Friday, January 7, 2011

Tribute! Ustad Vilayat Hussain Khan

Ustad Vilayat Hussain Khan (1895-1962) was one of the greatest figures of Agra Gharana, who excelled both as singer and teacher. His father, Naththan Khan, was himself a legendary singer, and a noted guru. Vilayat Hussein Khan's elder brothers were also noted singers and taught him after their father's early death. Abdullah Khan was Naththan's Khan son who was several years senior to his brother Vilayat. His early death, around 1920, was a big blow to Hindustani music.

The contribution of this Gharana to the continuity of Classical Vocal Music of India, with a distinct style of its own, is undisputed. The Agra Gharana originated from Nohar Bani and its originator Sujan Khan, a Court Musician of Akbar and Contemporary of Miyan Tansen, was a Sufi singer of Chist-Sabri-Sufi sect. Agra tradition of Nohar Bani has produced a number of distinguished musicians like Bichitra Khan and Surgayan Khan (Musicians of Akbar's Court) Saidl Shah and Vazir Khan Nohar (period of Jehangir and Shahjahan) Sayyad Khan and Hasan Khan Nohar (reign of Aurangzeb) Shyam Rang and Saras Rang (period of Shah Alam and Mohd. Shah). The above musicians were followed by Sher Khan, Chagge Khuda Baksh, Miyan Natthan Khan, Bhaskar Bua Bakhle, Ustad Fayyaz Khan, Ustab Vilayat Hussain Khan, and S.N. Ratanjankar. Teaching music as a curriculum in Universities and Academies in India, is very recent. Previously, true to the traditions, training in music both practical and theoretical was imparted in the various families to musicians commonly known as Gharana. These Universities and Academies produced most of the 'well-known musicians today. Even now, talented students of music after graduating from Universities, turn to these Gharanas to become musicians. (

Raag Sohini - Ustad Vilayat Hussain Khan
Tabla : Ustad Ahmed Jan Thirakwa - Vocal Support : Ustad Yunus Hussain Khan

Ustad Vilayat Hussain Khan Sahab was a musician who was his own example born in centuries. Agra Gharana has flowered through musicians of his caliber and Khan Sahab carried on this tradition with great enthusiasm. Khan Sahab dedicated his life for the wide dissemination of classical music as an outstanding performer, great composer and greatest teacher. According to Dr. B. Gopal Reddy (then Union Minister of I. & B.) Khan Sahab was the non assuming reservoir, from which great many rivulets in the form of innumerable disciples flowed over the country. He wanted the rivulets to flow Perpetually both Historically and musically, Ustad Vilayat Hussain Khan, was a bridge between the last phase of the "Darbar music and the modern period. He brought Sangeet Vidya (the science of music), authentic "gayaki" and a treasure of ragas and compositions, in its purest form. 

Vilayat Hussain Khan: 78 rpm recordings
Raag Bhimpalas "aajhun aaye shyam"  - Odeon 1930
Raag Todi "langar ka kariye jin maro" - Odeon 1930

Whatever he imparted from old masters, conversed it to the new generation disciples and also other needy contemporaries. Thus, his contribution to the advancement of music in the present century is monumental. Khan Sahab inherited, imbibed and developed a Style which was both individualistic and representative of Agra Gharana. While assimilating the majority and the clear out rhythmic patterns of Dhrupad style of "Nohar Bani", he brought an easy flow Khayal Singing. This spontaneity marked by well-defined rhythmic movements and appropriate flourishes, with which he could make each word, syllable and letter of the composition dance brought a rare alliance and charm to the gayaki of this tradition, which is perhaps unrivalled. Written by Ustad Vilayat Hussain Khan and published by Sangeet Natak Academy "Sangeetagyon Ke Sansmaran" is very important book. (

Ustad Vilayat Hussein Khan "Pran Piya" of Agra Gharana   - Raag Paraj "Chalo Mitva Baalam Bhagva"

Ustad Vilayat Hussein Khan  had several disciples in Maharashtra, and the region owes its eminence in Hindustani music to the work of generous teachers like him, Balakrishnabuwa Ichalkaranjikar, Alladiya Khan, and Abdul Karim Khan. His most famous guru-shishya relationship was with Jagannathbuwa Purohit and each of them composed several bandishes dedicated to the other. Vilayat Khan's singing from his later years is available through commercial releases and private collectors. Khansaheb was indeed the indispensable and undoubted doyen of the Agra Gayaki. His recordings are an outstanding insight into Ragdari and all the finer nuances of the Gayaki through his very pure style.
He is the father of Ustad Yunus Husain Khan. 
(Photo: Ut. Vilayat Hussein Khan + Faiyaz Khan)

 By Tapasi Ghosh - 2008 - Biography & Autobiography 

"Pran piya Ustad Vilayat Hussain Khan: his life and contribution to the world"


Ustad Vilayat Hussain Khan ; Raag Savani Nat (60')

1 comment:

  1. I am extremely happy to read the tribute. Ustad Vilayat Hussain Khan Pranpiya was fathers brother in lwas. My father had the privilage to have learnt a number of Bandishes and Ragas from him in Mumbaiduring 1940.
    There is a great news fpr all the disciples, admirers and music lovers regarding Ustad Vilayat Hussain Khan.
    The Municuipal Corporation of Mumbai and the Govt. of Maharasthra have paid a grand tribute to the Ustad by naming a Chowk in Mumbai after his name recently. This place is situated near the junction of Marol Maroshi road, MIDC and Powai Check Naka, Andheri east.
    This cause is supported by Dilrangacademy of Music and Fine Arts Mumbai, Mr. Clive Dias, Ex Municipal Councillor, K East ward, H H Shriji Maharaj Udaipur and H H Mahipal Singh ji Dungarpur.
    I would like to request u and all the fans of Khansahab the doyen, to spread these great news amongst all the music lovers all over the world. Ustad Vilayat Hussain Khan Pranpiya was one of the Musicians who are born in centuries. My heartiest Salaam and tributes to this great Man, Musician, Musicologist, Poet and Com[poser.