|Origin||Rohtak, Punjab, India|
|Died||21 April 2009 (aged 74)
|Years active||1940s to 2000s|
Iqbal Bano (Urdu: اقبال بانو), PP (1935, Delhi - 21 April 2009, Lahore) was a highly acclaimed female Ghazal singer from Pakistan. She was best known for her semi-classical Urdu ghazal songs and classical thumris, but also sang easy-listening numbers in 1950s films.
Iqbal Bano was born in Delhi, India. From a young age, she developed a love for music. It was a crucial moment of her life when her friend's father told Bano's father, "My daughters do sing reasonably well, but Iqbal is blessed in singing. She will become a big name if you begin her training." Her father allowed her to study music.
In Delhi, she studied under Ustad Chaand Khan of the Delhi Gharana, an expert in all kinds of pure classical and light classical forms of vocal music. He instructed her in pure classical music and light classical music within the framework of classical forms of thumri and dadra. She was duly initiated Gaandaabandh shagird of her Ustad.
Ustad Chaand Khan referred her to All India Radio, Delhi, where she sang on the radio.
In 1952, aged 17, she married into a land-owning family in Pakistan. She moved to Multan with her husband who promised her that he would never try to stop her from singing, but would rather encourage and promote her. She was a star by the 1950s, singing soundtrack songs for famous Urdu films like Gumnaam (1954), Qatil (1955), Inteqaam (1955), Sarfarosh (1956), Ishq-e-Laila (1957), and Nagin (1959).
Her husband died in 70's, after which she moved to Lahore from Multan. It was observed that her temperament was particularly suited to vocal genres like thumri, dadra and ghazal.
Iqbal Bano was later invited by Radio Pakistan for classical performances. Her debut public concert took place in 1957, at the Lahore Arts Council.
She was considered a specialist in singing the ghazals of Faiz Ahmed Faiz. In 1985, Bano became a cult icon when she roused a strong crowd of 50,000 people in Lahore by singing Faiz's passionate Urdu anthem, Hum Dekhenge (We Will See), despite the poet's works being banned by General Zia ul-Haq's military regime on the grounds of his close ties with Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto. In due course, she generated more and more public appeal and became a specialist in singing the kalam of Faiz Ahmad Faiz. Her inciting ghazals were an act of defiance and resistance at a time when the government manipulated its people like robots.
She was considered a great singer of the ghazals of Nasir Kazmi. She also sang Persian poetry, which became popular in Iran and Afghanistan. In pre-1979 Afghanistan, she was often invited to the annual cultural fair, the Jashn-e-Kabul.
In light classical, her presentation of Thumris in Raag Khamaj (Kahay Sataey Mohe), Tilak Kamod (Sautan Fhar Na Ja), Des (Naheen Parey Mohe Chaen), Pilu (Gori Torey Naina Kajal Bin Kalay) and others such renderings which have become ever-green classics
Music lovers noted some similarities between Bano and Begum Akhtar, especially some marked resemblances in their styles of singing. Bano's recitals stuck to a classical style that lays more stress on the raag purity.
She was awarded the Pride of Performance by the Pakistani Government in 1974 for her outstanding achievements in classical music.
At the age of 74, Iqbal Bano died in Lahore on April 21, 2009, after a short illness.
- Pakistani singer Iqbal Bano dies by M. Ilyas Khan. BBC 22 April 2009. Retrieved 30 October 2011
- Iqbal Bano: Singer who transformed the genre of the ghazal Independent 5 May 2009 Retrieved 30 October 2011
- Iqbal Bano is no more - The News International
- BBC report of Bano's death
- Official facebook fanpage
- Obituary in The Independent (UK) by Ken Hunt, published 5 May 2009