Snake Charmer’s Orchestra: Iqbal Jogi and Party


A rather interesting album made originally in the 1950s during the ethno-music craze that brought non-Western/exotic music into suburban homes in the West.

The instrument featured here is called by several different names across South Asia: murli, been or punji.  The Murli or Punji is a wind instrument which consists of two parts; the upper part is made of a dried and hollowed gourd which acts as the main sound chamber. The lower part is constructed from two reed pipes which are joined together into a double barrel form and positioned below the sound chamber. On most of these instruments the reed section has eight holes, which are used to play tones for music. However, in some parts of Sindh there is an additional hole in the lower back end of the right pipe. This instrument is known as a Murli in Sindh, and a Punji in other parts of Pakistan. It is most commonly recognized for its popular use by snake charmers throughout South Asia . 

Iqbal Jogi is a name known only to others than his family and friends as the key been player on this record. A Sindhi, in all likelihood,

The Jogi (also spelled Yogi; meaning “sage” or “saint”) are a Hindu sect (nath sampraday), found in North India and Sindh, with smaller numbers in the southern Indian states of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Kerala.

Jogi is a colloquial term for the “yogi”, which refers to the people who practiced yoga as part of their daily rituals. Over the time, this led to the formation of a community, and subsequently was formed into a caste. (Wikipedia)

Jogis are mendicants, who perambulate from holy site to holy site, and who often stop by your door, with begging bowl, simple musical instruments and colourful turbans or skull caps.  Though the name derives from yogi, a Sanskrit term, in the middle ages, especially in Sindh and Punjab, the jogis were associated with a math (spiritual refuge) in northern Punjab called Tilla Jogian (jogis hill). Adherents to the sect while nominally ‘Hindu’ came from all faiths and segments of society and were called Gorakpanthi after Gorakhnath the sect’s founder.

Iqbal Jogi is of this group of spiritual musicians.

When you think about this recording it has Monty Python-esque possibilities.  A bunch of bearded , turbaned men dancing about blowing into snake-charmers gourds!  But don’t allow your mind to go there. As this more recent release of the album is subtitled, there is a lot of passion in this group.  They blow intensely and seriously, bringing new life to some Sindh’s oldest and most beloved folk songs and melodies.

So settle back and prepare yourself for some very special sounds…a snake charmers orchestra!

The Passion of Pakistan

Track Listing:

01 Lorau (A Folk Tune Popular in the Desert Region of Sind.)

02 Momil Rano (A Folk Romance)

03 Kohiari (From the Sind Region of Pakistan.)

04 Lal Mori Pat (Traditional Folk Song)

05 Bhairveen (Raag of the Morning.)

06 Sorath (Folk Tune in Sindhi Ragni.)

07 Pahari (Tune of Sindhi Folk Song & Dance.)

08 Pahari (Folk Tune in Raga.)

Iqbal Jogi


Updated Files: Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan


A few days ago I posted Volume 53 of the Music Pakistan series which features the singing of Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali KhanAs mentioned many times already about the Music Pakistan series, a number of tracks on about 7 of the discs are completely unlistenable—damaged beyond repair during the (somewhat shoddy) production process.

Well as so happens from time to time, a reader of the blog reached out with the following message:

When I listened to this great release on the Music Pakistan series by Bade Ghulam Ali Khan, I found the Bhopali track very familiar. On investigation it seems I can help you, as all the music you posted from this CD was previously available and I have pristine digital versions of all the tracks…

Talk about tantalising! Of all the corrupted CDs in the box set this volume was the one I regretted the most. And here was someone claiming to have not just listenable and identical versions but pristine copies!

Well, I replied to the mysterious gentleman who shall go only by the initials ‘ljf‘.  And over the course of a couple of emails he laid out his amazing detective work which he’s agreed for me to share.

According to ‘ljf’: Most of the recordings seem to have been digitised from LP’s or 78 RPM’s as there are plenty of pops and crackles, but they are still quite listenable. Almost all the recordings of Bade Ghulam Ali that I have are of poorish technical quality, except for the few LP tracks that he recorded.

A few years ago, on the usual commercial digital  websites like Amazon etc, you could get a download “album” called “Hindustani Classicals Indian Classical Vocal Music” by Bade Ghulam as well as other similar albums by several other artists from around the same era like Gangubai Hangal amongst others (attached is cover from this digital download). They were from a company called NAV Records in 2015. These downloads were in MP3 format and now all seem to have disappeared from the commercial download websites. Mostly these recordings came from Akashvani Sangeet or Doordarshan CD’s released by AIR. This is also true for this digital download of Bade Ghulam from NAV records, which had 19 tracks. The first 9 tracks came from 3 Akashvani Sangeet CD’s (C-ARCH)H 36-38 , but I could never figure out where the other 10 tracks came from. Now I know, because these are exactly the same 10 tracks as on your Music Pakistan CD !

As to the source of these 10 tracks, none are new material, all were previously released on LP, EP or 78 RPM. Tracks 1 & 3, Bhopali & Kamode came from an LP LKDR 1 released in 1970 by EMI-Pakistan called simply “Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan”. This LP has been posted on Tawfiq’s blog a while ago and the covers stated that the music came from Radio Pakistan broadcasts (this LP has also been released by EMI-Pakistan as a digital download, with the same mastering as the original LP). The other tracks came mainly from Gramophone Company of India 78 RPM’s recorded in 1948 which were later re-released on LP’s. Incidentally track 4 labelled as a Piloo thumri is I believe in Manj Khamaj. Likewise track 5 labelled as Raag Kajri is actually a kajri in Raag Bhairavi.

Probably the most interesting track is the Bhopali from the EMI-Pakistan LP. Actually the version on your Music Pakistan CD is slightly different to that released  on the LP. There’s absolutely no doubt it is from the same live performance, but your version is around 1:30 minutes longer than on the EMI-Pakistan LP version (and also on the corresponding digital download). It took me a while to realise that this is a different edit to the version released on the LP. The sound is clearer, though there is more background noise and a section around 1:30 minutes long (starting around 4:00 minutes) has been cut out for the version issued on the LP. Quite exactly what has been going on here is not exactly clear, as it seems likely that some editing has been carried out in India and some in Pakistan. The longer version has some coughing on behalf of Bade Ghulam, and possibly this has been cut out and is the reason for the shortened version making its appearance on the LP.

Attached is a pdf file with a track by track listing of the original  sources for the Shalimar RBC CD. I stress that though the source recording is the same, it seems that these have been all reedited for the Shalimar release. This may have entailed going back to the original 78 RPM’s /EP and re-transcribing them in digital format. I don’t know if
they had access to the original Radio Pakistan recording (presumably done on acetate discs?) but it seems likely as it is around 1:30 longer than on the EMI-Pakistan LP.

Track by track source material for CD Music Pakistan

So here you go folks! Pristine Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan.



The Big Man: Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan


Continuing with the Music Pakistan CD Box Set, today we share the playable part of Vol. 53.  If you’ve followed this blog and are aware of the Music Pakistan Box Set you’ll know that about 7 of the original CDs were very poorly reproduced.  To the point of being unlistenable. Some tracks were so corrupted by clicks and cracks and other distortion, they rendered the music completely unlistenable.  Other tracks simply don’t play.

And sadly, this is the case for this volume. Of the 10 tracks only 4 are not completely damaged. Luckily, they include a complete rendition of Raga Bhopali and a few other morsels.  Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan himself needs no introduction to lovers of Hindustani gayaki.  Claimed by both India and Pakistan as a native son (and both are true!) Bade Ghulam Ali Khansahib is truly the Big Man of classical Hindustani vocal singing of the first half of the 20th century.

I’ve included a complete set list below but remember, only the first four tracks are presentable.  I’ve also had to improvise a cover for the CD as the original is missing as well.

With those (hopefully acceptable caveats) I present to you volume 53 of Music Pakistan Box Set.


Music Pakistan Nr.53 Classical Vocal

Track Listing:

53-01 Raag Bhopali – Tit Bitat Ghan

53-02 Raag Peelo – Saiyaan Bolo

53-03 Raag Kamode – Chadde Mora Aanchal

53-04 Raag Peelo Thumri – Kankar Maar Jagaiye

53-05 Raag Kajri – Nainan Morey Taras Gayay

53-06 Raag Kedara – Naveli Naar

53-07 Raag Gujri Todi – Bhor Bhai Tori

53-08 Raag Paraj – Latkhat Chalat

53-09 Raag Malkauns – Mandir Dekh

53-10 Raag Jaijaivanti – Un Ki


Gharanon ki Gayaki: Hameed Ali Khan and Fateh Ali Khan


Fateh Ali Khan and Hameed Ali Khan

Thank you to a reader of this blog for pointing out that in wrapping up this series of  20 volumes of classical singing from Pakistan I have neglected Volume 18!  And he is right! Apologies for that!

I had the pleasure of hearing Ustad Fateh Ali Khan, one of the featured voices on this volume, in an openair concert in Karachi several years ago. He was a mesmerising presence. I remember he sang an old raga Malkauns and held the audience in the palm of his hand. He sat tall and straight holding his swarmandal in his lap. With eyes closed he started slowly sometimes seeming to do nothing more than groan. But as he sang on the intensity and urgency built and before long his eyes were fully dilated and his open palm at the end of his long extended arm rising and falling with drama.  This was the first I had heard him and of course he stole the show. A genuine master for whom the title ustad is absolutely appropriate.

Bearing the same name as one of the all time great singers of gayaki Fateh Ali Khan‘s life is less well known and documented than his namesake and brother of Amanat Ali Khan.  Even more so his brother and singing partner Hameed Ali Khan. So sadly, I’m not able to share many biographical details with you but then again, probably if you asked them, they would refer you back to the music anyway.

The brothers were proponents of the Gwalior gharana (the other Fateh Ali Khan and Hamid Ali Khan belong to the Patiala gharana) about which I’ve provided a bit of information in earlier posts. But here is another take on that old school of singing which you might enjoy as well.

And so, though a bit out of chronlogical order, this series on Gharanon ki Gayaki does end with this post. I hope you’ve enjoyed it and that these recordings will accompany you on your way for many years in the future.

ghar 18

Track Listing:

01. Kafi Kanra

02. Gandhari

03. Bairagi

04. Bhopali

05. Gujri Todi

06. Puriya Kalyan


Gharanon ki Gayaki: Ustad Hafiz Khan and Ustad Mohammad Afzal Khan Talwandiwale


Ustad Hafiz Ali Khan Talwandiwale

And so dear (and patient) friends, we come to the end of this amazing collection of Hindustani classical gayaki (singing).  Volume 20 is probably my favourite because it features the truly unique approach to khyal of the Talwandi brothers, Mohammad Afzal Khan and Hafiz Khan.  The history of the Talwandi gharana and its two great proponents is beautifully and comprehensively described in this article which I transcribe in full below.  I have no doubt you’ll find it fascinating and illuminating. Not to mention the wonderful music absolutely riveting.


Khalid Basra and Richard Widdess

The traditions of dhrupad that are current today can perhaps be grouped
together on a regional basis. The centre stage, geographically
speaking, is held by the temple and court traditions of Mathura, Agra
and Rajasthan; these traditions are interconnected and are especially
associated with the Dagar bani.1 To the east are the court traditions
of Bihar — primarily those of Darbhanga and Bettiah — and of Vishnupur
in Bengal; these traditions are again interconnected, and are
associated with the Khandar or Kandahar bani.2 In the west, dhrupad is
said to have been popular as recently as the 1920’s or ’30’s in the
Panjab, where it was cultivated by, among others, members of the
Talwandi gharana. Today, however, few singers of dhrupad are known to
represent this western tradition; this article is therefore a
preliminary attempt to establish the history and characteristics of the
Talwandi gharana, and its relationship to the other regional traditions.
It is based on conversations with Ustad Hafiz Khan Talvandivale of
Lahore, who claims membership of the Talwandi khandan and is one of the
very few dhrupad singers currently active in Pakistan; and supplemented
with information from other sources, especially Pandit D. C. Vedi of
Delhi, who was trained in dhrupad by members of the Talwandi gharana in
the 1920’s.

Ustad Hafiz Khan3 was born about fifty years ago in Faisalabad
(Pakistan) in a distinguished family of dhrupad singers. He and his
elder brother, Ustad Muhammad Afzal Khan, received training from their
father, Miyan Mehr Ali Khan (born 1913), for about forty years until the
latter’s death in 1976. This training included learning hundreds of
“family dhrupads”, other genres of vocal music, musical grammar, the
repertoires of ragas and talas, and the distinguishing features of the
Talwandi gharana style. The long years of learning, practice and
performance have given Hafiz Khan a thorough command of the musical
tradition handed down by his father. Claims to the antiquity of Hafiz
Khan’s heritage are supported by the richness and internal logic of his
body of knowledge and by his practical mastery. Today he and his elder
brother sing together; his nephew, Labrez Khan, is in training.

According to Hafiz Khan the musical style of the Talwandi gharana
is the “Khanderi bani”; this style was originated by one Nayak
Khanderi, who lived before Amir Khusrau. From him the tradition passed
in turn to Nayaks Mahagat, Baiju, and Baksu, and from Baksu to two
musicians at Akbar’s court, Nayak Cand Khan and Nayak Suraj Khan.
According to D.C. Vedi, these two were the founders of the Talwandi
gharana (cf. Gosvami 1971, ch. 8, citing B.K. Roycaudhuri). Cand Khan
of Gwalior, singer, appears as no.20 in the contemporary list of Akbar’s
court musicians recorded in the Ain-i-Akbari(Jarret 1949:612). Suraj
Khan’s name is not in the list, but according to Ahmad (1984) he was
Cand Khan’s younger brother. According to Hafiz Khan, however, it was
a third singer at the Mughal court, one Nayak Malk Nathanji, to whom
Akbar gave the village of Talwandi in the Panjab; Nathanji does not
appear in the Ain list, and his relationship to Cand and Suraj is not

Until 1947 Hafiz Khan’s family were landowners in Talwandi Rai, a
small town in the Jagraon tahsil, Ludhiana District, situated about 6
kilometres north-west of Raikot (Census of India, 1971); Mr Vedi
independently confirmed that the seat of the Talwandi gharana was in
Ludhiana district. This Talwandi was reputedly founded in the 15th
century by the Rai (Muslim Rajput) chieftain Kalha I, whose descendents
were feudatories of the Lodi and Mughal empires (Suri 1970:73 ff.). One
of the Rais is said to have been executed by Akbar (for refusing the
emperor his daughter), as a result of which land in the neighbourhood of
Talwandi could have become at Akbar’s disposal; the practice of donating
land to favoured court-musicians is well known, at least from a later
period (cf. Vyauhar 1986). There is no reference to Talwandi Rai in the
Ain-i-Akbari, however; the Talwandi listed there was in the Rechnau
Doab, in modern Sialkot District (Jarrett 1949: II, 323; cf. Akbar-nama
III, 537-8; Habib 1982: Map 4A).

Hafiz Khan remembers the names of numerous descendents of
Nathanji, but their relationships and dates are not always clear.
Nathanji’s six sons were allegedly in the employ of Jahangir, and their
names include Malk Jahangirdad Khan, Parvezdad Khan, Khurramdad Khan,
Chatar Khan, and Hamza Khan. These musicians are attested in the Iqbal-
nama-i-Jahangiri (Bibliotheca Indica edition p. 308), where their names
are included in a list of six “Indian musicians” (naghma-sarayan-i hind)
active at the time of Jahangir.4 The sixth member of the Iqbal-nama
list, Makhu, is replaced in Hafiz Khan’s list with either Mullah Khazar
or Sheikh Noi; the latter is perhaps to be identified with the Ustad
Muhammad Na’i who appears in the Iqbal-nama as a musician of presumably
non-Indian origin, but if so it is unlikely that he was a son of

Hafiz Khan’s list of ancestors continues with Bade Mannu Khan,
Chote Mannu Khan, Qaim Khan, Burhan Khan, Islam Khan, Miyan Attar, and
Qalandar Bakhs. Although all are said to have been employed by the
later Mughals or other rulers, we have not yet identified them through
documentary evidence. Qalandar Bakhs was a binkar in the service of the
Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir about a hundred years ago, and his name is
remembered by binkars today (information from Shamsuddin Faridi). From
this point the family relationships become more clear:

Qalandar Bakhs
———————————– ———————————– ———-
Qurban Ali Haidar Bakhs
| |
———————————– ———————————– ———-
| |
Fateh Ali daughter
———————————– ———————————– ———-
Maula Bakhs
| |
Mehr Ali
———————————– ———————————– ———-
(1913-76) | (d. 1988)
———————————– ———————————– ———-
Mohammad Afzal Mohammad Hafiz

Having lost his father while still young, Mehr Ali Khan learned
mostly from his uncle and father-in-law Maula Bakhs6, who was known to
D.C. Vedi in Lahore in the 1920’s as a fine dhrupad singer and the
teacher of Mehr Ali. Hafiz Khan himself learned music from his father,
but he heard much of the family’s oral history from his mother, Maula
Bakhs’s daughter; he has a fund of colouful stories about Nathanji and
other musicians of the Mughal period.

The Talwandi gharana as represented by Hafiz Khan gives the
appearance of an almost self-contained family tradition, maintained over
many generations through the ownership of land (giving some measure of
financial security) and through cousin marriage, a practice that in many
Muslim gharanas served to restrict access to the family’s hereditary
knowledge (Neuman 1980:98). In the past, however, there were other
musicians that claimed affiliation to the Talwandi gharana: they
included one Murad Ali Khan, active in Calcutta in the mid-19th century
(Ray 1980), and D.C. Vedi’s first teachers, Uttam Singh (of Amritsar)
and Gurumukh Singh, neither of whom were professional musicians. These
names are not known to Hafiz Khan, and we do not yet know how they were
connected to his family, which he claims is the central khandan and now
the only practising branch of the gharana.

Hafiz Khan presents a distinctive ideology of dhrupad, in which Islam
entirely replaces the Hindu frame of reference adopted by most dhrupad
musicians (both Hindus and Muslims) in India. Nayak Khanderi and the
Nayaks who succeeded him were all Muslims, according to Hafiz Khan, and
they received their inspiration directly from God; there is thus for
him no element of folk or temple music in the historical background to
dhrupad. The distinguishing characteristic of alap and dhrupad is
their spirituality (ruhaniyat), and the objective in singing them is
zikr-e-ilahi, “Praising the name of God”. Thus in place of the mantra
“om ananta narayana hari om” used by Indian dhrupad singers in alap,
Hafiz Khan sings “nita tarana tarana Allah tero nam”7; even the word
alap derives, in Hafiz Khan’s opinion, from “Allah ap”. Training in
alap is divided into four stages called sari’at, tariqat, haqiqat and
ma’rifat : these are named after four stages of successively deeper
mystical experience and understanding — respectively, “Islamic law”,
“way, path (to enlightenment)”8, “truth”, and “knowledge”.

Alap and dhrupad of the Talwandi gharana are thus religious in
character and objective, as in most other traditions, but in an Islamic
guise. Whether this has always been so is impossible to say; on the
one hand the experience of partition has no doubt influenced the
religious perspective of musicians on both sides of the border (it may
be noted that Mr Vedi does not promote an Islamic interpretation of
dhrupad), but on the other hand it is quite possible that a similar view
would have been held, for example, by Muslim singers at the Mughal court
in the 17th-18th centuries, or at Lucknow in the 19th century.

The primary focus in alap is of course development of the rag, in
both its structural and aesthetic aspects. Hafiz Khan lays great
stress on maintaining the “purity” of the rag at all times. The
kalavant should observe not only the structure of the rag but also the
appropriate rasam — one of four emotional states that the kalavant has
to enter for proper rendition of the rag — and the appropriate cal or
gait; there are four cals named after different animals — elephant,
deer, snake and lion. Correctly performed, a rag has not only
aesthetic but also magical or medicinal properties; thus Pilu is a cure
for melancholia, Bhimpalasi cures excessive worldliness, Darbari cures
insomnia, headaches and fever, and Malhars and Kalyans increase and
reduce blood-pressure respectively. Hafiz Khan’s colourful musical
lore is entirely typical of the 19th and early 20th century Muslim
gharanas, though its elements go back many centuries earlier.

The musical repertory of the Talwandi gharana, as demonstrated by
Hafiz Khan, includes many different genres of vocal music: alap,
dhrupad, dhamar, sthayi-antara (an old name for vilambit khyal), khyal
(= drut khyal), ghazal, dadra, kafi, etc. Alap is the finest of these,
from which all the others are derived; he treats it as a separate genre
from the others, not merely as an introduction to the main item of
performance. It is only in alap that the rag can produce its effect;
a minimum of words is employed so as not to overburden its delicate
passages, words being seen as ultimately foreign or intrusive elements.
Alap employs twelve tans or methods of linking successive notes; these
tans are analogous to the ten laksanas of the Dagar bani (Sanyal 1986).
Their names are as follows (the order is variable; discussion of their
musical characteristics will be reserved for a future study): sarak,
marak, lag, dat, rula, capka, gidda, dhamalla, thok, mind, gamak, sut.

These tans have been allocated to different rags in varying numbers.
For instance in Bhairvin, Malkauns and various other suddh rup rags all
the 12 tans can be employed, but in Adana-Bahar only gamak and capka
tans are permitted. Ornamentations associated with the lighter styles
— including murkhi, phanda, gitkri, and zamzama — are forbidden in alap
as they would destroy its serious character.

The four stages of alap — sari’at, tariqat, haqiqat and ma’rifat —
demand progressively more elaborate development of the rag. In sari’at
the artist should display the essential grammatical structure of the
rag, including aroh, avroh, vadi, samvadi, ang, rup, and sur ke darje.
Ang refers to the location of vadi in uttarang or purvang; rup denotes
the use of vakra passages. The darjas are microtonal increments of
pitch, there being seven to each scale degree: four below the suddha
pitch (komal, at komal, sinkar and at sinkar in descending order), and
three above (tivr tam, tar tivr, and tivr, in ascending order9). Only
in the fourth stage, ma’rifat, would all the tans be used (if permitted
in the rag), and only in this stage would medium and fast tempi, as well
as slow, be employed. The development of the last two stages, haqiqat
and ma’rifat, is said to be a speciality of the Talwandi gharana.

The four stages represent the successive stages of learning; only
the last would actually be performed by a master. In published
recordings of Hafiz Khan and his elder brother a progression of slow
unmeasured, rubato rhythm, through medium fast to very fast pulsed
rhythm is evident, as in most other dhrupad traditions. Two features
of these recordings are particularly remarkable. First, the two
brothers sing in unison or near unison for much of the time; it is only
in the approach to upper sa in the initial slow portion, and for
passages in the subsequent faster portions, that one singer (apparently
Hafiz Khan, the junior brother) sings alone. The proportion of the
alap that is spontaneously improvised is apparently not as large as we
are accustomed to hearing nowadays; one is reminded of early recordings
of the senior Dagar brothers, in which they sometimes sang long passages
in unison, and (significantly) of Mr Vedi’s style of teaching, which is
heavily dependent on memorized passages (see van der Meer 1980: 30-49
and 215-25 for a transcription and analysis of a typical example).
Secondly, the speed of articulation in the fast alap is extreme,
resembling that of the Bihar school.

Hafiz Khan’s repertory of dhrupad compositions includes five distinct

tuk — a vilambit dhrupad comprising two sections (tuk) only, asthai
and antara ; it can be composed in various tals.

aslok — an elaborate composition having four tuks (asthai, antara,
sancai and abhog ). The language is generally Sanskritized. The
laya is fast, and various fast tals such as Sulphakhta, Mat tal and
Git tal (similar to Hindustani Tivra tal) are used.

cautara — the “major” dhrupad genre. It has four tuks and is
composed only in Cartal (= Cautal). The laya is vilambit and allows
for maximum rhythmic variation. The intricate lay-bat is usually
done only in this variety of dhrupad.

drut dhrupad — as its name implies, this type is distinguished by its
fast tempo, in any tal. It is different from aslok in that its
language does not have to be Sanskritized, and it is not essential
for it to have four tuks.

hori dhamar — this variety of dhrupad is sung in dhamar tal. The
poetic content is usually playful, eulogizing spring and natural and
physical beauty. It has a dancing gait to its rhythm and its
rhythmic pattern is different from all other kinds of dhrupad. Hori
is thought to be a “light” genre amongst the dhrupads and is usally
sung after the “serious” cautaras. Accordingly the rhythmic
development in hori dhamar can be more free than in other dhrupads.

Typical subjects for Talwandi dhrupads are the seasons, mysticism,
and Hindu mythology. The authorship of the various compositions is not
yet ascertained.


Hafiz Ali Khan and Labrez Afzal Khan

The major difference between a dhrupad and a khyal performance,
however, is felt not to be the composition itself — since in many cases
the same composition could be sung as either a dhrupad or a khyal10 —
but the method of development. In dhrupad, the development is entirely
rhythmic (lay-bat) the words and melody of the composition are repeated
at different speeds relative to the underlying tal, or with distorted
rhythm. The tans of khyal are of course forbidden. Furthermore the
asthai or antara of the dhrupad is to be sung in its entirety while
singing lay-bat: Hafiz Khan disapproves of the common practice of
improvising on small segments of the composition, except in hori dhamar.
In fact, to judge by available information, the use of pre-composed
rather than improvised lay-bat may be a characteristic of the Talwandi
style. In recorded performances the Talwandi brothers sing lay-bat
simultaneously in perfect unison, even at the fastest speeds; and Mr
Vedi also favours carefully calculated lay-bat, at least as a foundation
for improvisation. Hafiz Khan believes that all lay-bat should end on
sam; he does not recognize the principles of atit and anaghat whereby
the improvisation, in some traditions, can end just before or just after
the sam respectively.

In conclusion, it is clear that the Talwandi gharana, as represented
in Pakistan by Muhammad Afzal and Muhammad Hafiz Khan, constitutes a
distinct and important tradition of vocal art-music, with special
emphasis on alap and dhrupad.11 Deshpande’s statement that “some
gharanas, like … the ‘Tilwandi’ gharana … have already disappeared
from the scene” (1973:5) is apparently premature. The style of dhrupad
performed by these brothers is perhaps closer to that of the Bihar and
Bengal traditions than to that of the Dagar family: this is suggested,
for example, by the extremely fast concluding portions of alap, and by
the highly complex, pre-composed rhythmic variations in chegun and
atgun. Another feature common to the Talwandi, Bihar and Vishnupur
traditions is the fact that they all claim the Khandar, Kandahar or
Khanderi bani. Musical links between these three traditions, if
correct, could perhaps be attributed to their common origin in the
Mughal court at the time of Akbar. Considerably more research is
needed, however, both into the styles and repertories of all the
surviving dhrupad traditions, and into their social histories, before
the broad picture tentatively sketched here can be confirmed or
superseded.12  (original article with footnotes)

ghar 20

Track Listing:

01. Adana Bahar

02. Mian ka Malhar

03. Multani

04. Hussaini