Ustad Faiyaz Khan was born At Sikandara, a small town near Agra in 1880. His musical lineage traces back to Haji Sujaan Khan who was a court musician in Akbar’s court. His father, Safdar Hussain died just three months before his birth. Up to age of 25, his maternal grandfather, Ghulam Abbas taught him music. Apart from Ghulam Hussain, he got Talim under different Gurus like Ustad Mehboob Khan (Daraspiya), Natthan Khan and Fida Hussain Khan.
Without any doubt, Faiyaz Khan was one of the most influential vocalist of the twentieth century. Faiyaz Khan was a highly versatile vocalist and his canvas was not restricted only to Khayal. He could sing Dhrupad, Thumri and Ghazal also with same ease and expertise. Apart from Dhrupad Talim from Ghulam Abbas Khan, he got Dhamar Talim from his grand uncle, Ustad Kallan Khan.
Ghulam Abbas Khan took the young Faiyaz on a musical pilgrimage, visiting all the important centers of music. This also exposed Faiyaz to live music of greatest contemporary musicians.
Faiyaz Khan’s music was a fine blend of nuances of Agra Gharana and his own musical expression.
Ustad Faiyaz Khan’s musical career began at a very young age. In his early twenties, he was performing frequently at all the major musical centers in the country like Mumbai, Calcutta etc.
Ustad Faiyaz Khan was blessed with a sonorous voice which was very expressive. Though the range of his voice was limited, it was very lively within the given range. He gave due importance to both tradition and emotion in his renderings. As many of his admirers remember, he could keep audience enthralled for a long time just by doing Alapi.
In the later parts of his life, restrictions came on his singing because of an attack of typhoid and then TB. Ustad Faiyaz Khan passed away on 5th November 1950 in Baroda and his tomb still rests there.
Deep Influence of Dhrupad:
Agra Gharana is deeply influenced by Dhrupad style of singing and probably among all the Gharana, closest to the Dhrupad Gayaki. Faiyaz Khan and his disciples are well known for detailed Nom-Tom Alapi in the Ragas that they performed.
Here is a live concert recording where he is singing elaborate Alap in Raga Jaijaivanti. It is interesting to observe how he blends his delicate expressions in the phrases of his alaps.
Mastery over Dhamar:
Ustad Faiyaz Khan received formal training in singing Dhamar. Here is a recording where he is performing Dhamar in Raga Bhankar.
Creator of Timeless Compositions:
Ustad Faiyaz Khan composed with the pen-name “Prem Piya”.
His compositions are sung even today by musicians from all the Gharanas and are very well appreciated for their rich aesthetics.
- Famous film singer K.L. Saigal also received training under Ustad Faiyaz Khan.
- In one of his interviews, Pt. Firoz Dastur mentions that he admired Ustad Faiyaz Khan equally as he admired Ustad Abdul Karim Khan.
- Ustad Ji’s voice was so resonant that while recording, his magnificent voice would often damage the microphone ribbon.
Some quick facts about Ustad Abdul Karim Khan:
Date of birth: 8 February 1886
Death: 5 November 1950
Gurus: Ustad Mehboob Khan, Natthan Khan, FIda Hussain Khan, Kallan Khan
Disciples: Vilayat Hussain Khan, Khadim Hussain Khan, Asad Ali Khan, S. N. Ratanjankar, Dhruvatara Joshi, Latafat Hussain Khan, Ata Hussain Khan, Sharafat Hussain Khan.
Note: Image on this page is sourced from the blog of Shri. Rohiniprasad Kodavatiganti – http://rohiniprasadk.blogspot.com/2005/08/ustad-faiyaz-khan-great-vocalist.html