About Nate Rabe

Reinvention is life.

Yad: A South Asian Folk Mixtape

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I am in the United States for a few days to tend to final arrangements around my father who passed away in early August.   As I spend time with my family and reflect on his life and impact I am naturally overcome with memories.

Yad, is the Hindi/Urdu word for memory or remembrance. And as I was preparing some material for the service later this week I searched my system for some appropriate music to listen to.  Almost as if by design, I came across this mixtape I made a long time ago, which I had given the name Yad.

It is a good one. Beyond a diverse survey of ghazal, qawwali, bhajan, and geet I was pleasantly surprised to discover that this collection includes a number of poignant selections, not just the lovely title track by Rajasthani group, Musafir.

Track 5, Kiski Avaz Hai Ye Kaun Hai, Track 3, Ab Dekh Ke Ji Ghabrata, and Track 22, Koi Sunta Hai Gurgyani have got me feeling the significance of this moment.

But that’s just me. Those particular tracks, like all twenty-two, (more than 2 hours of wonderful music!) are not morbid or mournful songs. Rather they are expressions of the lively vibrancy of life as well as the the joy and zest of being alive that South Asian music encapsulates so dramatically.

Selected artists are both widely known as well as rather obscure. They hail from Afghanistan, India, Bengal and Nepal and as I mentioned above, cover the bases from the spiritual to secular (even military) sides of life!

Enjoy. I know I am!

barsageer

Track Listing:

01 Yad [Musafir]

02 Heer Te Ranjhe Di Mulaqaat [Alam Lohar]

03 Ab Dekh Ke Ji Ghabrata [Attaullah Khan Niazi]

04 Dard dil [Jaipur Kawa Brass Band]

05 Kiski Avaz Hai Ye Kaun Hai [Jafar Hussain Khan Badayuni Qawwal]

06 Chor poreche babur bagane [Purna Chandra Das Baul & Ensemble]

07 Mahi Fouji [Mundri Lal]

08 Agaya Tu Phool Banke [Swarn Yamla Jatt]

09 Kya Haal Suranwan [Suraiya Multanikar]

10 Govinda Bhajan [J Mevandy]

11 Choon Nay Ba Nawa Amad [Nashenas]

12 Bhapang [Sama Khan, Natih Ram and Group]

13 Kis Cheez Ki Kami Hai Maula Teri Gali Mein [Sodhal Faqir Laghari]

14 Shaikh Ayaz Kalam [Jiji Zarina Baloch]

15 Mustang [Sur Sudha]

16 Jagga Jameya Thay Milan Vadhaiyan [Master Dilbahar]

17 Punal Paindi Thee Wal (Baba Ghulam Farid) [Zahida Parveen]

18 Zolrawar Bagh [Hakkam Khan]

19 Jugni [Swarn Noora]

21 Hum Jo Tareek Rahon Mein [Zia Mohyeddin]

22 Koi Sunta Hai Gurgyani [Prahlad Singh Tipanya]

YAD

 

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Imagined Country: India

Cities of India

It has been a while since I’ve posted a playlist.

This one has a rather dull title and is not entirely accurate, for many of the tunes here are inspired by the rivers and regions of India as much as by her cities. And not a few are composed in honour of places in Pakistan.

But let’s not be too literalist.

India, like all places is a conceptual thing as much as a geography. And it was not so long ago that all of the subcontinent was considered India.

These are tunes from the diaspora and from outside of India. People peering back to where their forefathers came from or outsiders looking in.  Jazz, chill-out, dance jams, dark industrial grind core, bluegrass-ragas, fused and blended sounds.

Hope you enjoy.

Track List (vol. 1)

01 Ja Sha Taan (Transglobal Underground Karachi Deathcult Mix) [Fun Da Mental]

02 Bihu (Assam) [Deep Forest and Rahul Sharma]

03 CIA Contractor Freed Over Pakistan Killings [Vatican Shadow]

04 Ganges a Go-Go [DJ Shadow and Automator]

05 Agra [The Indian Core]

06 Bobbywood [The Bombay Royale]

07 Chittagong Chill [State of Bengal]

08 Letter from India [Paco de Lucia, Al Di Meola, John McLaughlin]

09 Adrift In Kerala [Bob Holyroyd]

10 Thillelo (Kerala)[Deep Forest and Rahul Sharma]

11 Karachi [Absolute Ensemble]

12 Calcutta Blues [Dave Brubeck Quartet]

GET IT HERE

Track Listing (Vol. 2)

13 Yamuna [Hindugrass]

14 Punjab [Rez Abbbasi Quartet]

15 Miles From India [John McLaughlin and friends]

16 G.T. Road [Clinton]

17 India [Zap Mama]

18 Life In Goa [Black Bombay]

19 Ganges Delta Blues [Ry Cooder and V.M. Bhatt]

20 Multani [Joe Harriott and John Mayer]

21 Sialkot [Sunny Jain Collective]

22 Rawalpindi Blues [Carla Bley]

23 Jaipur [Amancio D’Silva and Joe Harriott]

24 Himalaya Blues [Knut Reiersrud, Hans Fredrick Jacobsen and Vajra]

25 Karnatak journey [Black Bombay]

GET IT HERE

 

 

Tribes Lost and Found: Shye Ben Tzur, Johnny Greenwood and the Rajasthan Express

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Johnny Greenwood and Shye Ben Tzur

India and Israel have a long tangled history. In modern days there has been conflict with India taking a tough pro-Palestinian position. While it took a while for Independent India to reconize the state of Israel in 1950 official relations were cool if not suspicious until the early 1990s.

Today, in this age of xenophobic nationalism and strident anti-Muslim feeling, India and Israel are enjoying a ‘warm bilateral relations’ that sadly (IMHO) included lots of arms trading and general sharing of information on how to oppose the Muslim peoples in their countries and regions.

But go back several centuries and you’ll find that India has been a friendly land of exile and refuge for Jews fleeing upheavals in the Middle East since at least the 1st Century CE. A substantial Jewish community established itself in and around the coastal city of Cochin in the southern state of Kerala in the early years of the last millennium and until recently was a vital part of local society. Most Cochin Jews have emigrated or died off and today the Jewish population is estimated to be around 5000, most of whom live in Mumbai.

In the northeast a small group of people claim to be one of the lost tribes of Israel, the Bnei Menashe, and practice Judaism but no one gives their claim credibility. Still, Jewish Indian friendship is as ancient as the hills (there is some historical evidence that Jews and Hindus were trading with each other several centuries before Christ) and Jews have distinguished themselves in all sorts of industries and fields in modern India.

Shye Ben Tzur is an Israeli musician who fell in love with Indian music after seeing Zakir Hussain and Hariprasad Chaurasia in concert in Jerusalem. Over the past decade or more he’s issued a number of records of interpretative Indian music including the rather ambitious labor of love Junun, the subject of this post.

Teaming up with Radiohead’s Johnny Greenwood and a group of traditional Rajasthani musicians dubbed The Rajasthan Express, Ben Tzur serves up a solid tasty thali of qawwali (sung in both Urdu and Hebrew!) and brass band stomps that will get your heart throbbing and (at times) toes tapping.

All in all this is a delightful double disc that fits very nicely into any collection of Indian folk music.

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Track Listing (Pt. 1)

1-01 Junun

1-02 Roked

1-03 Hu

1-04 Chala Vahi Des

1-05 Qalandar

1-06 Eloah

Part1

2-01 Julus

2-02 Allah Elohim

2-03 Ahuvi

2-04 Azov

2-05 Junun Brass

2-06 There are Birds in the Echo Chamber

2-07 Modeh

Part2

The Greatest: Ustad Shaukat Hussain Khan

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Thank you very much to Hans Bosma who has dug out one of the missing volumes of the Music Pakistan Boxset and shared it with me (and everyone who follows this blog).

Ustad Shaukat Hussain Khan is widely considered one of the greatest tabla masters of the recent past. So much so that superstars such as Zakir Hussain fall at his feet to acknowledge his precedence, greatness and influence.  Journalist, researcher and music enthusiast Ally Adnan has written a nice portrait (full of wonderful photographs) of Shaukat Hussain sahib which can be downloaded here.  Read it as you listen to this masterful musician perform on this CD.

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Track Listing:

  1. Lakshmi Tal
  2. Rupak
  3. Teen taal

TABLAUSTAD

The Younger Brother: Ustad Barkat Ali Khan

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Barkat Ali Khan

Thanks to the great sleuth work of fellow blogger and music expert, one Mr. Musab  I am very chuffed to share one of the missing 10 volumes from the Music Pakistan* series: Urdu ghazals sung by Ustad Barkat Ali Khan of Kasur.

Ustad Barkat Ali Khan (1908 – 19 June 1963) was a Pakistani classical singer, younger brother of Bade Ghulam Ali Khan and elder brother of Mubarak Ali Khan, and belonged to the Patiala gharana of music.

Barkat Ali Khan was born in Kasur, in the Punjab province of then British India. He had his initial training from his father, Ali Baksh Khan Kasuri, and later by his elder brother Bade Ghulam Ali Khan. After 1947 Partition of British India, Barkat Ali Khan, with his family, migrated to Pakistan and focused on the lighter aspects of Hindustani classical music. He was widely acknowledged as one of the great exponents of Thumri, Dadra, Geet and Ghazal, and was well known for both Purab and Punjab Ang Thumris.

Many still consider him a superior thumri singer than his elder brother, though he didn’t receive acknowledgement to the extent Bade Ghulam Ali Khan did. He taught noted ghazal singer Ghulam Ali. Many people in Pakistan say that simplicity and humility were the hallmark of his personality. He started a new trend of ghazal-singing in Pakistan. Before Mehdi Hassan became known as the ‘King of ghazals’ in the 1970s, Barkat Ali Khan and Begum Akhtar were considered the stalwarts of ghazal-singing during the 1950s and 1960s. Barkat Ali Khan, in a rare live radio interview to Radio Pakistan, Lahore, had said,” My forefathers, at one time, lived in the hilly tracts of Jammu and Kashmir, so they used to sing ‘songs of the hills’ (Pahari Geet). I learned to sing those Pahari Geets from them”.

Barkat Ali sahib passed away in 1963 at a very unacceptably young age.

Track Listing:

01 – Hasti Apni Habab Ki Si Hay [Mir Taqi Mir]

02 – Ishrat e Qatra Hay Darya Main [Ghalib]

03 – Uss Bazm Main Mojhay Nahin Banti [Ghalib]

04 – Aah Ko Chahiay Ek Umr [Ghalib]

05 – Ibne Maryam Howa Karay Koi [Ghalib]

06 – Voh Aa Ke Khawb Main [Ghalib]

07 – Navake Naz Se Moshkil Hay [Amir Minai]

08 – Dono Jahan Teri Mahabbat Main [Faiz Ahmed Faiz]

09 – Ab Sawan Ghar Aaja (Thumri Tilak Kamod)

10 – Lagi Nahin Chhote (Dadra Khammach)

BARKAT

*please see previous post for a complete list of Music Pakistan CDs. all missing items are currently being sought. Any leads will be appreicated.