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Val Wilmer

[Theresa; Naa-koshie]

(b Bodmin, England, Nov 8, 1940). English singer, pianist, and percussionist, daughter of Cab Kaye. She began singing professionally in 1962 with the Latin jazz band led by the Filipino pianist and vibraphonist Ido Martin, then sang with the pianists Colin Purbrook, Leon Cohen, and Brian Lemon (with John Stevens on drums). Following a nightclub residency with the Guyanese singer and percussionist Frank Holder she joined a Trinidadian band, the Merrymakers, in Germany. She continued to alternate nightclub work with jazz, playing congas and singing. In Berlin she worked with Carmell Jones, Dave Pike, and Leo Wright. Quaye traveled to Ghana, and in Paris she played with the Cameroonian saxophonist Manu Dibango. At this point she reclaimed her Ga name Naa-koshie, which she used professionally for some years. In New York in the early 1970s she played congas for Syvilla Forte’s dance troupe, sang with Harold Mabern, Jiunie Booth, Richard Davis, and Art “Shaki” Lewis, took part in jam sessions with Billy Higgins and others, and recorded on congas with Archie Shepp (...


Alison Arnold

(b Kotta Sultansingh, Dec 4, 1924; d Bombay, July 31, 1980). Indian film playback singer . Rafi received early vocal training from classical singers Ustad Wahid Khan and Pandit Jivanlal. He sang for Radio Lahore during his teens and at the age of 20 recorded his first film song for the Punjabi movie Gul baloch (1944). He made his début as a Hindi playback singer in the same year, travelling to Bombay to record songs by the music director Naushad Ali for Pahele aap (1944). Despite his powerful voice and three-octave vocal range Rafi struggled to gain recognition during the 1940s. His duet with Noorjahan ‘Yahan badla wafa ka’ in Jugnu (1947) and his solo ‘Suhani rat dhal chuki’ in Dulari (1949) earned wide popularity but not the overwhelming success needed to reach stardom. His songs by Naushad in Aan and ...


Guillermo I. Olliver and Rainer E. Lotz

[Mike; Muhiddin, Ahmed]

(b Constantinople [now Istanbul], Sept 24, 1905). Argentine bandleader, banjoist, guitarist, and singer of Turkish birth. While attending the University of Michigan he played banjo under the name Ahmed Muhiddin in student bands (1924–31) and in an orchestra led by Jean Goldkette (1927). He worked as a newspaper correspondent in Uruguay and at the same time played in and around Montevideo in a trio led by the pianist Luis Rolero, with which he later moved to Buenos Aires; after this group disbanded in 1934 he joined the Dixie Pals, led by the violinist Paul Wyer, with which he recorded several tracks for Victor, including a version of his own composition Africa (1934, 37642). From 1936 to the early 1940s he played with the pianist Rene Cospito and his Orquesta Argentina de Jazz, with the drummer Mario D’Alo’s Rhythm Kings, and in a group modeled after the Quintette du Hot Club de France that included Hernán Oliva (violin), Dave Washington (second guitar), and Louis Vola (double bass). In the late 1930s, by which time he had taken the name Ahmed Ratip, he studied harmony with the bandleader Russ Goudy. Early in ...


Amir Hassanpour and Stephen Blum

(b Sanandaj [Sina], Iran, June 21, 1955). Kurdish singer and composer. He began singing Kurdish songs at the age of 11. His first public performance a few years later established him as a singer, and by the late 1970s he had appeared on local television. He was jailed for performing political and nationalist Kurdish songs just before and after the 1979 Iranian revolution and later joined the Kurdish autonomist movement as a peshmarga (freedom fighter). Living in ‘liberated areas’, he began composing political songs and performing to live audiences and on clandestine radio stations. In 1984 Razzazi, his wife Marziya Fariqi (also a singer) and their children resettled as refugees in Sweden; he continued to perform in the expanding Kurdish diaspora and on the first Kurdish satellite television channel, Med-TV, which was launched in Britain in 1995.

By early 2000 Razzazi had composed about 60 songs, including the first Kurdish birthday song, ...


Elizabeth Forbes

(b Liegnitz, Nov 22, 1921; d Heidelberg, Jan 15, 1989). Israeli bass of German birth. He studied in Berlin and Mannheim, making his début in 1961 at Gelsenkirchen as Iago. Engaged at Stuttgart, he sang regularly at Munich, Hamburg, Frankfurt, Düsseldorf and Berlin, where he created Soroker in Blacher’s 200 000 Taler (1969). Though his vast repertory included Don Alfonso and Hans Sachs, he specialized in 20th-century opera; he sang Dallapiccola’s Ulysses, Morone (Palestrina), Duke Adorno (Schreker’s Die Gezeichneten), Busoni’s Faust, Satan (Penderecki’s Paradise Lost), Reimann’s Lear and Schoenberg’s Moses (he has twice recorded the role of Moses). He created Löwel Perl in Penderecki’s Schwarze Maske at Salzburg (1986). The role that best displayed his outstanding musical and dramatic gifts was Dr Schön in Lulu, which he sang at Covent Garden (1981), at the Teatro Real in Madrid (...


Dave Laing

[Webb, Harry Rodger]

(b Lucknow, India, Oct 14, 1940). British pop singer. He came to prominence as Britain's equivalent to Elvis Presley, recording some creditable rock and roll performances such as Move It and Lionel Bart's Livin' Doll. By the early 1960s he settled into a more comfortable beat ballad style, achieving numerous hits with melodic numbers like Theme for a Dream, Gee Whiz it's You, Bachelor Boy, The Young Ones and Summer Holiday. The last two were theme songs from films aimed at the youth market in which Richard starred. On most of these records he was accompanied by the Shadows. Although he no longer dominated the British popular music scene after the early 1960s, he continued to give concerts and to release new recordings with occasional hits such as Congratulations, We Don't Talk Anymore (composed and produced in 1979 by Alan Tarney) and the Christmas song Mistletoe and Wine...


Kimberly McCord

(b Bucharest, Dec 14, 1946). Romanian singer. She studied violin and voice and attended the conservatory in Bucharest (1965–7); in 1965 she toured the USSR, Poland, and Israel with Janos Kőrössi’s trio. From 1966 to 1969 she performed with the Bucharest Jazz Quintet, and in 1971 she recorded as its leader. Having married the group’s drummer, Ron Rully, she moved with him to Canada. She performed with Duke Ellington at the Newport Jazz Festival in 1972, then worked in Europe with Art Farmer and Slide Hampton; around 1973–4 she made further recordings as a leader. After working in Canada with Gene DiNovi (1974) and touring the USA and Japan with Quincy Jones she performed with the Thad Jones–Mel Lewis Orchestra, and in 1977, in Sweden, she recorded the album Thad and Aura (Four Leaf Clover 5020) with Jones. Nothing is known of her career after the late 1970s. Rully had a pure, full tone, which rose to piercing intensity when she was scat singing....


Jonathan Katz

[Khān, Niyāmat ]

(fl early 18th century). Indian singer . The name Sadāraṅg was a soubriquet; he was properly named Niyāmat or Na'mat Khān and perhaps originally called Khushal Khān, the son of Nirmal Khān. The names are in doubt, but one tradition held that he was descended on his father’s side from the daughter of Tānsen. He trained with a variety of singers and poets at the courts of Bahadur Shah I and his successors, and became the leading and most celebrated musician at the artistically lively Delhi court of the Mughal Emperor Muhammad Shah (ruled 1719–48). He has been traditionally associated with the rise, and even the invention, of the Hindustani vocal genre khayāl; an attractive but spurious story holds that he devised the form as a departure from the dhrupad and then taught his new compositions to two young Qavvāl singers. Contemporary Persian sources however show that Niyāmat Khān was one of a large number of ...


Alma Kunanbayeva

(b Zhideli [now Zhangaly], 1818; d 1889). Kazakh dömbra player, singer and composer of kyui. He belonged to the Bukeev horde. He was interested in music from his early childhood and his first teacher was Ozaq, a dömbra player of the tradition of western Kazakhstan. At the age of 18 Saghyrbayev became a professional musician; he travelled in Kazakhstan and met many celebrated musicians. One of his first kyui, Kishkentai, was written in response to the activities of the people's liberation movement in western Kazakhstan under the leadership of Isatai Taimanov and Makhambet Utemisov (1836–7). Saghyrbayev was imprisoned by the Tsarist government in 1857 because of his rebellious nature. After his escape he was sent to Orenburg prison again, but according to legend he was released after giving a remarkable performance on the dömbra. During this period he composed several kyui including Qayran sheshem (‘Oh, my Poor Mother’) and ...


Richard Wigmore

(b Rochovot, Israel, Jan 14, 1960). South African bass-baritone of Israeli birth. The son of an Israeli father and an English mother, he emigrated to South Africa with his family in 1966. After studying singing at the RNCM in Manchester and at the University of Toronto, Saks made his professional début in 1982, in the title role in The Mikado at Stratford, Ontario. He learnt his operatic craft in Germany, singing with the Gelsenkirchen Opera from 1985 to 1988 and the Bielefeld Opera from 1988 to 1991. From 1992 to 1994 he was principal bass-baritone with Scottish Opera. Although he was admired in roles such as Leporello, this period was marred by clashes with the management over the company’s style of productions. He made his Covent Garden début, as Mr Flint in Billy Budd, in 1995 and the following year sang his first major Wagner role, Daland (...


Michal Ben-Zur


(b Heidelberg, Nov 13, 1897; d Jerusalem, Jan 15, 1974). Israeli composer, conductor, singer and keyboard player of German birth. He studied the organ with Philipp Wofrum and composition with Richard Strauss. From 1920 to 1926 he held the position of conductor at the Hamburg Neues Stadt-Theater, and from 1931 to 1932 was baritone and stage director at the Deutsche Musikbühne. He emigrated to Palestine in 1933, where he was appointed programme director of the newly founded Palestine Broadcasting Service (PBS, later Kol Israel [‘The Voice of Israel’]), a position he held until his retirement in 1962; he founded the PBS Orchestra (later the Kol Israel Orchestra) in 1938.

Many of Salomon’s early works were destroyed. His music from 1933 is tonal with modal inflections, combining European traditions with folk influences to create a light, accessible style. The Sepharadic Suite (1961) incorporates Spanish melodies; popular material is also used in the Second Symphony ‘Leilot be’Cna’an (‘Nights of Canaan’, ...


Abdul-Wahab Madadi and John Baily

[Husein, Ustād Mohammad ]

(b Kabul, 1923; d Kabul, 1982). Afghan singer and composer . His father, Ustād Ghulām Husein, recognized early signs of an extraordinary musical talent and sent his son to Delhi at the age of nine to study with Ustād Asheq Ali Khān, an important exponent of the Patiala gharānā. The boy remained in Delhi for 16 years, studying music in circumstances of considerable poverty. He returned to Kabul in 1949. In the following year King Zāhir Shāh awarded him the title Sarāhang (which roughly translates as ‘top melody’) in recognition of his superiority over all other Afghan singers in the Hindustani styles of ṭhumrī and khayāl. Sarāhang was regularly invited to give concerts of classical music in India. He was also awarded a number of honorary degrees and titles there, such as Kuhi bolandi-e musīqī (‘high mountain of music’), Baba-e musīqī (‘father of music’) and Sar tāj-e musīqī (‘crown of music’). Afghans were inordinately proud of his reputation in India....


John Morgan O’Connell

(b Istanbul, 1899; d Istanbul, April 27, 1981). Turkish vocalist . He reformed Turkish vocal performance by adopting the performance practices, educational principles and aesthetic values of Western art music. Responding to a contemporary concern for revolutionary cultural change in the newly-founded Turkish Republic, established in 1923, he adapted his art to suit the westernizing sensibilities of Republican taste while maintaining a link with tradition by continuing an ancient line of oral transmission (silsile) from the Ottoman past. He was initially trained in the historic manner of vocal instruction (meşk), but subsequently shunned the melismatic character, nasal timbre and chest register of traditional practice. In doing so, he revolutionized Turkish vocal performance by appropriating the technical tools of Western practice and by presenting his new style in a concert setting (after 1930). In this matter he was principally aided by the recording industry, most notably by HMV, whose artistic sponsorship, marketing infrastructure and technical expertise allowed him to disseminate his musical innovations to an expanding bourgeois audience. In his professional career, which extended over 60 years, Selçuk acted as a choral director, a recording artist, a vocal instructor and, most significantly, a concert performer. He is also recognized for his work as a composer, film actor and radio artist....


Laudan Nooshin

(b Mashhad, north-east Iran, Sept 23, 1940). Iranian singer . He was one of a group of musicians important in the renaissance of traditional music and other arts in the period following the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Born into a family with a long musical tradition, Shajariān joined the local radio in Mashhad at the age of 18. In 1966 he moved to the National Iranian Radio Organization in Tehran; at this time he rose to prominence with his distinctive combination of vocal warmth and technical mastery. He studied with several masters including Ahmad Ebādi, Esmail Mehrtash, Farāmarz Pāyvar, Abdollāh Davāmi and Nur Ali Borumand. Shajariān performed regularly on Iranian Radio between 1966 and 1986, and many of the broadcasts were subsequently released as commercial recordings. He also appeared frequently on national television between 1971 and 1976. Since 1977 he performed and recorded with several ensembles, giving concerts in Europe, North America and Asia. His work as a singer reflects his extensive knowledge of classical Iranian poetry....



J. Ryan Bodiford

[Mebarak Ripoll, Shakira Isabel ]

(b Barranquilla, Colombia, Feb 2, 1977). American Singer, songwriter, dancer, and philanthropist. The daughter of a Colombian mother and an American-born father of Lebanese descent, Shakira demonstrated her talents in the performing arts at an early age. After winning local talent competitions and establishing a dance troupe at the modeling school which she attended, Shakira began her professional career at age 13 when she was awarded a three-album record deal with Sony Music. She has since become a globally renowned singer, songwriter, dancer, and philanthropist, whose musical style incorporates rock, pop, Latin rhythms, and Arabic infusions.

Following two commercial flops, Shakira established her popularity throughout Latin America with her 1996 release, Pies descalzos. This album produced a series of pan–Latin American hits and sold more than four million copies. Her fan base was extended further into the non-Spanish speaking world with the Middle Eastern tinged worldwide hit, “Ojos así,” produced by Emilio Estefan and included on the album ...


(b Sheki, 1866; d Baku, April 1, 1929). Azerbaijani khanende (singer and mugam specialist). In his youth he worked as a stonemason. He began to study the art of mugam in Sheki, completing his studies in Baku with Aga Seid oglu Agabalï. Shekili had an outstanding voice of wide compass and a profound knowledge and mastery of mugam. He had a complete written and spoken command of Azerbaijani and Persian and was a fluent speaker of Georgian, Armenian, Turkish, Uzbek and Turkmenian; he also had a thorough knowledge of Persian music and of Persian and Azerbaijani classical literature. He was a popular singer throughout the Transcaucasian region, performing widely in Azerbaijan, Persia, Armenia, Georgia, Daghestan, Turkey and Uzbekistan. He won a gold medal in a competition held in the Persian Shah's palace, and when he won another competition held in Tashkent he was awarded a gaval (one-sided frame drum) which is preserved in the city museum of Sheki. In ...


Alma Kunanbayeva

(b 1820; d 1887). Kazakh dömbra player, composer of kyui and singer. He was descended from khans and sultans of the Junior juz (horde). His father Shigai, a ruler of the Bukeyev horde, died when Shigayev was six years old, and Shigayev was brought up in the family of his cousin M. Bukeikhanov, a hereditary sultan who had had a European education. Shigaev later became the ruler of the Nogai taipa (clan). He travelled extensively, met many famous musicians, attended the coronation of Tsar Aleksandr II in St Petersburg in 1885 and became acquainted with Russian culture.

His creative life may be divided into three stages. During the 1840s and 50s he created melodic kyui such as Kyz Akjelen (‘Akjelen the Maid’), Kos alka (‘Double Necklace’), Jeldirme (‘Gallop of a Speedy Horse’), Kos shek (‘Two Strings’) and Kudasha (‘Sister-in-Law’). During the 1860s and 70s he varied the themes of his ...


Alan Blyth

(b Tokyo, May 28, 1949). Japanese mezzo-soprano . After training in Tokyo and Stuttgart, she took prizes in competitions at Vienna, Zwickau, ’s-Hertogenbosch and Munich between 1973 and 1976. She made her recital début at Tokyo in 1975, her European début at Amsterdam the following year and her US début at Carnegie Hall in 1985. In 1973 Shirai formed a duo with the pianist Hartmut Höll, who became her husband. The pair have toured extensively, performing repertory from Scarlatti to the complete vocal works of Webern, and have given masterclasses in Europe, the USA and Israel. Shirai has made occasional excursions into opera, including an admired Despina at Frankfurt in 1987, and has appeared in concert versions of Lucio Silla, Wagner’s Das Liebesverbot and Dukas’s Ariane et Barbe-bleue. In 1982 she was appointed professor of singing at the Staatliche Hochschule für Musik in Stuttgart. She has shown herself a sensitive interpreter with an expressive voice and an intelligent ear for verbal nuance in a wide variety of lieder recordings, with special emphasis on Schumann and Wolf....


Joseph Jordania

(b Shemokmedi, nr Ozurgeti, 1884; d Ozurgeti, March 23, 1950). Georgian traditional singer (bass) from Guria (western Georgia). He studied folk and church songs with Anton Dumbadze and taught church singing at the Ozurgeti Theological College and in several villages of Guria. His ensemble (trio) together with Samuel Chavleishvili and Avtandil Makharadze was considered to be one of the best in Guria. His first recording was made in Kutaisi in 1908 when he recorded 15 songs. Between 1910 and the 1930s he led several choirs with appearances throughout Georgia as well as in Moscow and Leningrad (St Petersburg) in 1934 and 1936, and including the studio recording of 20 songs. His versions of many Gurian traditional songs such as Adila-Alipasha (a song about Alipasha), the table song Chven mshvidoba (‘Peace to us’) and Naduri (a harvest song), remain very popular in Georgia. His singing style was based on a deep knowledge of the harmonic and melodic variability of traditional songs and of virtuoso singing technique: his style has influenced many subsequent Gurian singers....


Robert C. Provine

[Kim So-hee]

(b Koch'ang, North Chŏlla Province, Korea, 1917; d Seoul, 1995). Korean performer of the dramatic narrative vocal genre p'ansori. She was probably the best known Korean female singer of the 20th century. Like many other traditional singers, Kim came from South-west Korea. Starting at the age of 12, she studied with a number of noted teachers, in particular Song Man'gap, Chŏng Chŏngnyŏl, Pak Tongsil and Chŏng Ŭngmin. She won the Namwŏn P'ansori Singers' Competition at the age of 13 and was making recordings by the age of 19. She was especially noted for her performance of The Story of Sim Ch'ŏng, one of five extended stories in the modern repertory, in which a dutiful daughter sacrifices her life in order to restore her father's eyesight.

The training of a p'ansori singer is arduous and in most cases produces a strong but raspy voice; Kim was able to retain a powerful and rich basic voice without losing the variety of sound required for this dramatic form. She was also a talented performer on the ...