Qawwali from Tufail Niazi: Surprised by Joy

Tufail Niazi

Tufail Niazi

Wow, it has been a long time since I posted anything on this blog. And I do feel remiss about that as the sharing of south Asian music is a very important part of my life and purpose. And many of you have been loyal supporters and encouragers of this blog and my passion over many years now. Apologies!

Life, that damned drama that we are playing a part in (hopefully more and more of us are writing our own chapters, though) has overwhelmed me in the past year. Working life has been full on and as I’ve transitioned from 2 years in Kuala Lumpur without the family, back to Australia in the past month, the complexity of logistics, decision making, priority setting and realigning life has been the dominant narrative

I am hopeful that in the coming months I will be able to get back to a more regular and frequent posting in this blog. And for the journey to continue. I continue to write for Scroll.in, an Indian based newspaper and should promote that platform as an additional place where my musings on South Asian music can be enjoyed.

Today’s post is a special treat, that came to my attention via the incredibly knowledged-up Musab bin Noor. A small EP of qawwali from Punjab’s beautifully voiced Mohammad Tufail Niazi. Not known for his qawwali but rather his fluid velvety renditions of Punjabi folk music, it is indeed a rare pleasure to come across these little ditties. As C.S. Lewis said, “I am surprised by joy!”

Niazi’s voice, in my mind, is the standard bearer of rural traditional singing. And though his career, like most of his peers, was based upon performing in urban centers and his reputation rested on the media of modern technology (radio, TV and recording tape) he, as far I know, never sang anything that was not traditional. He did not sing modern pop music or contribute to many films. So in that way, this very short qawwali recital is not that unexpected. Qawwali is after all a music of the folk of Punjab, a deeply spiritual and roots sort of music.

Thank you Musab for bringing this wonderful record to our attention!

Mohammad Tufail Niazi and Party

Track Listing:

Chadi na Misal Koi

Ali Haidar-e-Karaar

Vah Vah Mouj Fakeeran Di

 

EP

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