Abida Parveen (Sindhi: عابده پروين), is a Pakistani singer of Sindhi descent and one of the foremost exponents of Sufi music (Sufiana kalaam). She is held as one of the greatest world’s singers. She sings mainly ghazals and her forte, Kafis, a solo genre accompanied by percussion and harmonium, using a repertoire of songs by Sufi poets. Parveen sings in Urdu, Sindhi, Saraiki, Punjabi and Persian. She is arguably considered one of the finest Sufi vocalists of the modern era with a career spanning over four decades. Parveen is best known for her songs Yaar ko Humne from the album Raqs-e-Bismil and Tere Ishq Nachaya which is a rendition of Bulleh Shah’s poetry. She was a judge on the musical show Sur Kshetra. Currently she appeared on Hum TV for a Sufi concert named Sama-e-Ishq.
Parveen was born in mohalla Ali Goharabad in Larkana, Sindh, Pakistan. She received her musical training initially from her father, Ustad Ghulam Haider, whom she refers as Baba Sain and Gawwaya. He had his own musical school where Parveen got her devotional inspiration from. She and her father would often perform at shrines of Sufi Saints. Parveen’s talent compelled her father to choose her as her musical heir over her two sons. Growing up, she attended her father’s music school, where her foundation in music was laid. Later Ustad Salamat Ali Khan of the Sham Chorasia gharana also taught and nurtured her. Parveen remembers that she was never forced towards this occupation and she sang her first complete kalam when she was 3 years old.
Parveen at her concert in Oslo, 2007
- In early 1970s Parveen had already begun performing at Dargahs and Urs.
- Parveen embarked upon her professional career from Radio Pakistan, Hyderabad, in 1973.
- Her first hit was the Sindhi song Tuhinje zulfan jay band kamand widha.
- In 1977 she was introduced as an official singer of Radio Pakistan. From then Parveen has risen to exceptional prominence and is considered one of the finest vocals.
- She brought Sufi Music to a new level and gave it a new identity marking the beginning of this journey at Sultana Siddiqui’s AwazoAndaz in 1980.
- Her first US tour was in 1993 and she has since traveled across the world to perform at sold-out venues. Parveen tours frequently and is highly famous in the West. Parveen cites her reason for travelling is spreading Sufism, Peace and the Divine Message.
- Her fame traveled through Pakistan and across the seas, and she toured USA, UK, and France between 1985 and 1988.
- Her 1988 performance in Chicago was recorded by the Hazrat Amir Khusrau Society of Art and Culture, which issued a long-play record of her renderings.
- Her 1989 performance in London’s Wembly Conference Hall was recorded by the British Broadcasting Corporation and aired for an hour.
- In the 1990s Parveen licensed her spiritual ghazals to Bollywood, since her “spiritual brother”, Khan, recorded songs for Bollywood films. Recently Abida also performed at the Sindh Festival in Thatta.
- She has represented Pakistan before masses and has performed for huge audiences worldwide.
- In 2007 Parveen collaborated with Shehzad Roy for a song, Zindagi, dedicated to social problems regarding children.
- Parveen performs yearly at Muzzaffar Ali’s Jahan-e-Khusrau and is reputed as the grand performer of the event.
- in 2010 she judged the Indo-Pak venture Sur Kshetra.
- Abida tours frequently. She remembers that people line up extremely early for her concert and there arealredy thousands of people present when there is plenty time for the show to start. Her famous trips include Oslo, Mauritius and Singapore. Her most recent trip is the Temporum concert in Amsterdam on 6 June 2014.
Abida performed on the internationally acclaimed Pakistani show Coke Studio Season 3, on which she sang three songs: Ramooz-e-Ishq, Nigah-e-Darwaishaan, and Soz-e-Ishq. Parveen said she admired it a lot as it offered a Dargahi Environment.
“This project which Rohail Hyatt has started is indeed great and I would like to be a part of it for a long time. The music that comes out of this project reaches both the heart and soul and it always compliments the lyrics without overriding the true message of the kalams. This platform builds on those messages of our Sufi elders.”Parveen in an interview.
In 1975 Abida married Ghulam Hussain Sheikh, senior producer at Radio Pakistan, who retired from her job in 1980s to manage and mentor Parveen’s career. After he died of a heart attack on an international flight in the early 2000s, her daughter Maryam took up the role. There is a sense that Parveen’s career has taken a more commercial route as a result. The couple has two daughters Pereha Ikram, an MBA and Marium Hussain who act as her advisors and a son, Saranj. Her family understands her need for riyaz and space.
Parveen also owns a business A.P. Gallery which features jewellery, arts her music and garments and is run by her daughters. Its first anniversary was marked by the launch of Parveen’s latest album Ru-e-Ali.
Parveen has a distinct clothing style which she has created out of ease and comfort. She wears long simple frocks buttoned up to the top covered with a coat. She is always accompanied by an ajrak, a sindhi duppatta,which she claims come from the dargah of Shah Bhitthai and her wardrobe are full of it. Parveen always lets her curly hair untied.
- Parveen is a huge fan of paintings.
- Parveen has taken Bayyat and became a disciple of Najeeb Sultan.
- Parveen has become a heart patient after receiving heart attack during a performance in Lahore on November 28, 2010. Angiography and Angioplasty was performed on her.Subsequently she regained health soon after.
- President of Pakistan’s Award for Pride of Performance (1984)
- Gold Lal Shahbaz Qalandar Medal (1984)
- Shah Bhitthai Award (twice)
- Sindh Graduate Association Award
- Pakistan Television Award
- Sachal Sarmast Honor
- Sitara-e-Imtiaz (2005) by Pervez Musharaff
- Hilal-e-Imtiaz (2012) by Asif Ali Zardari
- Lifetime Achievement Award at the Kaladharmi Begum Akhtar Academy of Ghazal in India (2012).
- Honored at 16th PTV Award
- Nominated for Best Original Sound Track (OST) for Yaar Ko Hamne Jabaja Dekha at 12th Lux Style Awards.
- 1st ARY Film Awards for Best Playback Singer for Ishq Khuda (2014).
- Gold Crown on glorious 40 years in the Music Industry by the Sindhi Singers Association in Larkana. (2014)
- Tributed at the 17th PTV Awards in categaory of Legends.
- Atif Aslam paid tribute to Parveen. He also declared himself her biggest fan.
- Sanam Marvi has paid tribute to her.
- Rabbi Shergill named her as his inspirational music icon.
- She has been dubbed as the Uncrowned Empress of Sufi Music and Undisputed Sufi Queen.
Although Parveen is an highly acclaimed singer, she has never rendered her voice to films. Her pre-recorded songs have been used, however. Now she has agreed to lend her voice to films on insistence of her fans and Farooq Mengal. Parveen appears less in interviews and morning shows due to her shy personality. Parveen confesses that she keeps getting offers from Bollywood namely Subash Ghai and Yash Chopra but she keeps declining them as she has immersed herself in Sufism and it is time consuming to spread the Divine Message. She even got offers from ShahRukh Khan for Ra.One and A.R.Rehman has offered her songs too.
Parveen with yhe Pushto singer Fazal Malik Akif in Manchester, 1994.
|1980||Awaz-o-Andaz||Perfomer||aired on PTV|
|2009||Nara-e-Mastana||Perfomer||Concert sponsored and aired by Hum|
|2010||Chotte Ustad||Guest Judge with Ghulam Ali||Eid Celebration|
|2012||Sur Kshetra||Judge||Representing Pakistan|
|2012||Shehr-e-Zaat||OST Singer for Yaar ko Humne||Pre-recorded from album Raqs-e-Bismil|
|2012||Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa||Special appearance with Runa Laila||To promote Sur Kshetra|
|2012||1st Hum Awards||Perfomer||Sang Naraye Mastana|
|2014||Pakistan Idol||Guest Judge||Grand Finale|
|2014||Zee Channel||Singer||Upcoming New Channel|
|2014||Sama-e-Ishq||Perfomer||Concert aired on Hum Tv|
Parveen in Oslo in 2007.
|2008||Zill-e-Shah||Sajjan de Haath||Pre-recorded|
|2013||Ishq Khuda||Title Track||Pre-recorded
Winner-1st ARY Film Awards for Best Playback Singer
|2014||Hijrat||Announced||Farooq Mengal debutante directorial|
|2015||Raabta||Announced||Farooq Mengal Film|