LAHORE: Classical singer Ustad Ghulam Hassan Shaggan passed away on Tuesday. He was 85.
Shaggan’s son Qadir Shaggan told Dawn that his father was a heart patient whose condition abruptly deteriorated. He was taken to the Punjab Institute of Cardiology, where he was pronounced dead, said Qadir.
Shaggan, who belonged to the famous Gawaliar Gharana, was born in Amritsar in 1928. His father Bhai Lal Muhammad also was a known classical singer. The family moved to Pakistan at the time of partition and settled in Lahore.
Radio Pakistan’s Lahore station gave many a jewel to the world of classical singing and Shaggan was one of them. He struggled initially in his career but with the passage of time, he started to appear more frequently at different music forums such as the All-Pakistan Music Conference and other music evenings both in the country and abroad.
Shaggan was an accomplished singer who won several awards. The government of Pakistan conferred on him the Pride of Performance in 1988 and Sitara-i-Imtiaz in 2000.
Earlier, in 1962, Shaggan was given Sangeet Samrat award in Calcutta at a music conference.
During his tour to India in the 1960s, he was also conferred titles of Sangeet Rattan and Sindh Sangeet Mandalam.
His fame was not restricted to the subcontinent. French musicologists Gerard Kurgijian and Martina Catella had great acknowledgment for his talent which helped him hold performances in France, Sweden, Spain, Switzerland, Germany and the UK.
Shaggan also collaborated with the alternative/trance band Fun-Da-Mental, contributing an arrangement of his original bandish in Raag Bhopali to the band’s 2001 album, There Shall be Love!
Shaggan is survived by two sons and two daughters. His son Qadir Shaggan is a vocalist and music director and Mazhar Shaggan is rabab and mandolin player.
His funeral prayers will be held on Wednesday at 10am.
Published in Dawn, February 4th, 2015