Surraya Multanikar: The Kafi specialist

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Baray bemurrawat hain yeh husn waley

Nature blessed Surraya Multanikar with a voice that was both shrill but conveyed enthusiasm of youth. The encouraging aspect of her voice is that it retained its verve despite her growing age. It is very apparent that music was deep inside her and oozed out whenever she started singing. She never lost her verve for singing and listeners who went to listen to her daughter Rahat Bano sing in concert would frequently ask Surraya to perform as she would mostly accompany Rahat to concerts and would keep on encouraging her. Surraya slightly demurs but then comes on to stage and the moment she begins one can feel the complete transformation on the atmosphere.

Surraya Multanikar came from a rich musical background as she belonged to a long line of acclaimed female singers. She was stubborn about her singing method and sang in her own style. Under family pressure she started learning from Ustad Ghulam Nabi Khan and soon came to grips with the nuances of classical singing. She could very well distinguish between variations offered by different raags and gradually mastered singing them. She was naturally disposed to render compositions in classical notes and soon her style came to notice. Her talent was well recognised and she was asked to sing in public concerts and she gave her first performance at the tender age of 19.

Surraya Multanikar hails from Multan that is the hub
of rich musical traditions
prevailing in south Punjab and the
area is well known for Sufi traditions of singing

Her big break came when famous music director Deboo Bhattacharya gave her a composition Bare bemurawat hain yeh husn waley to sing for film Badnam. The composition was based on a Purbi Thumri and with Surraya’s rendition of it became a rage. The composition is embellished with strong music accompaniment and gives a break in beat when the singer voices the middle part of the lyrics. It is where the virtuosity of the singer comes into play who clearly conveys the impression of being a very well honed artist. The song is still rated a celebrated and groundbreaking number and its typical arrangement has made it a trying tune to venture.

Still active
With her artist daughter Rahat Bano

Surraya Multanikar hails from Multan that is the hub of rich musical traditions prevailing in south Punjab and the area is well known for Sufi traditions of singing. The folklore of this area is exceptional in its notation as well as lyrics and Surraya was naturally disposed to venture into this music. She has rendered plenty of popular numbers that are now emulated widely. She first rendered Lungh aaja patan Chana de, a lovely and deeply lilting folk composition reflecting tremendous urge to be together. This number is very frequently sung by singers throughout the land and is now a national rendition.

Another exceptional number sung by Surraya Multanikar is Peelun pakiyaan nein that is deeply steeped in classical folklore representing the effervescent moods of rural life. With its controlled beat the song is exceptionally well sung by Surraya and her voice covers all notes of this Kafi. It is a very popular number and is frequently sung. The famous Kafi Kinoon haal sunawaan dil da koi mehram raaz na milda is also sung in specific classical mode and is a treat to listen to. Yet another number is Allah jaane yaar na jaane that is a fluent folk song and needs powerful stamina to sing it that Surraya aptly possesses.

Surraya Multanikar also sang Urdu ghazals but she comes out exceptionally well in Kafi genre. Her semi-classical numbers also became familiar such as Moray angna mein and Najaria kahay milaye sajaniya that are marvels of compositions and are very popular. Najaria kahay milaye sajaniya is an exceptional Thumri that conveys the strong traditional hold Surraya Multanikar has over music.

Noor Israr has a discerning taste in music and he is a trained singer

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