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Arts & Culture » Theater Critic's Choice

Ghulam Ali & Talat Aziz



Originating in Persia, the style of Hindustani vocal music called ghazal migrated to India in the 12th century. Ghazals are mostly love songs (the word means "to talk amorously with women") built around formal Urdu couplets, with five or more stanzas that twist and turn but always come back to the same rhyme. Ghulam Ali, one of the world's most versatile ghazal singers, sings verses set to his own complex compositions, infusing his lines with such rich emotion that you don't need to understand the words to appreciate it. The music enjoyed a resurgence in the late 70s and early 80s, when Bollywood film music began to co-opt the style and classically trained Pakistani singers like Ali began to tour India. Around the same time Talat Aziz, after studying with a who's who of master musicians, moved from his native Hyderabad to Mumbai to launch his career as a singer, composer, and actor; his joyous, lighter style has brought ghazal to a new audience. Aziz and Ali are in the midst of a 16-city North American tour, their first together; each show has been promoted in conjunction with local ghazal fans. (Suburban IT professional Manjeet Rekhi, who's helping to put together this one, is collecting song requests at ghazal_request@rekhis.com.) They'll perform both together and separately, backed by musicians on tabla, flute, keyboards, harmonium, and dholak. Sat 4/30, 7 PM, Gateway Theatre, 5216 W. Lawrence, 630-440-2585 or rehkis.com, $35-$100. All ages.

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