Luciano Pavarotti was an operatic tenor who went on to become one of the most loved and acclaimed tenors of all time. Nicknamed the King of the High Cs, Pavarotti is regarded as one of the best tenors of the 20th century. Also a well-known humanitarian, Luciano Pavarotti hosted annual charity concerts to raise money for various UN causes.
M.S. Subbulakshmi was an Indian singer. Dubbed the Queen of Music, Subbulakshmi was the leading exponent of Carnatic music. In 1966, she became the first Indian to perform in UN General Assembly. In 1974, she became the first Indian musician to be awarded the Ramon Magsaysay Award. In 1998, Subbulakshmi became the first musician to be awarded the Bharat Ratna.
Noor Jehan was a Pakistani actress and playback singer. In a career spanning over 60 years, she is estimated to have sung around 20,000 songs. One of the most important Pakistani singers of all time, Noor Jehan is also widely regarded as one of the most influential and greatest South Asian singers of all time.
Adnan Sami is an Indian musician, singer, pianist, and music composer. Best known for his skills as a piano player, Sami was named the world's fastest keyboard player by Keyboard magazine. He is also widely regarded as the first person to have played Indian classical music on the piano. In 2020, he was awarded India's fourth-highest civilian award, Padma Shri.
Bhimsen Joshi was an Indian vocalist best known for recording devotional songs. Widely regarded as one of the greatest vocalists of all time, Bhimsen Joshi was the first Indian musician whose concerts were promoted through posters in New York City, New York. Over the course of his career, Joshi received prestigious honors, such as the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian award.
Sadhana Sargam is an Indian playback singer best known for recording nearly 15,000 songs in 34 Indian languages. In 2002, Sadhana Sargam became the first non-South Indian singer to receive the National Award for a song composed by a South Indian. She has also won other prestigious awards like Maharashtra State Film Awards, Lata Mangeshkar Award, and Gujarath State Film Award.
Known to fans as the Pasha of Music, Turkish singer, songwriter, and composer Zeki Müren was a legendary figure of Turkish classical music. He also acted in several films, such as the blockbuster Beklenen Şarkı. His track Manolyam was the first song to win Turkey’s prestigious Golden Record Award.
Kumar Gandharva was an Indian singer best remembered for his unique vocal style. In spite of fighting a personal battle in the late 40s, Gandharva went on to become one of the finest classical singers of his generation. In 1990, Kumar Gandharva was honored with India's second-highest civilian award, the Padma Vibhushan.
Dorival Caymmi was a Brazilian singer-songwriter. He played a major role in the birth of Brazil's bossa nova movement. He gained much fame for his ballads celebrating the fishermen and women of Bahia. In an extensive career spanning more than 70 years, he composed around 100 songs and influenced Brazil's image in the eyes of both Brazilians and foreigners.
Gangubai Hangal was an Indian singer best remembered for her powerful and deep voice. Since Hangal's mother's family was regarded as people belonging to low social status, Gangubai Hangal had to fight against this prejudice to become one of the most revered female Hindustani classical singers of her generation. In 1996, she was honored with the Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowship.
Turkish Alevi ashik, or bard, Âşık Veysel is one of the greatest figures of Turkish folk literature. Blinded as a child because of smallpox, he learned music by playing a saz his father gave him. He later traveled on foot and taught music in various villages.
Shobha Gurtu was an Indian singer best known for her fame achieved by sticking to light Hindustani classical style, although she had indistinguishable control over pure classical style. Dubbed the Thumri Queen, Shobha Gurtu went on to win prestigious awards like Sangeet Natak Akademi Award, Padma Bhushan, and Lata Mangeshkar Puraskar.
Afghan Pashtun musician, singer, and composer Awalmir specialized in ghazals and performed for the first time at age 18. He later sang on Afghan radio and was also bestowed with the honorific title of Ustad. His best-known songs include Da Zamong Zeba Watan, or Our Beautiful Homeland.
Aminuddin Dagar was an Indian singer best remembered as the brother of Senior Dagar Brothers with whom he would often engage in noteworthy jugalbandis, a performance that features a duet of two instrumentalists or vocalists. Over the course of his career, Aminuddin Dagar received many prestigious awards, such as Sangeet Natak Akademi Award and Padma Bhushan.