At the ripe old age of only nine, the boy who would become one of the great vocalists and teachers of Hindustani classical music marched into a Dehli audition for All India Radio ready to sing. He was told to go away and come back in a few years when he wouldn't be so wet behind the ears, but the advice went in one of those ears and out the other. He proceeded to perform with such grandeur that within three weeks his first recital was being broadcast nationally. And so began the musical career of Ustad Fayyaz Ahmed Khan. Khan is part of a musical tradition that goes back centuries and is called the Kirana Gharana after the tiny village where the legendary composer Naik Gopal settled to work on his creations. The family of Fayyaz reads like a who's who of performers in the Kirana genre, including his father Ustad Abduhl Bashir Khan, four singing uncles, a pack of musical forefathers and his talented younger brother, Ustad Niyaz Ahmed Khan, who became incredibly adept at the heady jugalbandi style of singing. The brothers Khan have performed and recorded together frequently, and with great success. One of their duet recordings has been listed as one of the best-selling recordings of Indian vocal music in history. Fayyaz is credited not only with his performance activity but with popularizing a selection of ragas such as "Shobhavari" and "Leelavati." An original raga of Fayyaz's, "Chandraprabha," has been recorded by the great Ustad Bismillah Khan. Fayyaz also writes music in a lighter style, and has had these pieces recorded by artists such as Begam Akhtar, Lata Mangeshkar, Talet Mehmood, and Sulakshana Pandit. Khan was also an Urdu poet of considerable notoriety, using the nom de plume of Fayyaz Jaipuri. He published a collection of verse which received an award in 1974.
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