Ghulam Ali (1940-) is a famous Pakistani ghazal singer.
Ghulam Ali was born in the village of Kaleke, Sialkot, Pakistan in 1940 (before partition). He belonged to a musical family, his father was a vocalist and sarangi player who gave him early training. At the age of 15, Ghulam Ali became a disciple of the legendary classical singer Bade Ghulam Ali Khan, who was a master of the Patiala Gharana to which Ghulam Ali also belongs. His training was provided mainly by Bade Ghulam Ali Khan’s three brothers: Barqat Ali Khan, Mubarak Ali Khan, and Amanat Ali Khan, in Lahore. All these great teachers of classical music taught him the finer details of classical music and his solid foundation of classical music included him studying Thumri and learning to sing raagas. He started singing for Radio Lahore in 1960. Ghulam Ali’s father named him “Ghulam Ali” after Bade Ghulam Ali.
Along with singing ghazals, Ghulam Ali composes music for his ghazals too. His compositions are raaga-based and sometimes include a scientific mixture of raagas. A raaga is a scientific, precise, subtle and aesthetic melodic form with its own peculiar ascending and descending movement consisting of either a full seven note octave, or a series of six or five notes (or a combination of any of these) in a rising or falling structure called the Arohana and Avarohana. He is known for blending gharana-gaayaki into ghazal and this gives his singing the capability to touch hearts. He beautifully sings Punjabi geets too. Most of his punjabi geets have been extremely popular. Though from Pakistan, Ghulam Ali remains as popular in India as in Pakistan. On being questioned about Pakistani pop groups, Ghulam Ali replied, “frankly I am really bewildered at their style of singing. How can you sing a song by running and jumping around the stage? The stage is meant for performing not for acrobatics.”
The words “Ghazal” and “Ghulam Ali” have become one sound.