It was a crucial moment of her life when her friend's father came forward as a votary. He told her father, "My daughters do sing reasonably well, but Iqbal is blessed in singing. She will become a big name if you begin her training."[cite this quote] Because of Bano's love of music and persuasion from others, 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. He forwarded her to All India Radio, Delhi, where she sang on the radio. In 1952, a zamindaar from Pakistan married seventeen-year-old Iqbal Bano with a promise that he would never stop her music, but try to promote her. Her fulfilled his promise until his death in 1980. After her husband passed away, Bano moved to Garden Town, Lahore.
It was observed that her temperament was particularly suited to vocal genres like thumri, dadra and ghazal. Now and then, Radio Pakistan would invite Bano for performances, she being an accomplished artist. Her debut public concert was in 1957, at Lahore Arts Council, before an elite crowd. Music lovers feted her beyond imagination. With each recital, she generated more and more public appeal.
She was considered a specialist in singing the works of Faiz Ahmed Faiz. She has given such musical relevance to the ghazals of Faiz, that Bano and Faiz are apparently inseparable in popular imagination. Because of Faiz's imprisonment and hatred of the Pakistani Government towards him, Bano roused a strong crowd of 50,000 people in Lahore by singing his passionate Urdu nazm, "Hum Dekhenge." Iqbal Bano can sing Persian ghazals with the same fluency as Urdu. She is always applauded in Iran and Afghanistan for her Persian ghazals.
The Iranians and Afghans thronged to her shows in large numbers to hear her ghazals in their mother tongue. Once she said in an interview, that she had a collection of 72 beautiful Persian ghazals. Before 1979, there was a festival of culture called Jashn-e-Kabul every year in Afghanistan. Iqbal Bano regularly received a warm invitation to this annual event.
She was known for singing a new Persian ghazal each time she appeared. The King of Afghanistan liked her recital very much. Once, on such an occasion, the king was so pleased with her ghazals that he presented her with a golden vase in appreciation of her music. Music lovers have noted some similarities between Bano and Begum Akhtar, especially some marked resemblances in their styles of singing. Iqbal Bano does not consider the contemporary ghazals as ghazals at all.
Her recitals stick to the old classical style that lays more stress on the raag purity. Basically a ghazal singer, Iqbal Bano has also sung many memorable Pakistani film songs. She has provided soundtrack songs for famous Urdu films like Gumnaam (1954), Qatil (1955), Inteqaam (1955), Sarfarosh (1956), Ishq-e-Laila (1957), and Nagin (1959). She won the Tamgha-e-Imtiaz (Pride of Performance) medal in 1974 for her contributions to the world of Pakistani music. Read more on Last.fm.
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