Biography of Ustad Mohammad Hussain Sarahang


by S. Ghilzai / Published on November 11, 2014

Ustad Mohammad Hussain Sarahang was an Afghan musician trained in the Hindustani classical vocalist genre.

Ustad Mohammad Hussain Sarahang was born in 1924 in the Kharabat area of Kabul, an area known for breeding some of the country’s greatest musicians. His father Ustad Ghulam Hussain, was a musician, and taught his son the basics of music. Ustad Sarahang excelled in these lessons so much that his father sent him to India, to learn under Ustad Ashiq Ali Khan. After 16 years, Ustad Sarahang returned to Kabul at the age of 25. Ustad Sarahang typically preformed khayals, thumris, taranas and ghazals, which are all classical and semi-classical genres of music. He usually sang the ghazals of Amir Khusraw and Abul Ma’ani Bedil, famous Indian poets who wrote in Persian. Ustad Sarahang recorded over 500 raga performances and ghazals throughout his time in India, and at Radio Kabul. He composed many of his own ragas as well. He published two books, one titled Qanun-e Tarab(The Law of Music), explaining the rules of eastern music, and Mussiqi-e Rag-ha (Music of Ragas). He also wrote for the Pashtun Ghag newspaper in Kabul.

Throughout his career, Ustad Sarahang gained many fans throughout Afghanistan, India, and Central Asia. His amazing voice, coupled with his extremely technical understanding of classical music earned him many awards, including the title Sarahang from the government of Afghanistan, Degree of Master, Doctor and Professor of Music from Kalakendra School of Music in Calcutta, and Baba-e Musiqee (The Father of Music) at his last concert in New Delhi, just to name a few. Ustad Sarahang was a huge influence on classical music in Afghanistan, and was treasured greatly. He died in 1983.