Directing praise towards the legendary tunesmith of Pakistan, Samuel Gill

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Samuel Gill

Samuel Gill was born on July 20, 1950 in Rawalpindi. Since his childhood he harboured a craze for music which became evident when at the age of 10 he started singing Islamic hymns on Muslim festival along with his Muslim peers. An exceptional mastery in playing harmonium at an unripe age stunned all.

Since his father had an inclination towards poetry and music which became the inspiration of Samuel. At the age of 15, he joined church choir and developed an in-thing regarding composition of Christian hymns and psalms. According to Samuel, his inborn flair concerning composing hymns was “God gifted.” In order to enliven this ability he had to have a fine music teacher.

His infatuation for music composition prevailed and he properly started learning music from Ustad Abdul Qadir, who was a renowned musician of sub-continent. At the same time, he was accepted in discipleship by Mehfuz Khokhar who also was a distinguished classical singer.

In due course of time, he continued to acquire knowledge of music and in 1971 he convincingly passed an audition for radio/TV singing. And so a promising career kicked off. As follows, he fastidiously composed Christian hymns for all the programmes scheduled to be aired on radio and TV.

By far, his grasp over the art had become so exceptional that in 1972, he composed a hymn within an hour. This number was written by Dr. Dennis Isaac a celebrated poet and writer of Pakistan. This remarkable composition by this maestro was titled “Aa suye kalvery chalien,” which, even after 42 years have gone past, is still frequently sung during church services at the occasion of Easter. This hymn was sung by a celebrated singer of East Pakistan Mujeeb Alam.

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Later on, in 1976-77, he joined Cassette Ministry (PCRM) as a composer which in itself was a huge honour at that time. He had the opportunity to work along side Hezkiel Sarosh and S. Seti. At the same time, he released a cassette and CD comprising Psalms and hymns while working for Waves Studio in Lahore.

On the commercial side, it was in 1980 that he composed his first number for A-1 music badge from Bari Studio, Lahore. His composition was sung by Mehnaz another famous female playback singer of Pakistani industry.

This song titled “Suna do mujh ko who prem kahani” won him wide spread recognition in the music industry. Another composition which gained honour and adoration for Samuel as a composer was that of Psalm 18 titled “Apay upperon haath wadha ke.” This composition is still sung commonly during worship in churches across Pakistan. In a similar fashion, he composed a prayer which was sung by Ijaz Qaiser which was broadly acknowledged.

As expertise of this virtuoso started earning him recognition in the mainstream music industry he was called to compose songs for various eminent singers including Mehnaz, Naheed Akhtar, Mehdi Hassan, Ghulam Ali, Ghulam Abbas, A. Nayyer, Rajab Ali, Anwar Rafi, Iqbal Bahu, Mujeeb Alam, Taranum Naaz, Humaira Channa, Humaira Arshad, Shabnum Majeed, Shamsa Kanwal, Yoususf Sammar, Sajjad Patras, Nisar Daniyal, Pervaiz Kaifi, Perveen Chauhan, Ester Louis, Rehmat Jan, Noumi Joseph, Rafia Bano, Anoosa Ruskin, Hina Robinson, Tina Nadir, Arif Bhatti, Elvin, Sana Pervaiz and Glaraiz Tari.

Samuel Gill

During all these years his dexterity was broadly appreciated and in 2002, Government of Pakistan bestowed on him the National Cultural Award. In 2010, the Punjab government awarded him with the Lifetime Achievement Award. And in 2012, churches of Rawalpindi awarded him an award for fifty years of service to the Christian worship music industry in Pakistan.

Samuel Gill

Some of his widely sung hymns and Psalms include “Naam Jappan main tera” sung by Pervaiz Kaifi and later by Ghulam Abbas, “Meri jan hai krti barayi Khuda ki” sung by Mehnaz, “Nishan naqsh-e-qadam ka pa liya” and Pslam “Tun aye dhal”sung by Naheed Akhtar, “Aab-e-hayat sub ko pilata hai al Masih” sung by Ghulam Ali, “Dua per meri kaan dhar aye Khuda” sung by Mehdi Hassan and a duet “Dil ki awaaz suno ab na inkar karo” sung by Naheed Akhtar and Mehdi Hassan. He also composed various bhajans for Hindu community at the same time.

His composed Christian hymns were written by prominent Pakistani Christian poets including M.A. Daskavi, Haroon Asir, Feroze Seher, Samuel Layel, R.M. Parker, William Gill, Joseph Javed, Pervaiz Sohail and various others.

During these 50 years, Samuel composed about 2,000 numbers including both Christian hymns and commercial music for the Pakistani industry. His illustrious career ended with his sad demise.It was on June 30, 2015; that Samuel passed away with no apparent cause of death while he was recording at a studio. His death marks the end of an exceptional era of music compositions of his tunesmith.