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Rambling on: Let the music play - part 2

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Let the music play - part 2

This series of blogs is turning out to be more rewarding for me than the ones it is intended for– example someone mentioned Rubina Badr in my comments section (thanks ZH) & boy that sure takes me back to the 70’s – reminds me of sitting on green grass during summer break eating gandayries and flying (and looting kites)

Going back to my music treasure trove, I have always loved the two tape set of ghazals called ‘best of faiz’. another is “Nayyara sings Faiz” which is an absolute gem. Ustad Amanat Ali Khan is now easily available on CD.

Again the more popular ones are my least favorite like “hotaon peh kabhee” (ada jafery) or “insha jee utho” (ibn e insha), I find that these ghazals owe their popularity due to association people make with the premature demise of amanat ali khan with the content of these ghazals where as his body of work has such rare gems as “dil main meethay meethay….phir yadoon kee havaa chalee, phir shaam hoee”. I would not be surprised if radio Pakistan still plays these ghazals, the FM radio is sadly too fixated with the listener and their umpteen sisters wanting to chat with the DJ - talk about sexual frustration

And can there be a better national song than ‘ay vatan pyaray vatan’, a recent remake by najam shiraz is not a bad attempt but I have stopped listening to him ever since he has turned mullah, the moment people like him and junaid jamshed start preaching, it is time for me to change the channel.

Farida Khanum is a must-have, she is majestic, supremely elegant and what a voice, the one that floors me is “na rava kaheeyay na saza kaheeyay, kaheeyay kaheeyay mujhay bura kaheeyay”, to pick ones like “vo mujh say hoyay ham kalaam” would be to state the obvious

In the 3 cd set that I have, the ones I like the best are “chand niklay kisee janib teeree zaibaaee ka”, “dono jahan tairee mohabatt main haar kay, vo jar aha hai koee shab-e-ghum guzaar kay” both by (faiz) and can there be anything more passionate than “aaj janay kee zid na karoo”

But if you are an old soul like me (buDhee roh as my friend calls me) and if there is one artist whose collection I would like to take with me on a deserted island it would be Begum Akhtar (Akhtaribai Faizabadi)

She is malika-e-ghazal, I love every word that she sings. Her unique quality is her chaste urdu and rendition befitting a mughal darbar. She has covered all the ghazal masters like zoaq, meer, dard, ghalib, momin. The one that gives me great pleasure is a one by shakeel badayuni “mairay ham nafas mairay hum nava”. If I was given another life and the option to be born in her time, I would sit in one of her mehfil and listen to her live (assuming that she does not say yes to my proposal)

Something that I look for is whether a singer does justice to a ghazal with long behr (line) in a way that true sentiment and emotion of the subject at hand is expressed to maximum impact. Like when Begum Akhtar sings Meer Taqi Meer as in the following (with due apologies for the translation)

Ultee ho gaeen sab tadbeerain, kuch na dava nain kaam keeyaa
Daikaa is beemaare-ay dil naihn, aakhir kaam tamaam keeya

(my schemes have come to naught, neither has the remedy helped
now see - this afflication of my heart, has claimed my soul)

second such ghazal is by Nasir Kazmi sung by Mehdi Hasan - I really cannot put my finger on it as to why this keeps haunting me

galee galee mairee yaad bichee hay, pyaray rastaa kaikh kay chal
mujhe say itnee vehshaat hai to, mairee hadoon say door nikhal

will do a great dis-service to his memory if I did not share the following link
(there are other recording of famous poets)

& definitely would be disrespectful if I were to translate this, the readers can be spared this agony

as far as Mehdi Hasan goes I mainly like the ones that I initially listened to on the radio. I do not enjoy watching him on TV – just a matter of personal taste – the radio tracks are imprinted on my mind like the following two

Kaisay kaisay log hamaray gee ko jalanay aa jaatay hain
Apnay apnay ghum kay fasaanay, hamain sunanay aa jatay hain

Actually munir Niazi wrote it the other way, the second misra is the first misra and vice versa if you know what I mean but I guess mehdi hasan thought it more musical to switch the order of the first verse of this ghazal.

(At work, if someone who I do not like calls, once I hang up, I change the first misra a little bit to “kaisay kaisay log hamaree gee ko jalaanay aa jaatay hain”

That is ‘hamaree gee’ as in someone trying to bust my balls. Forgive me, I do have some very weird people calling me & yes my colleagues are sick of my jokes

Another mehdi hasan favourite is “duniya kisee kay pyar main – janaat say kam naheen 0 ik dulruba hay dil main jo horoon say kam naheen” my favourite part being

tum baadshah-e-husn ho, husnay jahan ho
jaanay vafa ho aur mohabat kee shaan ho
jalvay humhharay husn kay taroon say kum naheen

bholay say mushuraoo tau, motee baras paRain
palkain uTha kay daiko to, kalyeeyaan bhee hans paRain
khushboo tumharee zulf kee phooloon say kam naheen

if I remember it right. (you can tell i was humming this one while typing, well you got me)

Some of the treasures are hidden from us like this CD that I got my hands on – distributed by the All Pakistan Music Conference in one of their events which featured a ghazal by Malika Pukhraaj (MP)

this one sounds so sweet - the recording atleast 50 years old because the MP I have listened to from 70’s onwards sounds different altogether. Even her famous and immortal “abhee to main jawan hoon” is all known to us from the 70’s but the original was sung about 50 years ago so where to get this recording – that is the real question.

(to be continued)


Blogger ZH said...

I haven't heard a more poignant tribute to this unfortunate watan than Aiay Watan Pyare Watan. Remakes/remixes of it should be declared blasphemous and those who attempt them should be stoned to death, in the spirit of our sacred time-honoured tradition of Karo Kari, IMHO.

1:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Still stuck at Amanat Ali. Desperately searching in my tapes for Sonay na dia and meri dastan-e-hasrat. I know they are in there but what torture to try and find them.
(W)alter ego

3:13 PM  
Blogger Deevaan said...

ZH-Najam Shiraz is pretty talented and can't blame the guy for trying a national song that is so closely associated with amanat ali khan. I got his debut(?) album (Khazana) about ten years ago and enjoyed it but i was young(er) then and now I am an uncle :) (yes saw your blog on uncles) There is even a very funny experimental track "sona chahta hoon" on it which is part AXL ROSE part flaming monkey on drugs. Alter Ego, you would be a much happier man (or woman) if you reverted to CDs. Easy to maintain and much more compact. my 2 cents worth. regards Naveed

4:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


6:58 PM  

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