Malayalam Ghazal Singer Umbayee, The Companion of Ghazal

Umbayee, Malayalam Ghazal singer is known for his soulful Ghazal renditions of old Malayalam songs and his own  beautiful Ghazals. His original name is PA Ibrahim and he was born in Mattanchery near Kochi. Within a short period, he became one of the favorites of Malayali audience.

He owns more than ten Ghazal albums in his name. He worked together with prominent music directors and lyricists in Kerala like ONV Kurup , Yousuf Ali kecheri, Venu V Desam and Satchidanandan. His albums gave a new face to Malayalam Ghazal branch. His famous albums includes Akale mounam pol, paaduka saigal padoo, Ghazal maala, Pranaamam, Ithuvare sakhee ninne kaathirunnu, Madhurami Gaanam, Nandi pranaya sakhi nandi, Orikkal nee paranju, Oru mukham maathram, Mehboob, Bheer Vahee Shaam etc.

He has sung Ghazals for John Abraham’s Amma Ariyan movie. John Abraham, firstly used his name Umbayee in titles of his film. Also Umbayee acted in that movie. Umbayee together with M Jayachandran composed songs for movie Novel. Urangaan urangaan nee…’ was a popular song from Novel. Umbayee played a vital role in popularizing Ghazal. This talented singer released his first album named Aadhab in 1988 by combining Urdu Ghazals by Hasrath Puri. Malayalam movie titled His Highness Abdulla movie was partly based of biography oh Ibrahim.


He says “Mattancherry was a melting pot of music. There was music all around. You only had to find it.” Enigmatic singer Mehoob was his inspiration. Umbayee used to do all type of works in Abdul Khader Vakil’s house, where he can listen to the discussions and music of famous of the Hindustani musicians. He considered that as the beginning. Umbayee played tabla. He got chance to listen to Pandit Ravi Shankar and Ustad Allah Rakha ‘live.’ “That’s when I realised to stop playing the tabla and there was so much to learn.”, he said.

He struggled so much during his childhood. His biography honestly reveals his life. His biography is titled Ragam Bhairavi. His father was against his interest for music. He was not good in studying and hence he was packed to Mumbai, where his uncle stays. Life at Mumbai was a turning point in his life. He met Ustad Munawar Ali Khan and he learned music for about seven years.

He used to do small scale smuggling of watches, perfumes and such stuffs. His life story is portrayed as such in his biography. Ibrahim with the help of his friend Hameed P.E, crafted the truthful life story of Umbayee. “When I read my story frankly I cried”, this indicates that his biography is crystal clear view of his life. Umbayee and his Ghazals remains forever.

Leave a Reply