Raga Pahadi (also spelled Pahari) is a majestic raga that evokes feelings of melancholy but also pensiveness and love. It is often used as a basis for devotional songs (bhajans) or semi-classical works like dadra. Traditionally performed in the early part of the night it is a raga for many seasons.
Pahad in Hindi means ‘mountain’ and therefore, this raga is that which is associated with the mountainous regions of South Asia and has deep folk roots. Indeed, it is an ongoing debate whether ragas or folk melodies came first, but in this case the proximity is very clear. Some experts claim that up to 90% of all tunes and melodies in Nepal are based on this raga. As today’s selection demonstrates, this is a raga that suits the sound of the bansuri (bamboo flute) the quintessential instrument of mountain people. (For more information on this raga click here.)
Today’s selection begins with a lovely dadra (light classical song) by the Pakistani Ali Bakhsh Zahoor. The song, Laakh Jatan Kar Haari, is a traditional devotional song, which, although it uses Hindu references (Haari) for God, is performed frequently by many Muslim singers.
Ustad Misri Khan Jamali is a Pakistani flute player and his interpretation of the raga is lively and joyous.
A fused, East meets West version of the Pahadi comes from the late 60’s group the Indo-British Ensemble’s album Curried Jazz.
Mighty maestro of Hindustani gayaki (classical singing) Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan’s Pahadi is one of definitive recordings of this lovely composition.
The folk flavour and roots of the raga are evidenced again in this spirited folk instrumental from the Kutch region of Gujarat, in India’s western border lands. The player is Jodia Pava, a traditional musician.
Mera Jeevan Kora Kaghaz was a huge ‘superhit’ from the 1969 film blockbuster, Aradhana. The great playback icon Kishore Kumar, who became the voice of the leading man Rajesh Khanna, does the honors.
Finally, in another instrumental, the one and only Pakistani clarinettist, Ustad Sadiq Ali Khan Mando, plays a gorgeous version of the raga for a private concert in Lahore.
01 Laakh Jatan Kar Haari (Pahadi Dadra) [Ali Bakhsh Zahoor]
02 Pahari [Ustad Misri Khan Jamali]
03 Pahari (University Raga) [Indo-British Ensemble]
04 Pahadi [Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan]
05 Pahadi Raag [Jodia Pava]
06 Mera Jeevan Kora Kagaz [Kishore Kumar]
07 Raag Pahari [Ustad Sadiq Ali Khan Mando]