan and the Raga Boys had performed together for the first time.
Ustad Hamid Ali Khan (extreme right) with his elder brother Bade Fateh Ali Khan (second from left), and his sons, Inam Ali Khan (extreme left) and Nayab Ali Khan (second from right)
- His great-grandfather, Mian Kallu Khan was trained by Mir Qutub Bakhsh Tanrus Khan, who was a musician in the court of the last Mughal emperor, Bahadur Shah Zafar.