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Michael Ethen

(b Kingston, ON, Nov 5, 1959). Canadian rock singer, songwriter, and guitarist, and photographer. The son of a diplomat, he spent his youth in England, Israel, Portugal, and Austria. After returning with his family to North America, he began performing and recording at the age of 15 with rock bands in British Columbia and Ontario. In ...

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Natan Shahar

(b Yekatrinoslav [now Dnepropetrovsk], Dec 5, 1894; d Tel-Aviv, April 2, 1982). Israeli composer and singer. He emigrated to Palestine from the Ukraine in 1906. He studied at the Teacher's Seminary in Jerusalem where his teachers included Abraham Zvi Idelsohn. During World War I he moved to Egypt and enlisted in the British Army. After the war he returned to Palestine and, while earning his living as an accountant, took singing lessons with Jehuda Har-Melaḥ. A countertenor with a phenomenal ability to improvise, he travelled to the USA in ...

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Ghulam-Sarwar Yousof

(b Muar, Johor, Malaysia, June 12, 1941). Malaysian singer and lute player. He became interested in music at an early age, as a result of watching bangsawan (Malay opera) performances; his father, a musician, was important in nurturing this interest. At the age of 18 he joined the Setia Ghazal Party in his home town (the principal centre of the syncretic vocal genre ...

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Amelia Maciszewski

(b Faizabad, Uttar Pradesh, 1911–14; d Lucknow, 1974/5). North Indian vocalist. She was hailed as a child prodigy by Gauhar Jan, who heard her sing at her school in about 1919. Akhtari's mother then took her to study classical vocal music with Ustad Zamir Khan of Gaya, Bihar. Akhtari made her début as a vocalist at a charity concert in Patna. Subsequently she moved to Calcutta and underwent arduous classical vocal training as a disciple of Ustad Ata Hussein Khan of the Patiala ...

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(b Hartford, ct , March 1, 1927). American soprano of Armenian descent. She studied at San Francisco, where she sang in the opera chorus (1945–6). At the Metropolitan she made her début (1950) as the Heavenly Voice (Don Carlos...

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(b Toḥayta, Tihama, South Arabia, c1892; d Ṣan‘ā, 1965). Yemeni singer and lutenist. He began singing while in Zabid, accompanying himself on a copper plate. He studied the qanbūs (lute) with Muḥammad Sha'bān and Muḥammad al-‘Attāb, both of whom he met in Ethiopia where they had taken refuge from the puritanism of Imām Yaḥyā. Al-‘Antarī’s life story is surrounded by legends, and it is also said that he met al-‘Attāb in Ṣan‘a and became his servant. Listening to al-‘Attāb, al-‘Antarī practised singing secretly until his master overheard him, recognized his talent and ordered him to sing to his guests. At the end of the 1930s al-‘Antarī recorded 25 songs for the Odeon company in Aden, and his subsequent career included numerous radio broadcasts and performances at weddings. He had an exceptional voice and was an accomplished lute player; he excelled in both the classical repertory of Ṣan‘ā (...

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Abdel-Hamid Hamam

(b Jan 17, 1929). Jordanian traditional composer, singer and buzuq player of Palestinian Gypsy origin. At an early age he joined a group of Gypsy musicians as a singer and player of the ‘ūd (short-necked lute) and the buzuq (long-necked lute), and performed at weddings and other celebrations in Jerusalem and the neighbouring villages. He began to learn religious chants and Qur’anic recitation at the age of nine. In ...

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Saadalla Agha Al-Kalaa

(b during a voyage from Turkey to Syria, 1917; d Egypt, July 14, 1944). Syrian singer. Born to a well-known Syrian family, she moved to Cairo with her family in 1924 and made some commercial recordings while still a teenager. In 1932 she married her cousin Prince Ḥasan al-Aṭrash and returned to Syria. After giving birth to a daughter she was pronounced unable to produce any more children (and not therefore a son and heir). She left her husband to give him the chance of having an heir, and thereafter deep sadness marked her life and the romantic meanings in her songs....

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Jonas Westover

(b Tilfis, Georgia). American baritone of Georgian birth. He is considered one of the world’s leading interpreters of Puccini and Verdi’s music. He made his debut in 1989 as Renato in Verdi’s Un Ballo in maschera at the Tilfis National Theater. In the following three years, Ataneli received several major awards, including first prize and the Grand Prix at the International Francisco-Vinas Competition in Barcelona (...

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Saadalla Agha Al-Kalaa

(b al-Qrayya, Syria, Oct 18, 1915; d Beirut, Dec 26, 1974). Syrian singer, composer, ‘ūd player and film actor and producer. In 1924 political circumstances forced his family to move to Egypt. His mother, the noted singer ‘Aliyya al-Munther, taught him singing in the Syrian style. He studied the ...

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Kazunori Sugiyama

(b Osaka, Japan, Sept 10, 1957). Japanese singer. She learned piano from the age of three, studied singing when she was 17, and in her youth undertook some work as a piano accompanist. After graduating from high school she lived alternately in Kobe, Japan, and Los Angeles. She then went to New York, where she sang from ...

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Alma Kunanbayeva

(b Maty-Bulak, Semirechye [now Krasnogorsk], 1884; d Almata, 1976). Kazakh traditional composer, singer, narrator and dömbra player. He was born to the family of a poor herder and lost his mother when he was seven years old. His family was musically talented and Azerbayev gained the nickname ...

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(b Paris, May 22, 1924). French singer and songwriter. His parents were Armenian immigrants, and he began acting as a child. In 1941 he wrote the lyrics to the song J'ai bu, with music by Pierre Roche, and which brought the songwriting team to the attention of Edith Piaf. Aznavour subsequently wrote songs for Piaf (...

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Elizabeth Forbes

(b Osaka, Dec 11, 1939). Japanese soprano . She studied in Tokyo, then in Milan and Parma, making her début in 1963 at Reggio Emilia as Suzel (L’amico Fritz). She sang at La Scala and elsewhere in Italy; in France, Belgium, Germany and Austria; in North and South America and with Fujiwara Opera in Tokyo. She took part in the première of Joachim Ludwig’s ...

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(b Palestine, TX, Jan 21, 1902; d Fort Worth, May 2, 1984). American singer and bandleader. He led his own band in Dallas (c1925) and toured Texas, then briefly led the Wolverines. In 1928 he worked as a banjoist in New York, but from ...

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Hormoz Farhat

(b Tehran, 1911; d Tehran, 1986). Persian singer. He came from an aristocratic background and was raised in a family circle frequented by literati and musicians. His father played the tār and his mother the piano; Banān learnt the rudiments of both instruments in childhood. He had voice lessons from his early teen years and by his mid-20s he had established a high reputation as a singer with a marked command of the ...

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Bonnie C. Wade and Inderjit N. Kaur

North Indian (Hindustani) classical music vocalist. She was the daughter of Abdul Karim Khan of the Kirana gharānā and studied with her father’s cousin, Abdul Wahid Khan. Her first important opportunity as a vocalist came when Vishnu Digambar Paluskar invited her to sing in public in ...

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Rainer E. Lotz

(b USA, c1890; d ? USA, after 1933). American alto and tenor saxophonist, clarinetist, and singer. His first known engagements were in China (1920) and Australia. After moving to England in 1925 he played in Bert Ralton’s Savoy Havana Band and recorded with Bert Firman (...

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Philip Greene

(b Colombo, Ceylon [now Sri Lanka], June 1, 1940). Sri Lankan singer. She studied piano and cello as a child, and first heard jazz in broadcasts on Voice of America. She won a trip to Australia to sing with Graeme Bell in 1954...

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(b Vernïy [now Alma-Ata], 20 April/May 2, 1912; d Moscow, June 6, 1957). Kazakh, soprano. She studied at the Vernïy Institute of Education (1924–8), sang with the Kazakh National Dramatic Theatre from 1934 and joined the Kazakh opera in ...