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)