Prominent ghazal singer PA Ibrahim, popularly known as Umbayee, passed away at a private palliative care facility in Aluva, near Kochi on Wednesday. He was 68.
According to hospital sources, the veteran singer had been brought to the hospital with breathlessness two days ago and was under treatment for lung related diseases. He was in the final stage of lung cancer and passed away on Wednesday evening. He is survived by his wife and three children.
Umbayee was known for his unique singing style, never trying to imitate or mimic any other famous singer. Umbayee is also credited with taking the ghazal to the masses in Kerala.
Umbayee was a disciple of Ustad Munawar Ali Khan. The name Umbayee was given to him by famous film director John Abraham.
Umbayee was born in Mattancherry near Kochi in 1952. Due to financial constraints he could not pursue music as a career during younger days. He was forced to do other jobs for survival. However, later he came back to his passion and chose it as his profession in the rest of his life. Singer Mehboob had been his inspiration. The legendary Hindustani singers who visited Mattancherry also influenced his music.
He has brought out many ghazal albums. Paduka Saigal Padoo, Akale Mounam Pol, Veendum Padoo Sakhi, Orikkal Nee Paranju, Sunayane Sumukhi, Njanariyathen Karal, Ethapoorva Nimishathil etc. are some of Umbayee's unforgettable Malayalam ghazals.
Umbayee is known for the creation of soulful ghazals in Malayalam and it turned out to be a new genre of music. Some of his beautiful ghazals in Malayalam came out of the lyrics penned by great poets such as ONV Kurup, Yusufali Kechery, K. Satchidanandan and others. Singer Umbayee was also behind the reinvention of several old Malayalam film songs in his own natural style.
Some believe that the famous Malayalam movie 'His Highness Abdullah’ by writer Lohitadas and director Sibi Malayil in which actor Mohanlal played the protagonist, bears similarity to Umabayee's life.