In the early days of the original version of this blog I shared a lot of music from the criminally under-marketed series titled Music Pakistan. A collection of folk, classical, ghazal and filmi music from the deep vaults of the national broadcaster, Radio Pakistan, the series runs over 57 CDs securing the legacy of many minor and less-known major artists. If there is a shortcoming in this otherwise brilliant and important boxset it is the complete absence of qawwali! One can only shake the head and sigh, ‘How the hell did that happen?’
But back to the point. Music Pakistan is pure gold and if you had only this collection on your lonely uninhabited desert island, you would be a very well adjusted and noble soul when at last you were rescued. There is so much in each CD that deserves repeated and deep and mindful listening. Sadly, the collection is very hard to find in stores (of brick and mortar or online). Indeed, a friend who was instrumental in putting the collection together, confessed it was quickly pulled from the shelves because of some arcane political disagreement that only Pakistani bureaucrats can appreciate. He also let me know that there was A LOT more music in the vaults but that the tapes were fast falling apart due to a general lack of concern by the authorities. Reference my comment above about shaking the head and sighing.
Many months (perhaps years) have passed since I last posted something from the Music Pakistan and tonight I’m putting that right. Ustad Misri Khan Jamali is the hero of this music and again sadly, there is not too much I can share with you by way of biodata. He appears to have been from Sindh and well respected by other traditional folk artists such as Allan Faqir and Khamiso Khan, the so-called “King of Alghoza”.
Alghoza is not a geographic kingdom but a South Asian folk instrument popular with itinerant musicians and snake charmers. It is especially popular in the folk music of Punjab, Rajasthan, Sindh and Baluchistan. A double-barrelled reed flute, the alghoza is played with three fingers on each flute and by modulating the breath to create an inherent syncopation and rhythm. It produces a sound that can truly be named delightful. Close your eyes and your mind will conjure visions of festivals and fairs and celebration.
If you don’t find your spirits stepping up a notch or two with this music then I suggest you make an appointment with your astrologer, priest or GP.
07 Bheem Plasi
12 Bhairawin Sindhi
16 Lurao Manjh