Kochi, Kerala, India
1 August 2018 (aged 68)
Umbayee (ഉമ്പായി) (Mattancherry, Kerala, India, 1952 - 2018) was an Indian Ghazal singer and composer.
Umbayee was born in 1952 in Mattanchery near Kochi. His real name was Ibrahim. As a child Umbayee did not have a supportive environment towards music. His father was vehemently opposed to his son being inclined to music. Ultimately Umbayee failed in his exams thereby ending the school life of Ibrahim. Seeing his son distracted by music, father packed Ibrahim off to Bombay (now Mumbai) where his (Umbayee's) uncle was a seaman and made him a trainee electrician. Being sent to Bombay was a decision which changed his life. He met Ustad Munawar Ali Khan who accepted Ibrahim as his disciple. Ibrahim studied music from Ustad for about 7 years without any interruption.
Ibrahim financed his trips in between to Mattancherry through 'small scale smuggling'. His goods were watches, perfumes and such stuff in return for US dollars.
Once after his return to Mumbai, he found out that Ustad left the city.
Umbayee used to sing in a hotel for years during his initial periods of life. A waiter in the hotel influenced Umbayee to meet Venu V. Desom. It was after this meeting Umbayee's first album 'Pranamam' came out. Also he worked as a laundry Manager. Umbayee used to play Tabla for Mehboob.
Umbayee: "Mattancherry was a melting pot of music. There was music all around. You only had to find it."
Similar to the youth at the times, Ibrahim's inspiration had been Mehboob, who was a natural and enigmatic singer. During those times most of the legendary Hindustani musicians visited Mattancherry. Ibrahim used to be doing odd jobs in Abdul Khader Vakil’s house where those musicians stayed. He listened to their discussions and music. According to Umbayee "That was the beginning".
Once he got a chance to listen to Pandit Ravi Shankar and Ustad Alla Rakha ‘live’ at Mattancherry. After which Ibrahim understood what he was capable of other than playing Tabla. He realised "There was so much to learn.What I was doing was childish".
On 1 August 2018, aged 70, he died at a hospital in Aluva.
Akale Mounam Pol
Ithuvare Sakhee Ninne Kaathirunnu
Nandi Pranaya Sakhi Nandi
Orikkal Nee Paranju
Oru Mukham Maathram
Paaduka Saigal Paadoo
Bheer Vahee Shaam
Pranaamam Mehboob Ororma
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