Brief introduction to Ustaad Shaukat Hussain Khan Niyazi
Born on the 15th August, 1961 at Atrauli a small village near Agra, Ustaad Shaukat Hussain Khan Niyazi is one of the very few surviving vocalists of the Agra-Atrauli Gharana of Hindustani Classical Music. This is the Gharana that once enjoyed the pride of place with legends such as Ustaad Faiyaaz Khan and Ustaad Sharafat Hussain Khan, mesmerising the audience. Unfortunately, today the Gharana faces a crisis with very few performers left to continue this rich lineage. And that is why Ustaad Shaukat Hussain, the leading light of the Agra-Atrauli Gharana has made it his mission to resurrect this Gharana and has dedicated the last 25 years to this effort.
Son of the legendary Ustaad Sharafat Hussain Khan and grandson of the great Ustaad Vilayat Hussain, Ustaad Shaukat Hussain has been making valuable contributions as a performer and a guru, spreading knowledge and wealth of learning to a new generation of performers.
His performances inIndiaand abroad have gladdened the heart of purists with the robust singing in the Agra-Atrauli style. He is well versed in Dhrupad, Thumri, Tappa apart from of course the Khayal style of classical vocal rendition. Ustaad Sharafat Hussain has a large repertoire of achoh raags like Zilaf, Bhankar, Dhanashri, Barva, Pat-manjari, Bihari kalyan, Maluha kalyan, Maluha kedar, chaita gauri, Saag and Saag ke Prakaar and Barwa. Recently, he was specially invited to perform a three hour concert of rare raags. This entire concert was sponsored by the Tata Trust to preserve these raags for posterity. His style of rendition with Bol taans, Bol bat (of Ustad Ata Hussain khan fame), Ladath and Layakari transports one back to heydays of theAgravocalists when they enthralled audiences with the robust singing.
Born into a family where he was always surrounded by music, young Shaukat showed promise at the age of 5 when he began singing different bandishes after listening to his father Ustaad Sharafat Hussain Khan’s riyaaz. He also started playing the tabla. Through the growing years, his initiation continued under his father and he also began to accompanying him at different concerts. Unfortunately, his training was cut short abruptly when Ustaad Sharafat Hussain Khan succumbed to cancer in 1985. Ustaad Shaukat then moved to Sonarpur near Kolkata to seek guidance from Smt. Purnima Sen who had trained extensively under his father. He was also mentored by his uncle Ustaad Yunus Hussain Khan and later by Ustaad Mubarak Ali Khan. In 1988, his dedication and hard work began to pay off when he recorded at AIR at the first take!
After seven years of extensive riyaaz, Ustaad Shaukat Hussain Khan began to accept invitations for solo concerts. In 1993, at the age of 32 he was selected as a top grade artiste by the AIR.
Keen to make his mark not just as an artiste but also as a mentor, Ustaad Shaukat Hussain Khan accepted the offer to teach at the Saptak School of Music.
Settled in Ahmedabad, Gujarat over the last 20 years, Ustaad Sharafat Hussain is a faculty at the famous Saptak School of Music. The students trained under him are today performing in the Agra-Atrauli style at various concerts, thus keeping alive a hundred year old Gharana.