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Rambling on: let the music play

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

let the music play

this blog is a response to (w)alter ego & a request for my recommendation on pakistani music

far be it that i consider myself as an expert, the task at hand requires that i rely on my personal collection to arrive at a list of “recommended listening”

i belong to a generation that was 'raised on radio' (AM radio that is) so a bit of nostalgia associated with this experience - there are some oldies included in the list

so let's head to the musical vault, (or the time warp)and cruise into a dream sequence ......

recommendation 1 – oldies film music
my first experience with old pakistani film oldies was a funny one - there was this track that did strange things to my run-down car speakers, i could not make sense of the sound, intro of one the tracks sounded like a shahnai that merged into vocals. years later I listened to a better version of the song (on much better speakers) & I found that what I was missing was the an alaap from Noor Jehan, the track was 'saada hoon apnay pyar kee' (I am the beckoning call of my love) from Anarkali

prior to this tape, I had never liked noor jehan - associating her with 80's film music. Right about that same time, I read a life-sketch on her by Khalid Hasan and was so captivated to his tribute that I got drawn to her music. I am still talking about early 80’s –EMI tapes were still available that I chanced upon the tape set of Faiz ghazals covered by mostly senior musicians

best tracks owe their brilliance and longevity to noor jehan particularly two tracks that gets you the emotional high beyond compare – I understand that this was something that was acknowledged by faiz himself

so much has been written about these two tracks that they sound cliché even as I write about them - this is Pakistani nazm at its best immortalized by the sultry Noor Jehan before she got hijacked by the gandasa music industry of lollywood

these tracks in which she does complete justice to her name are (a) mujhe say pehlee see mohabbat (theme of love - long lost to ravages of time & injustice) & (b) aa kay vabasta hain (similar in content to the first track)

if you have a good understanding of symbolism prevalent in urdu poetry, then time will stand still when you listen to these

As for the filmi songs, there are so many to name - the one i like the most because of the sheer depth/variation of her vocals is ‘saagar royay lehrain shor machain’ from the film ‘koel’, the part/words to watch are “royay” when her voice evokes the feeling of sea really wailing and “shor machain” - the best rendition of a human voice depicting the waves on the shore as they unleash their anguish in remembrance of love

her signature national songs to sample are “aye vatan kay sajeelay jawanoon” and “aye puttar hataan tay naeen viqday”

Getting a 'Best of noor-jehan' on CD would be a good stat.

recommendation 2 – folk/sufi music
There are CD’s on Pakistan folk songs, tunes and classics available in the market. Get a CD on folk instrumental music like Alghoza (Misree Khan Jamali/Khameeso Khan), my favourite tape used to be by Muneer Sarhadee, music of the NWFP province, (i called it the sarhadi saarangi)

Coming to sufi folk you cannot go wrong with Pathanay Khan. To round up this genre, get the best of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan may be one of the earlier works in which the flavor of qawali is traditional.

(to be continued with recommendations on ghazal)


Blogger ZH said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

12:26 PM  
Blogger ZH said...

[Blogger acted weird, let me try again...]

Having no measurable experience to raise an opinion here, however, I gladly express my right to free speech:

a) Ustad Amanat Ali Khan

b) Rubina Badr (a one-hit wonder? "tum sung naina laagay, laagay naa hi jiya ra..." remember my mother pacifying my bro in her lap while this played on b/w TV - sounds mesmerising even today.) Please suggest some more of Badr, will you.

c) Early, minus-cheek-implant Shehki ('meri aankhon se iss dunya ko dekho') et al.

The rest, is history. :)

12:32 PM  
Blogger Deevaan said...

zulfiqar, are you sure you are not my long lost brother, i mean how is it possible that you like Fargo, Pink Floyd and then you come up with the contents of my next blog on Amanat Ali Khan. What I find wierd, still, is you mention this one-track gem to Rubina Badr that paints our collective memories in signature 70's black and white hue. So shame on you for saying that you have "no measurable experience" :)& thank God that you exercised your right of free speech :)

1:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Naveed - you are a genius! To remind me of these wonderful songs by Noor Jehan when I had written her off as a filmi person. I am actually ahead of you here for once, for over the weekend I fished out my old Ustad Amanat Ali tapes; however, disappointed by the quality, I did not go very far.
Fargo, what is not to like?
You have inspired me in other ways too , am working on my own blog. However,don't quite have the gift that you do. I belong to the "language challenged Math majors who cannot write without bullet points" club. But, if nothing else, all my gardening notes are getting organized.
Carry on (and thanks)
(W)alter ego

4:09 PM  
Blogger Deevaan said...

(w)alter ego, dont quite agree with u that cannot write a decent blog if i go by what i have seen so far, i am an engineering major if that is any consolation. when you do come to pakistan, you will easily find amanat ali khan on cd so that takes care of the quality (although the original has a mono feel to it so cannot really blame the output) regards Naveed

4:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks - you're very gracious.
alter ego (time to drop the W altogether)

8:53 PM  
Anonymous CasMania said...

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2:14 PM  

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