Is there such a thing as ‘classical folk’ music. Not classic, as in iconic, folk music, but classical music that is played by folk musicians? And not music played by novices or students, but by highly accomplished professionals?
Today’s selection is such music. A collection of some of the sweetest (but not saccharine) instrumentals played by Punjabi folk musicians on traditional folk instruments. And played with a swagger or attitude that while respectful of the original material, is definitely more maidan than darbar.
Cheekily titled Lounge in Punjab, the album cashes is on the current craze for so called lounge or chill out music. The cover art, a drawing of a workingman’s lounge room, tells you where this music is coming from. A traditional wooden bed covered with a chadar (sheet), wooden chairs, a few framed pics of relatives on the mud walls guard an old black bakelite telephone and other trinkets that adorn mud steps leading up to a loft.
But don’t be fooled by the title. This is not Buddha Bar ala Punjab. It is moving, gorgeous north Indian classical music played in the lok (folk) style. The players are probably well known in their home districts and perhaps, a bit further afield. But they are not big names. They play sarangi, flute, harmonium and table with panache and feeling. Although every track is a winner (REALLY) my personal favourite is Love, Love, Love a stunning harmonium solo piece by Shaukat Ali.
If you haven’t discovered already, De Kulture, the producers of this record need to be awarded not just the Padma Bhushan but the Nobel Prize for Music for what they are doing to revive and promote the great Indian folk culture. Go to their webite, buy their music and attend their music festival in Pushkar next February.
01 Shaan [Amandeep Singh]
02 Raag Bahar [Puran Singh Arshi]
03 Kalyan Raag [Amandeep Singh]
04 Apne Yaar Ke Paas [Kashi Nath]
05 Dilruba – Thief Of The Heart [Amandeep Singh]
06 Love, Love, Love. [Shaukat Ali]
07 Tumbi – A Folk Tune Of Punjab [Gurmeet]