Mohammed Rafi’s English, Dutch, Persian & Creole Songs
Mohammed Rafi is one of the most popular singers of India. He has sung around 7,405 in different languages. Rafi was notable for his voice and versatility; his songs ranged from classical numbers to patriotic songs, sad lamentations to highly romantic numbers, qawwalis to ghazals and bhajans. He was known for his ability to mold his voice to the persona of the actor, lip-synching the song on screen in the movie. Between 1950 and 1970, Rafi was the most sought-after singer in the Hindi film industry.
Rafi was born on December 24, 1924, in Kotla, a village near Amritsar.
Rafi, whose nickname was Pheeko, began singing by imitating the chants of a fakir in the streets of his native village Kotla Sultan Singh where his family lived. Rafi’s father moved to Lahore in 1935, where he ran a men’s salon in Noor Mohalla in Bhati Gate. Rafi learned classical music from Ustad Abdul Wahid Khan, Pandit Jiwan Lal Mattoo and Firoze Nizami. His first public performance came at the age of 13 when he sang in Lahore featuring K. L. Saigal. In 1941, Rafi, under Shyam Sundar, made his debut in Lahore as a playback singer in the duet “Soniye Nee, Heeriye Nee” with Zeenat Begum in the Punjabi film Gul Baloch (released in 1944) under music director Shyam Sunder. In that same year, Rafi was invited by All India RadioLahore station to sing for them.
He made his Hindi film debut in Gaon Ki Gori in 1945.
Rafi Sahab was performing live in London around 1965. Englishmen listened to his two Songs, Baharo Phool Barsao & Hum Kale Hain To Kya Hua. Britishers were captivated and thrilled so much and asked Rafi Sahab to Sing Some English Songs on the very same two tunes. It was an uphill task for the legend. Harendernath Chatopadhyay was entrusted with the work of writing the songs in English. Rafi Sahab wrote the English version in Urdu and then recorded these two songs and the rest is history. (Courtesy- Maan Sudhir)
Rafi singing in Creole
This video clip shows Rafi performing at a concert in Dutch. He sings Ik zal jou nooit vergeten al zal ik in India zijn (I will never forget you, although I will be in India).
For Persian song Aye Taaza Gul, Rafi collaborated with Afghani singer Zheela.