Singer Nayyara Noor, ‘Nightingale of Pakistan’, dies at age 71

Noor became one of Pakistan’s most iconic singers, known for her renditions of work by the revolutionary poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz.

Nayyara Noor
Despite not having formal training, Nayyara Noor became one of Pakistan's most iconic singers [Screengrab/YouTube]

One of Pakistan’s greatest singers, Nayyara Noor, has died after a brief illness in Karachi. She was 71.

The renowned singer’s family confirmed her death early Sunday.

Often known as “Bulbul-e-Pakistan” (Nightingale of Pakistan), Nayyara Noor was born in November 1950 in Guwahati, Assam in India, where she spent her early childhood before her family relocated to Karachi, the capital of newly created Pakistan, a few years later.

She went to the prestigious National College of Arts in Lahore, where her singing talent was first discovered, and by the late ’60s she had made her debut on state television.

In a versatile career full of iconic songs, she will forever be remembered for her renditions of work by Pakistan’s famous revolutionary poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz – music released in a 1976 compilation called Nayyara Sings Faiz.

She also sang some of Pakistan’s most memorably patriotic songs, including Sohni Dharti, as well as countless ones for Pakistani films.

In a career spanning four decades, Noor won plenty of accolades – including the Nigar Award in 1973 for best playback singer for the film Gharana.

She was also given the Pride of Performance award by the government in 2006 for her contributions to the arts.

Noor, who was not a trained singer, said in an interview that it was not her plan to become a singer professionally, and it was merely a stroke of luck that she performed in her college, where a professor encouraged her to pursue a career.

She eventually retired from singing in 2012 and spent the rest of her life as a homemaker. She was married to actor Shehryar Zaidi and was the mother of Naad-e-Ali Zaidi and Jaffer Zaidi, both talented musicians and singers in their own right.

The announcement of her death resulted in an outpouring of grief among her fans, who shared their memories and clips of her iconic songs.

In a statement, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif expressed his grief and said Noor’s death would cause “irreparable damage” to the music world.

“Be it a ghazal or a song, whatever Nayyara Noor sang she sang it with perfection. The void created by Nayyara Noor’s death will never be filled,” Sharif tweeted.

Source: Al Jazeera