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BY GIRISH MODI
After a few yearsí break, the world renowned queen of ghazals Munni Begum came to perform in Atlanta on Saturday April 24th by invitation of Atlantaís two well known musical geniuses Salim Panjwani and Amin Charania, who have organized many such programs over the years. The concert took place at the Berkmar School Auditorium in Lilburn and was hosted by Aslam Pervez.
Ghazal lovers need no introduction of Munni Begum, since she has been in the ghazal singing arena for the past 40 years. Munni Begum has a very sweet voice, which is suitable for the rendition of both the new and classical ghazals written by Urdu poets. She has distinctly individualistic singing style and renders ghazals mostly in geet-oriented style. Munni Begum composes most of the ghazals she sing. She is also an excellent harmonium player.
Though Munni Begum was born and trained in then East Pakistan (now Bangladesh), she migrated to Pakistan in 1971 and launched her career in concerts and TV appearances. The first ghazal which made Munni Begum famous is Mareez-E-Mohabbat and she sings it in every live concert.
In this program Munni Begum sang her following popular ghazals: Kab Mera Nashaiman Ahle Chaman, Ek Bar Muskurado, Bhul Ne Wale Se Koi, Jhoom Barabar Jhoom, Lazat-E-Gham, Tumhare Shahar Ka Mausam, Mere Dastan-E-Hasrat, Mareez-E-Mohabbat , Awargi Mein Had Se, Naseem-E-Subah Gulshan, Jis Tarha Chahe Karam and many more.
When she sang her signatory ghazals Ek Bar Muskurado and Jhoom Barabar Jhoom, the audience got so excited that they started clapping and thumping. Similarly they clapped and thumped when Munni Begum sang last item of the night Damadar Mast Kalandar.
Alamgir, a soft-spoken, popular Pakistani pop singer of the 1970s who pioneered Urdu pop music in Pakistan, was a surprise guest of honor. He obliged audienceís persistent requests and sang one naat and a song even though he was not feeling well. I was told that Alamgir is in the USA for the medical treatment.
Rahil Sadaq, who accompanied Naila Mughal in her previous concerts, was the tabla player tonight. He gave a brief solo performance during the Damadam Mast Kalandar singing. Mansoor also accompanied Munni Begum on his drum set.
Music lovers are requested to visit www.Merasangeet.us and www.Sursanggetofatlanta.com for more photos and video clips of Munni Begumís concert and also about their upcoming programs. Munni Begumís own website www.munnibegum.com has a wealth of information about her.