Snake Charmer’s Orchestra: Iqbal Jogi and Party

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A rather interesting album made originally in the 1950s during the ethno-music craze that brought non-Western/exotic music into suburban homes in the West.

The instrument featured here is called by several different names across South Asia: murli, been or punji.  The Murli or Punji is a wind instrument which consists of two parts; the upper part is made of a dried and hollowed gourd which acts as the main sound chamber. The lower part is constructed from two reed pipes which are joined together into a double barrel form and positioned below the sound chamber. On most of these instruments the reed section has eight holes, which are used to play tones for music. However, in some parts of Sindh there is an additional hole in the lower back end of the right pipe. This instrument is known as a Murli in Sindh, and a Punji in other parts of Pakistan. It is most commonly recognized for its popular use by snake charmers throughout South Asia . 

Iqbal Jogi is a name known only to others than his family and friends as the key been player on this record. A Sindhi, in all likelihood,

The Jogi (also spelled Yogi; meaning “sage” or “saint”) are a Hindu sect (nath sampraday), found in North India and Sindh, with smaller numbers in the southern Indian states of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Kerala.

Jogi is a colloquial term for the “yogi”, which refers to the people who practiced yoga as part of their daily rituals. Over the time, this led to the formation of a community, and subsequently was formed into a caste. (Wikipedia)

Jogis are mendicants, who perambulate from holy site to holy site, and who often stop by your door, with begging bowl, simple musical instruments and colourful turbans or skull caps.  Though the name derives from yogi, a Sanskrit term, in the middle ages, especially in Sindh and Punjab, the jogis were associated with a math (spiritual refuge) in northern Punjab called Tilla Jogian (jogis hill). Adherents to the sect while nominally ‘Hindu’ came from all faiths and segments of society and were called Gorakpanthi after Gorakhnath the sect’s founder.

Iqbal Jogi is of this group of spiritual musicians.

When you think about this recording it has Monty Python-esque possibilities.  A bunch of bearded , turbaned men dancing about blowing into snake-charmers gourds!  But don’t allow your mind to go there. As this more recent release of the album is subtitled, there is a lot of passion in this group.  They blow intensely and seriously, bringing new life to some Sindh’s oldest and most beloved folk songs and melodies.

So settle back and prepare yourself for some very special sounds…a snake charmers orchestra!

The Passion of Pakistan

Track Listing:

01 Lorau (A Folk Tune Popular in the Desert Region of Sind.)

02 Momil Rano (A Folk Romance)

03 Kohiari (From the Sind Region of Pakistan.)

04 Lal Mori Pat (Traditional Folk Song)

05 Bhairveen (Raag of the Morning.)

06 Sorath (Folk Tune in Sindhi Ragni.)

07 Pahari (Tune of Sindhi Folk Song & Dance.)

08 Pahari (Folk Tune in Raga.)

Iqbal Jogi

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Updated Files: Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan

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A few days ago I posted Volume 53 of the Music Pakistan series which features the singing of Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali KhanAs mentioned many times already about the Music Pakistan series, a number of tracks on about 7 of the discs are completely unlistenable—damaged beyond repair during the (somewhat shoddy) production process.

Well as so happens from time to time, a reader of the blog reached out with the following message:

When I listened to this great release on the Music Pakistan series by Bade Ghulam Ali Khan, I found the Bhopali track very familiar. On investigation it seems I can help you, as all the music you posted from this CD was previously available and I have pristine digital versions of all the tracks…

Talk about tantalising! Of all the corrupted CDs in the box set this volume was the one I regretted the most. And here was someone claiming to have not just listenable and identical versions but pristine copies!

Well, I replied to the mysterious gentleman who shall go only by the initials ‘ljf‘.  And over the course of a couple of emails he laid out his amazing detective work which he’s agreed for me to share.

According to ‘ljf’: Most of the recordings seem to have been digitised from LP’s or 78 RPM’s as there are plenty of pops and crackles, but they are still quite listenable. Almost all the recordings of Bade Ghulam Ali that I have are of poorish technical quality, except for the few LP tracks that he recorded.

A few years ago, on the usual commercial digital  websites like Amazon etc, you could get a download “album” called “Hindustani Classicals Indian Classical Vocal Music” by Bade Ghulam as well as other similar albums by several other artists from around the same era like Gangubai Hangal amongst others (attached is cover from this digital download). They were from a company called NAV Records in 2015. These downloads were in MP3 format and now all seem to have disappeared from the commercial download websites. Mostly these recordings came from Akashvani Sangeet or Doordarshan CD’s released by AIR. This is also true for this digital download of Bade Ghulam from NAV records, which had 19 tracks. The first 9 tracks came from 3 Akashvani Sangeet CD’s (C-ARCH)H 36-38 , but I could never figure out where the other 10 tracks came from. Now I know, because these are exactly the same 10 tracks as on your Music Pakistan CD !

As to the source of these 10 tracks, none are new material, all were previously released on LP, EP or 78 RPM. Tracks 1 & 3, Bhopali & Kamode came from an LP LKDR 1 released in 1970 by EMI-Pakistan called simply “Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan”. This LP has been posted on Tawfiq’s blog a while ago and the covers stated that the music came from Radio Pakistan broadcasts (this LP has also been released by EMI-Pakistan as a digital download, with the same mastering as the original LP). The other tracks came mainly from Gramophone Company of India 78 RPM’s recorded in 1948 which were later re-released on LP’s. Incidentally track 4 labelled as a Piloo thumri is I believe in Manj Khamaj. Likewise track 5 labelled as Raag Kajri is actually a kajri in Raag Bhairavi.

Probably the most interesting track is the Bhopali from the EMI-Pakistan LP. Actually the version on your Music Pakistan CD is slightly different to that released  on the LP. There’s absolutely no doubt it is from the same live performance, but your version is around 1:30 minutes longer than on the EMI-Pakistan LP version (and also on the corresponding digital download). It took me a while to realise that this is a different edit to the version released on the LP. The sound is clearer, though there is more background noise and a section around 1:30 minutes long (starting around 4:00 minutes) has been cut out for the version issued on the LP. Quite exactly what has been going on here is not exactly clear, as it seems likely that some editing has been carried out in India and some in Pakistan. The longer version has some coughing on behalf of Bade Ghulam, and possibly this has been cut out and is the reason for the shortened version making its appearance on the LP.

Attached is a pdf file with a track by track listing of the original  sources for the Shalimar RBC CD. I stress that though the source recording is the same, it seems that these have been all reedited for the Shalimar release. This may have entailed going back to the original 78 RPM’s /EP and re-transcribing them in digital format. I don’t know if
they had access to the original Radio Pakistan recording (presumably done on acetate discs?) but it seems likely as it is around 1:30 longer than on the EMI-Pakistan LP.

Track by track source material for CD Music Pakistan

So here you go folks! Pristine Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan.

LINK

 

Music Lover’s Announcement

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This is a slightly unexpected against the flow bit of cross-promotion. But if you enjoy the music and write ups on this blog you may be interested in checking out my other blog, Electric Sardine.  

The blog is dedicated to music lovers and it is where I post music of all types from every part of the world EXCEPT South Asia (India, Pakistan,Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Maldives, Nepal, Bhutan).

If some of you are long time followers of Harmonium Music you may remember my original blog Washerman’s Dog which is no more.  But Electric Sardine is the successor to Washerman’s Dog.

So if you enjoy world music, jazz, country, folks, roots, R&B, soul, African, Japanese, Polish and any other sort of music (barring most forms of metal and industrial!) come on over and follow the fun and enjoy the tunes at Electric Sardine.

And since you’re here, I just want to say thank you for all those of you have followed and continue to follow Harmonium. I appreciate your patronage and comments.

Here endeth the transmission.

Kahat Kabir: Pandit Chhannulal Mishra

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Pt. Chhannulal Mishra

Varnasi is an old city. Some say the second oldest in the world; Damascus in Syria usually taking the honours. It is a favourite spot of mine, one I visited at least once a year as a boy between the ages of 7-17 and one to which I return everytime I find myself in India.

One of the enduring pleasures of the place is rambling through the narrow urban canyons of stone, wood and concrete that make up the old city down by the river Ganga. These streets are called gali (lanes) and home to neighborhoods of craftsmen, confectioners, musicians, ashrams, religious people of all faiths, wrestlers, instrument and incense makers, barbers, sari sellers, kitemakers and guardians of burning ghats.

Any time of day you happen to find yourself in the galis you will hear the sort of music I share today. It will waft out of windows of music schools, from the courtyards of temples or from under open air recitals in wide spots in the alleys.

These songs you could classify as bhajan, the simple devotional songs usually associated with Hindus, though technically they are the sayings of the mystic poet and seer Kabir (15th Cent.) who was born and lived for many years in Varanasi.  Kabir is one of those characters who is claimed and embraced and celebrated (in song, scripture and in legend) as equally Muslim, Hindu and Sikh.  A truly universal messenger.

And this music does not require a knowledge of medieval Hindi or any faith. If you love music that calms or music that inspires or brings joy and peace you’ll connect to this music.

The songs of this gorgeous album are sung by another great son of Varanasi, Pandit Chhannulal Mishra. I must thank my dear friend Hanif Haji for gifting this album to me. It is a wonderful addition to my small but growing collection of Kabir dohe (couplets).

I have no doubt you’ll fall in love with this music.

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Track Listing:

01 Kaise Sajan Ghar Jaibay Ho Rama

02 Man Pachataiyhay Avsar Beetay

03 Bhajo Ray Bhiya Ram Govind Hari

04 Bhai Ray So Guru Satya Kahavay

05 Ray Ma n Murakh Janam Gavayo

06 Avadhu Bhajan Bhed Nayara

Kabir

 

The Big Man: Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan

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Continuing with the Music Pakistan CD Box Set, today we share the playable part of Vol. 53.  If you’ve followed this blog and are aware of the Music Pakistan Box Set you’ll know that about 7 of the original CDs were very poorly reproduced.  To the point of being unlistenable. Some tracks were so corrupted by clicks and cracks and other distortion, they rendered the music completely unlistenable.  Other tracks simply don’t play.

And sadly, this is the case for this volume. Of the 10 tracks only 4 are not completely damaged. Luckily, they include a complete rendition of Raga Bhopali and a few other morsels.  Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan himself needs no introduction to lovers of Hindustani gayaki.  Claimed by both India and Pakistan as a native son (and both are true!) Bade Ghulam Ali Khansahib is truly the Big Man of classical Hindustani vocal singing of the first half of the 20th century.

I’ve included a complete set list below but remember, only the first four tracks are presentable.  I’ve also had to improvise a cover for the CD as the original is missing as well.

With those (hopefully acceptable caveats) I present to you volume 53 of Music Pakistan Box Set.

KHUB!

Music Pakistan Nr.53 Classical Vocal

Track Listing:

53-01 Raag Bhopali – Tit Bitat Ghan

53-02 Raag Peelo – Saiyaan Bolo

53-03 Raag Kamode – Chadde Mora Aanchal

53-04 Raag Peelo Thumri – Kankar Maar Jagaiye

53-05 Raag Kajri – Nainan Morey Taras Gayay

53-06 Raag Kedara – Naveli Naar

53-07 Raag Gujri Todi – Bhor Bhai Tori

53-08 Raag Paraj – Latkhat Chalat

53-09 Raag Malkauns – Mandir Dekh

53-10 Raag Jaijaivanti – Un Ki

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