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Bonnie C. Wade and Inderjit N. Kaur

(b Kurdi, Goa, July 15, 1904; d Feb 10, 2001). North Indian (Hindustani) classical music vocalist. Her earliest training was in dance, as she spent five or six years with the Parvatkar Natak Mandali touring drama company. Her musical training began after Alladiya Khan heard her practising a song for performance in a drama; although most male singers of the time refused to take female students, he offered to teach her. When Alladiya Khan moved to Bombay she followed him, but first had to study with Bashir Ahmad Khan and Vilayat Hussain Khan of Agra gharana and Hyder Khan, Alladiya Khan’s brother. Finally when Alladiya Khan accepted her as his disciple it was for the rest of his life and she received her most sustained training from him. As a teacher she was responsible for transmitting his style to the next generation. Her most famous disciples are her daughter Kishore Amonkar, as well as Padma Talwalkar and V.H. Deshpande....

Article

Amir Hassanpour and Stephen Blum

(b Salawatawa, near Sanandaj [Sina], Iran, 1882; d 1937). Kurdish singer. He was born into a family of sayyids (descendants of the Prophet Muhammad) and was sent to a mosque school in Sanandaj to study the Qur'an and Islamic teachings. Already known for his voice as a child, his recitations of the Qur'an, mewlûdname (verses about the Prophet's birth) and munacat (prayers) attracted attention. His secular songs also gained increasing popularity. Through the patronage of an aristocratic family of Sanandaj, he travelled to Tehran, where he was received enthusiastically by the music community. In 1929 he recorded 17 Kurdish pieces for Polyphon. His 14 surviving performances include goranî (popular songs) and pieces identified as Persian dastgāhs such as Segāh and Dashtī. He was frequently invited to perform for thousands of listeners in many Kurdish towns, and his recorded songs also attracted crowds to tea-houses. His recordings were a permanent feature in the music programming of the Kurdish section of Radio Baghdad from the 1940s and in the Kurdish radio stations of Iran during the 1950s. His music has inspired Kurdish singers such as Aziz Shahrokh and the Kamkar ensemble. An account of his work is given in M.H. Baqî: ...

Article

(b 1922, al-Hawta, British Protectorate of South Arabia [now Yemen]; d 1967). Arab singer and ‘ūd player. His life was closely linked to that of his patron, Prince Aḥmad Faḍl al-‘Abdalī, known as ‘the Commandant’ (al-Komandān). Before the Komandān, the music of the Lahij region near Aden was confined to popular songs and instruments (the double clarinet, the lyre and percussion). In the 1930s, young artists influenced by Egyptian song discovered the ‘ūd (short-necked lute). As an alternative to the other urban musical genres of the Yemen, which derived from Sana’a and Hadramawt, the Komandān invented a new style known as laḥjī by adapting his poetry to traditional melodies; he later composed new melodies and provided patronage for young composers. The laḥjī style was the first ‘urban’ musical genre of the Yemen in the contemporary sense, making its mark throughout the Yemen together with the polyrhythmic ...

Article

Kazunori Sugiyama

[Gyeongja ]

(b Aichi, Japan, Feb 17, 1965). Korean singer. She studied piano as a child. Although she did not make her professional début as a singer until 1991, she soon came to be regarded as one of the best jazz singers in Japan, and she performs regularly in Japanese clubs. Her albums for Sony (...

Article

Mikaela Minga

( b Leskovik, Kolonjë, Albania, ? 1885; d Istanbul, Turkey, ? 1965). Albanian singer of Romani origins . Both her father and brother were saze musicians, a typical ensemble in south Albania, consisting usually of a clarinet, violin, laouto, baglama, and frame drum. Her activity is primarily related to her birthplace, Leskovik, considered a core place for saze performance in the first half of the 20th century. She sang and played the violin with the group. The performances with her brother Selim Leskoviku (singer and clarinettist), recorded for the Odeon label’s 78 rpm recordings, are well known. Their two-part singing is based on the multipart singing practices characteristic of the rural areas of south-eastern Albania. Their saze group was family based. They had their own tavern but were also hired to play in different places nearby. Leskoviku has been described as having a very large vocal range, of up to three octaves. It has been said that she used to dress like a man and cut her hair short, attitudes that attributed her a special status among the ...

Article

Joseph S.C. Lam

[given name, Shangquan ]

(fl 1522–72). Chinese composer, singer and theorist . He played a central role in developing the Kunshan qiang, a regional singing style of the Kunshan area of Jiangsu province that had first emerged in the middle decades of the 14th century, into a national genre of operatic music known as Kunqu that came to dominate the Chinese theatre from the late 16th century and the 17th.

Details of Wei’s biography are vague, but available data describe him as a singer of ‘northern arias’ (beiqu) from Jiangxi province who, after moving to Taicang in Jiangsu province, devoted himself to the development of Kunshan qiang. Finding the original Kunshan qiang bland and lacking in interest, he yet realized its expressive potential, and refined it by incorporating aspects from other contemporary vocal styles. His new version of the Kunshan qiang style featured melismatic melodies perfectly matching the linguistic tones of the lyrics, floating around the accompaniment of ...

Article

Joanna C. Lee

[Teresa Teng]

(b Tianyang village in Yunlin province, Taiwan, Jan 29, 1953; d Chiangmai, Thailand, May 8, 1995). Chinese popular singer. Deng came to prominence at the age of 11, as winner of the national radio's song contest. While in her teens she toured South-east Asia with song-and-dance troupes, singing shidaiqu (contemporary popular songs). In 1973 Deng signed a Polydor contract that led her to Japan. From that time until her death Deng was revered as the most popular Chinese singer, admired by millions of ardent fans in the People's Republic of China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and throughout South-east Asia. She died of an asthma attack while on holiday in Thailand. The Teresa Teng Foundation was established after her death to promote cultural activities in Taiwan.

Deng was rare among her peers in singing successfully in the different languages and dialects of Japanese and Taiwanese pop as well as Cantopop...

Article

(b Vladikavkaz, 24 Oct/Nov 6, 1911; d Moscow, July 6, 2004). Armenian baritone. He studied in Leningrad, and made his début there in 1935. He first sang with the Bol′shoy Opera in 1940 and was for many years the company’s leading baritone. He appeared at the Metropolitan as Amonasro in ...

Article

Peng Benle

(b Suzhou, Jiangsu province, June 2, 1928; d March 6, 1984). Chinese Suzhou tanci ballad singer . Xu Lixian became a professional musician at 11, performing first with the foster couple to whom her impoverished natural parents had sold her. Her repertory at this time included folksongs, various excerpts from tanci and local opera, and contemporary popular songs.

In 1953 Xu Lixian joined the Shanghai People’s Pingtan Troupe (Shanghai Shi Renmin Pingtan Gonguzuotuan), encountering there many of the principal singers of the time. Her vocal style at this time combined the melodic character of Jiang Yuequan with the variation techniques of Xu Yunzhi. Xu Lixian was active both in the development of new repertory, such as a chronicle of the female revolutionary hero in The New Ballad of Mulan (Xin Mulan ci) (1959), and in the maintenance of the old. Among her innovations was the use of duet passages (...

Article

Jared Pauley

[Shimura, Tsutomu; (“Tom”)]

Rapper, producer, and songwriter. Shimura was born in Tokyo, Japan to Japanese and Jewish Italian American parents. His delivery is noted for incorporating multiple syllables and an extensive vocabulary. Growing up in Berkeley, California, he was a co-founder of the independent label Quannum Projects, which has released albums by Blackalicious, DJ Shadow, Pigeon John, and others, including his own projects.

Early in his career, Shimura went by the name Asia Born but later changed it to Lyrics Born. His first single, “Send Them,” was released in 1993. The song was produced by DJ Shadow, and it featured the B-Side single “Entropy.” He later formed a group with Lateef the Truthspeaker called Latryx, and they released Latryx (The Album) in 1997.

Lyrics Born’s greatest commercial success as a solo artist occurred in 2003 with the release of his album Later That Day. The album featured the song “Callin’ Out,” which ended up being a surprise hit. The song was licensed by Electronic Arts for use in video games and by the Coca-Cola Company. In addition to his work as a solo artist, Shimura is also active as a voice-over actor, lending his voice to several shows and cartoon programs on Cartoon Network’s ...

Article

Elizabeth Forbes

(b India, 1865; d London, April 1943). British soprano. She studied in London with the younger Manuel Garcia and made her début in 1888 as Micaëla at Covent Garden, where she sang regularly until 1897. Her roles included Donna Elvira, Inès (L’Africaine), Mathilde (Guillaume Tell...

Article

Mahwash  

Abdul-Wahab Madadi and John Baily

(b Kabul, 1947). Afghan singer . Born with the name Ferīda, she came from a religious background. Her father, Mohammad Ayūb, was a shopkeeper, her mother a Qur'anic teacher in a secondary school. She became a typist and secretary and was employed for some time in this capacity at Radio Afghanistan. In 1967 she started singing on Radio Afghanistan under the stage name Mahwash, by which she is generally known. She soon became an extremely popular radio artist; in 1971 the radio audience voted her outstanding singer of the year. As a fully professional singer she was much in demand for élite wedding parties in Kabul.

A number of songwriters composed material for her, including Ustād Nabi Gol, Hafīzullah Khyāl, Madadi and Ustād Hāshem, who gave her some training in classical singing. In 1977 she was given the title of Ustād by the Minister of Information and Culture. Many Afghan cognoscenti felt this was inappropriate, if only because this title is never applied to women. In ...

Article

Razia Sultanova

(b Kara-Bulak, 24 June/July 7, 1907; d June 1, 1978). Kyrgyz composer and singer. He graduated from the Kazakh-Kyrgyz Institute of Education and then attended the Moscow Conservatory (1940–41 and 1947–50) where he studied with Fere and Litinsky. His first compositions date from 1922 when he wrote a song for a dramatic production. He later wrote the opera Aychurek in collaboration with Fere and V. Vlasov for the celebration entitled the First Decade of Kyrgyz Art held in 1939, the year in which he became head of the Kyrgyz Composers' Union. It is generally acknowledged that he was the founder of Kyrgyz professional music and created new genres, especially vocal ones, based on Kyrgyz folklore. He became a National Artist of the USSR in 1939, and in 1970 was awarded the State Prize of Kyrgyzstan in recognition of his opera Toktogul. His daughter Zhïldïz (...

Article

I.M. Yampol′sky

(Hassan-kïzi)

(b Tbilisi, 6/April 18, 1897). Azerbaijani soprano. She studied first at the Kiev Conservatory (1917–21) with Shperling, then in Milan and Paris (1927–9). She made her début in 1921 as Violetta at the Azerbaijan State Theatre, Baku, where she sang until 1948. Mamedova was one of the founders of opera in Azerbaijan, combining European culture and technique with her characteristic national style, and her performances were noted for integrity and taste. She sang Guchokhra in Hajibeyov’s The Travelling Salesman in 1922, and created Glier’s Shakh-Senem (1934) and Mahomayev’s Nergiz (1936); she also sang Gyul’sara in Mahomayev’s Shakh Ismail in 1940. Her career took her to Moscow, Leningrad and Kiev, to France and to Iran. She organized the first drama school in Azerbaijan (1923), and published Puti razvitiya azerbaydzhanskogo muzïkal’nogo teatra (‘Paths of Development of Azerbaijani Music Theatre’, Moscow, ...

Article

Amir Hassanpour and Stephen Blum

(b Mahabad [Sawj Bulaq], Iran, 1925/6; d Mahabad, Jan 23, 1999). Kurdish singer. He was the last prominent member of a family of singers and began singing at the age of 13. His singing was limited to live performances at weddings and other occasions during much of the rule of the Pahlavi shahs (1925–79), who repeatedly suppressed Kurdish music and culture. The launching of a state-run local radio station in Mahabad in 1955 and the proliferation of cassette recording in the 1960s created a listening public for Mamili and other singers both in Iran and across the border in Iraqi Kurdistan.

Mamili’s repertory of about 700 pieces consists predominantly of goranî, popular songs performed at weddings, in various entertainment settings and on the radio. Like most contemporary urban singers, he drew on rural music as well as on non-Kurdish (especially Azerbaijani) melodies, using lyrics from earlier and contemporary Kurdish poets. Although only a few of his songs are overtly patriotic, he was jailed for six months in ...

Article

Martin Bernheimer

(b Malaybalay, Mindanao, Aug 16, 1945). Filipina soprano. She studied in Manila, and at the Juilliard School with Jennie Tourel. She has specialized in lyric roles in Washington, DC (where she made her opera début as Mimì in 1969), San Francisco (where she was Inès in the 1972 revival of L’Africaine), Geneva, Rome, Amsterdam, Glyndebourne (début 1974) and Salzburg (début 1975). Her Metropolitan Opera début was on 19 December 1975 as Lauretta in Gianni Schicchi, and she returned as Gretel. She sang Mélisande at Santa Fe in 1977, and Lisa in a televised production of The Queen of Spades; she also appeared in the American premières of Berio’s Passaggio and Bennett’s The Mines of Sulphur (Jenny) and the world premières of Pasatieri’s Black Widow (Berta) and Ines de Castro (Ines). A singer of considerable refinement and charm, she is especially well cast in Mozart’s soubrette roles....

Article

Alison Arnold

(b Indore, Sept 28, 1929). Indian film playback singer . The best-known and respected female singer in the history of Indian film music, Lata Mangeshkar has recorded more film songs than any other singer. As the eldest daughter of Marathi stage actor-singer and travelling theatre owner Dinanath Mangeshkar, she received no formal schooling and was forced to support her mother and four younger siblings when her father died in 1942. Lata immediately joined the film industry as an actress-singer with a Marathi film company, Prafulla Pictures in Pune. For a short time she also became a disciple of classical singer Aman Ali Khan Bindibazarwala, then after his departure to Pakistan in 1947 she studied with Amanat Ali until his death in 1951. Lata sang her first Marathi film playback song in 1942, and her first playback for a Hindi film in 1947, Pa lagun kar jori re for Aap ki sewa mein...

Article

Kazunori Sugiyama

(b Niigata, Japan, June 22, 1951). Japanese singer. He began singing jazz while at Waseda University in Tokyo, studied jazz singing in 1974 and guitar, under Kazumi Watanabe, in 1976, and made his professional début with the trio led by the pianist Norio Kotani in 1974. Having performed regularly with the drummer Ryojiro Furusawa, Shigeharu Mukai, and the drummer Takashi Miyasaka, he first led his own group in 1977. From 1979 he led various bands, mainly under the name Suikyoza. In 1990 he recorded with Norman Simmons’s trio in New York and performed with Jon Hendricks. Maruyama is known for his scat singing and his individual manner of vocalizing based on traditional Japanese folk singing. He composes, arranges, and writes about music, teaches and translates English, and teaches jazz theory and improvisation at Nippon University and in his own vocal schools. He should not be confused with the Shigeo Maruyama who became chief executive officer of Sony Music Entertainment in ...

Article

Elizabeth Forbes

(b Haifa, July 2, 1949). Israeli soprano. She studied in Italy and in 1976 sang Leonora (Il trovatore) in Stockholm. She also sang Leonora with the WNO (1977) and the First Lady at Glyndebourne (1978); at Wexford (1978–9) she sang Marta (...

Article

Kim Chang-nam

[Kim Min'gi]

(b 1951). Korean singer and composer of South Korean popular music. He graduated from the department of painting at Seoul National University. His musical career began in 1970 when he composed the song Ach'im isŭl ‘Morning Dew’. This song, released by the rising singer Yang Hŭiŭn, won great popularity among university students and became a prominent part of Korean modern folk music and youth culture. In 1971 Kim produced a solo album, but because he participated in the anti-government student movement and the rebellious grass-roots cultural movement, his songs were forbidden and he was banned from any official activity by governmental authorities. The songs he wrote, however, were distributed through underground routes, and he became a symbol of the oppositional student movement. In 1978 he produced a music drama tape, Kongjang Ŭi Bulbit ‘The Light of Factory’, about the labour struggle of the 1970s; this was one of the most significant forms of progressive cultural activity in the 1980s. Until the late 1980s Kim was not allowed to take part in any official music activity, and he worked in a factory and on a farm for some time. With the gradual democratization of South Korean society after ...