A Pair of Icons: Buddy Rich and Alla Rakha

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An eleven year old boy sits by a river in the mountains of north India gazing into the rippling stream.  He’s torn up inside. He’s been bewitched by music—especially drums—for as long as he can remember but his family of farmers and military men aren’t happy.  They don’t want to hear anymore of his bleating about wanting to study the tabla. His mother has managed to broker a ceasefire and convince the boy’s father to allow him to take some singing lessons from a local teacher.

 

The boy finds solace by staring into the river. And recently he’s been seeing the face of an old man looking back at him from below the watery surface. Sometimes he swears he can hear the man whisper, “Look for me. You must find me.”

 

At last his family agrees to let the boy take some drumming lessons from Ustad Lal Mohammad.  The boy is overjoyed.  But is intrigued by his teacher’s frequent reference to another man, Kader Baksh, as the ‘great master’ of tabla. The boy learns to play tabla as well as pakhawaj, the barrel shaped drum that accompanies dhrupad singing which he is also learning.

 

He is pleased with what his mother has managed to accomplish but his insides still burn.  Without notice the boy makes the decision to leave home in Jammu and go to the bright lights and big city of Lahore, a day’s journey down the mountains.  Once he arrives he goes to hear a dhrupad singer perform and manages to convince the show’s organiser that he can sit in for the pakhawaj player who has failed to show up.  The show must go on, and though sceptical of the precocious 12 year old, the singer and organiser agree.

 

In the following days word spreads through Lahore’s large community of musicians about the little kid that accompanied the singer so expertly. His taals were impeccable.  And he never lost or messed up the tempo. It’s as if he’s been playing for 20 years not just a few.

These whispers reach the ears of an old Ustad who arranges for the kid to be brought to his baithak to see for himself who everyone is talking about.  ‘I’m Kader Baksh,’ the old man says. The boy instantly recognises him as the face of the man in the river.  When Baksh asks the boy who he studies with, the boy replies immediately, ‘You.’

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The boy in this true story is A.R. Qureshi aka Alla Rakha. After several years of ustad/shagird with Kader Baksh, Alla Rakha found employment with All India Radio in Delhi and then Bombay where he tried to establish himself as a music director (with some limited success). But performing was his true passion and through the early 1950s he performed and made recordings with the likes of Ustad Vilayat Ali Khan and an up-and-coming sarod player named Ali Akbar Khan, whom he accompanied on his radio debut.

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Alla Rakha

In 1958 he joined Ravi Shankar on a tour of Japan which proved to be Fateful for both men. In each other they discovered a kindred spirit: someone open to new musical ideas and unafraid to take chances.  Over the next 25 years or so Alla Rakha accompanied the sitarist on all his international tours and recordings and thanks to their performing in several major American music festivals (Monterey Jazz, Woodstock and the Concert for Bangladesh in New York) he became the most famous tabla player in the world.

Not only was Ravi Shankar an adventurous musical soul he was a star who didn’t mind sharing the limelight. On stage he insisted that Alla Rakha sit next to him (rather than sightly behind him, where accompanists usually positioned themselves) and regularly gave him space to solo and showcase his dazzling finger skills.   Indeed, the pair became one of the most famous performing duos in music.  Not only were both men supreme maestros of their instruments but they enjoyed a deep connection and understanding that made their music appear completely unitary.

 

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Buddy Rich

In 1968 as young America’s interest in Indian classical music was surging to its peak Alla Rakha made a landmark record with the big band jazz drummer Buddy Rich. Rich, like Alla Rakha, is an icon, often ranked very near the top of any list of ‘greatest drummers’ regardless of genre.  Rich was an exuberant, hot tempered man who frequently alienated friends and peers but, at the same time, “was one of the most technically gifted drummers to ever walk our planet. He had incredible speed and control, power and touch.”

 

Ravi Shankar composed several compositions for both men to play together and brought in smooth jazz flautist Paul Horn (who studied meditation in Rishikesh at the same time as The Beatles in 1968) as well as sitarist Shamim Ahmed to create a musical space within which the two geniuses could experiment.  The album Rich ala Rakha, which we share today, is a milestone in the ‘jazz meets Indian classical music’ story.

 

Of the three studio tracks with Buddy Rich, two feature Rich on the drumkit, while one is a duet between Rich on dholak and Rakha on tabla. The opening track, Khanda Kafi is set to a five-beat cycle, known as khanda, with the flute and sitar playing a melody in the kafi scale, hence the combined title.   Buddy Rich takes a drumkit solo in the 5/4 rhythm cycle, followed by Alla Rakha’s solo. The second track, Duet in Dadra, captures a spontaneous jam between the two drummers in the six-beat cycle of dadra.

But the most satisfying part of the record is the third and final collaboration…the only piece where they enter into a genuine dialogue on their respective instruments. Rangeela begins as a calypso-flavored composition by Shankar, played by Paul Horn on flute and Shamim Ahmed on sitar. Eventually, Rich and Rakha engage in a jawab-sawal dialogue in which they goal each other with a series of phrases traded back and forth. As the tempo increases and the phrases get shorter they join together and play a steadily building crescenco on the tabla and snare drum, increasing in volume and culminating in a dramatic tihai that complete an exhilarating performance.” (The Dawn of Indian Music in the West by Peter Lavezzoli, pg. 106)

 

This record is sometimes sniffed at by jazz snobs but it is in fact one of real significance. It is hard to imagine that any of Zakir Hussain‘s (Alla Rakha’s son) many collaborations would have been able to happen without this record.  Indeed, many jazz and rock drummers, including Mickey Hart of  The Grateful Dead, have cited the album and Allah Rakha generally as a huge inspiration.

 

In my opinion this is a fantastic album. I hope you think so to.

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Track Listing:

01 Khanda Kafi

02 Duet in Dadra

03 Rangeelā

04 Nagma E Raksh

05 Tal Sawari

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Dikkat mein Aaram: Music in a time of Coronarvirus

Microscopic view of Coronavirus, a pathogen that attacks the respiratory tract. Analysis and test, experimentation. Sars

Such beautiful specimens. Such disruptive little buggers. Here we go folks, Australia is heading toward lockdown and who knows when I’ll return to the office. Or the kids to their classrooms. Our holidays are cancelled. The local shop’s shelves are empty of the essentials (apparently even Oreos and Spicy Japanese Mayo are essential to human survial). And I’m getting ready for a long bout of cabin fever.

Perhaps you too will be feeling the pain of isolation. Loss of social life. Uncertainty about the health and wellbeing of your loved ones. Maybe you’re already there (in Europe, or China or South Korea) and are ready to punch someone in the face.

In such situations the only solution is not to stay calm and listen to Trump and Macron and Boris and Modi and Imran. They’re as nervous and uncertain as you. Except more. They have whole nations to hold up and hold together.

No, the solution, as is almost always the case, music.

And so dear friends, as you head off into the uncertain future of the next few months (and I pray you and I all come out of it in one piece at the other end) here is a swag of records to keep you compnay. A bit of Pakistani, India, Bangladeshi and diaspora sounds you can use to inspire you when you’re sitting all alone and blue and nervous. And Fed up.

Number 1: Magic Carpet (Magic Carpet)

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Magic Carpet was a pioneering British psychedelic folk band of musicians that first appeared in the early 1970s.

The band members were Clem Alford, sitar; Alisha Sufit, voice and guitar; Jim Moyes, guitar; and Keshav Sathe, Indian tabla percussion. In 1972 the band released an eponymous album, Magic Carpet, on the Mushroom (UK) label that has since become a sought-after item in the international collectors’ vinyl market.

The Magic Carpet album has been described as ‘a jewelled crown in the treasure trove of psyche-tinged folk music’ Magic Carpet being one of the very first bands to truly combine Indian and western instrumentation. After a launch at the 100 Club, London, UK, the Magic Carpet band performed at Cleo Laine and Johnny Dankworth’s Wavendon, enjoyed airplay on Pete Drummond’s Sounds of the Seventies on BBC Radio, plus made several club and festival appearances. However, this novel collective split up shortly after the first album was released. It was only after a lapse of some fifteen years that recognition followed.

Widely and more positively reviewed, the original Magic Carpet album was reissued on CD and vinyl by the UK Magic Carpet Records label.

Seven of the vocal tracks written by Sufit employ modal tunings in the guitar accompaniment. These ‘open’ guitar tunings, first introduced and popularized by musicians such as Davey Graham and Joni Mitchell, are supremely compatible with the modal tuning of the sitar, allowing a true integration of sounds. Sufit’s vocals feature on nine of the twelve tracks, the remaining three being purely instrumental.

Track Listing:

01 The Magic Carpet

02 The Phoenix

03 Black Cat

04 Alan’s Christmas Card

05 Harvest Song

06 Do You Hear The Worlds

07 Father Time

08 La La

09 Peace Song

10 Take Away Kesh

11 High Street

12 The Dream

13 Raga (Bonus)

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Number 2: Live in Concert: The Famous Qawwal of Lucknow Afsar Hussein Khan (Afsar Hussein Khan)

Some fine Lucknavi qawwali from Afsar sahib. In a space that lies between commercial and art, the work of Afsar Hussein Khan is weightless but not light weight and spiritual but not over spiritual.  Perfect when you feel the only solution to your boredom (asoodgi) and viral news is divine intervention.

download Afsar Husain Khan & Party - back

Ttack Listing:

01. Aaj Racho Hai Basant

02. Bekhud Kiye Dete Hain Andaz-e-Hijabana

03.Ye Hai Maikada Yahan Rind Hain

04. Sukoon-e-Dil Ke Liye Kuchh To Ehtaman Karoon

05.Asoodgi Se Ishq-e-Jawan Ko Bachaiye

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Number 3: Mirza Ghalib: A Portrait of a Genius (Various Artists)

A really fine collection of poems by the one and only Mirza Ghalib of Delhi. Short snippets (way to short by my reckoning) read by the sonorous Gulzar followed by elegant renditions by Lata Mangeshkar, Mohammad Rafi, Begum Akhtar, Mahendra Kapoor, C.H. Atma and hubby and wife Jagjit and Chitra Singh (separately, not together).  Thanks to long time reader of this blog Swarint for this collection!

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Track Listing:

01 Zikr Us Parivash Ka (Mohammad Rafi)

02 Ye Na Thi Hamari Qismat (Begum Akhtar)

03 Muddat Hui Hui (Mohammad Rafi)

04 Ae Taaza Vaaridan-E-Bisat-E-Huwa-E-Dil (Mohammad Rafi)

05 Qad-O-Gaysoo (Mohammad Rafi)

06 Sab Kahan (Begum Akhtar)

07 Bus Ke Dushwar Hai (Mohammad Rafi)

08 Nukta Chin Hai (Mohammad Rafi)

09 Bazeecha-E-Atfaal Hai (Mohammad Rafi)

10 Hazaron Khwahishen Aesi Ke Har Par Dam Nikle (Lata Mangeshkar)

11 Na Hui Gar Mere Marne Se Tasalli Na Suhi (Mukesh)

12 Kabhi Neke Bhi Uske Jee Mein Gar Aaj Aye Hai Mujse (Asha Bhosle)

13 Hairan Hoon Dil Ko Roun Ke Peeton Jigar Ko Main (C.H. Atma)

14 Main Hoon Mushtaq-E-Jafa Mujh Pe Jafa Aur Sahi (Mahendra Kapoor)

15 Kab Se Hoon Kya Bataoon Jahan-E-Kharab Mein (Chitra Singh)

16 Phir Kuchh Is Dil Ko Beqarri Hai (Jagjit Singh)

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Number 4: Bright Moments (Mehnaz)

Mehnaz. Carving a career \out in the shadow of an international icon is never an enviable task. But this chubby cheeked Karachi girl was not only up the task but in the reckoning of many of her peers, she succeeded so eminently and hers  is a talent second only to the majestic Noor Jehan. Or indeed, her own mother

Mehnaz was the daughter of a superstar, Kajjan Begum a ghazal singer and early pioneer of film music who in her lifetime was beloved all across the Indian sub-continent.  It was inevitable that she would follow in her mother’s footsteps and take up a career as a singer. But that she was able to make her own independent, revered and respected mark as an artist and overcome the comparisons and legacy of two of the greatest singers in Indo-Pak culture is something to pause and reflect upon.

In a time before Spotify, when artists like Mehnaz actually recorded albums, Mehnaz lent her name to a collection of her filmi hits entitled Bright Moments. In South Asian music this sort of record, one that was not tied to a specific film soundtrack, was called a ‘private’ record.  Bright Moments seems to be a semi-private album. Made up of film songs but marketed to a non-filmi audience who simply wanted to listen to Mehnaz’s lovely voice.  The title even suggests it was targetted at an English speaking middle class category of consumer.

Anyway, strip away the packaging, and what awaits you are several solid popular film songs by one of Pakistan’s most beloved voices.

Mehnaz Bright Moments

Track Listing:

01 Ik Gunah Aur Sahi

02 La De Re La De Re

03 Payalya Nighori Sataye

04 Pyar Karen Ge Pal Pal

05 Renan Jagaye

06 Sonay Do Raat Ke Ho Gaye Ponay Do

07 Wadah Hai Dil Tujh Ko Doon Gi

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Number 5.  Bangladesh – Chants de Lalon Shah (Farida Parveen)

Mrs. Farida Parveen, one of the top singers in Bangladesh, has given new life to traditional Bengali religious music, ‘Baul songs’. She has performed on numerous occasions on TV and in films, and has been very active on the international stage.

Mrs. Farida was born in Natore in the western part of present Bangladesh in 1954, and was brought up in Kushtia. She learned the Sargam (Indian musical scale) in her early childhood. At the age of 6, she became a pupil of a famous music master, the great Ustad Ibrahim, to learn classical music. When she became 13, she started to sing for Rajshahi radio station. In the Bengal region, mystic teachings about union between humanity and divinity have had a powerful influence on local daily life for centuries, and ‘Bauls’ ? mystic devotees who present these teachings in song as wandering minstrels – have played an important role. Among them, Fakir Lalon Shah was regarded as the most outstanding baul of the 18th and 19th centuries, and Rabindranath Tagore was strongly influenced by him. In Kushtia, where Lalon was mainly based, a festival dedicated to him has been held annually. Mrs. Farida’s encounter with Lalon’s songs there led her to collect and classify a great many songs of his at the same time she started her singing career.

When she was at Rajshahi University reading Bangla literature, she established the foundation of her career by becoming a nationally popular singer with patriotic songs and songs of the Liberation War as well as Lalon’s songs. She produced LP records, and sang for TV programs and films. In 1987, she received the Ekushey Padak (one of the highest civilian awards in Bangladesh), and in 1993, was given the National Film Award for Best Female Playback Singer. The high reputation that she has won has established her as one of the most prestigious singers in Bangladesh. She has performed in many different countries, including France, the U.S., and Japan (2002), to introduce Baul songs to the world.

With a solid foundation in Indian classical music, Mrs. Farida has rendered remarkable services to raise the artistic standing of traditional Bangladeshi religious music, Baul song, and to have this listed as one of UNESCO’s Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. Her contribution to raising the status of Baul song and to its international promotion has been immense, and therefore, she is truly worthy of the Arts and Culture Prize of the Fukuoka Prize

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Track Listing:

01 Pare loye jao amay

02 Khanchar bhitor ochin pakhi

03 Teen pagole holo mela

04 Rup kather ei nauka khani

05 Barir kache arshi-nagar

06 Lalon koy jaatir kee roop

07 Ekta bod hawa

08 O shey bajay bansi

09 Milon hobe koto dine

10 Shomoy gele shadhon hobe na

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Kabir Mela: Classical Approaches

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For this fourth volume of Sant Kabir’s music we move away from slick pop production to the classical and semi-classical world.   This collection is really quite impressive.  A double CD of over 2 hours of music performed by a diverse group of India’s (Abida Parveen is the sole Pakistani represented) top rung classical singers.

The CD opens with a bhajan (Bhajo re Man) sung by brothers Rajan and Sajan Mishra which from the very opening taal locks into a trance-inducing rhythm powered by their powerful voices and a supportive tabla. The brothers represent the Benaras gharana, Kabir’s purported city of birth so this track is especially meaningful.  This is followed by Ustad Rashid Khan, arguably India’s greatest living classical singer, singing Dukh mein Sumiran

Dukh Mein Simran Sab Kare, Sukh Mein Kare Na Koye
Jo Sukh Mein Simran Kare, Tau Dukh Kahe Ko Hoye

Translation

In anguish everyone prays to Him,
in joy does none
To One who prays in happiness,
how can sorrow come

And so the music flows. Incredibly high quality singing, wonderful arrangements and diverse styles.  The scholar, entrepreneur and artist Shubha Mudgal contributes two tracks as does Pandit Sanjeev Abhyankar whose records should always be sought out.  He is one of my favourite bhajan masters.  Here he contributes a surprising (complete with piano, drums and guitar) interpretation of one of Kabir’s most beloved doheMano Laago Mero Yaar 

जो सुख पावो राम भजन में,
सो सुख नाही अमीरी में ॥

Translation

The ecstasy I get from chanting God’s name/is greater than the pleasure  I find in riches

Abida Parveen‘s stunning Sahib Mera Ek Hai (see earlier post) opens the second CD which in some way is the more interesting of the two if you are looking for a bit of change up in styles.  The CD ends up a very almost jaunty rendition of Jhini Jhini Chadariya by Rekha Bhardwaj.

Just dip into this collection at any point and you’ll be sucked in, blown away and elevated to another plane.  This is true devotional music. Mystical music that comes from the spirit but resonates with our very human, pumping and aching hearts.

A five star compilation.

 

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Track Listing:

Disc. 1

01 Bhajo re Man

02 Dukh Mein Sumiran

03 Na Kachu Ram Bina

04 Mero Haar Heraano

05 Beet Gaye Din

06 Mano Laago Mero Yaar

Disc. 2

01 Sahib Mera ek Hai

02 Amarpur le Chal ho Sajna

03 Saeen Bina Darad Kareje Hoye

04 Rehna Nahi

05 Bhajo re Bhaiya

06 Jhini Jhini Chadariya

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Kabir Mela: Abida Parveen

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This is a famous and popular album, combining as it does the poetry of Kabir, the voice of Abida Parveen and the compositional flare of Gulzar.  The very definition of “triple threat”.

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Abida Parveen needs no introduction. In a rough analysis she could be considered the female counterweight of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. The Empress to his Emperor.  A huge figure with a massive ecstatic voice that towers/ed above all rivals and peers. Their dedication to singing the kalam of Sindh’s (Abida) and Punjab’s (Nusrat) many Sufi poet philosophers unequalled over the past 30 years. I have written in other places of what an impression she created on me the only time I saw her live (at a semi private function at Islamabad’s old Marriott Hotel) and won’t go over that again.  Though a friend contacted me the other day to wonder if I’d be interested in seeing her when she’s in Melbourne early next year!

 

Gulzar, one of India’s cinematic icon’s (his lyrics, including for Jai Ho, and music as well as scripts and direction are universally lauded) was born in Jhelum district in present-day Pakistan. One of the thousands of figures who made their careers and names in ‘Bollywood’ after the 1947 Partition of British India and who hailed originally from what is now Pakistan, Gulzar has been a champion of cross-border amity his entire life.

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Gulzar

He conceived of this album and of Abida singing the dohe of Kabir. He selected the verses and composed the music.  Kabir’s writings have a special place in the Sikh religion, into which Gulzar was born in the mid-1930s.  Many of  Kabir’s sayings have been incorporated into the spiritual music as well as the scriptural writings of the Sikhs. So this is material that Gulzar has been exposed to since his childhood.

His deep voice opens each of the four tracks with a few words of praise, delivered in the crisp diction and efficient concision of the writer for both the poet and the singer. And as such these pithy introductions add their own nasha (intoxication) to the album.

Like the first album of Kabir’s music I shared, this one opens with his famous doha

Mann laago mero yaar fakiri mein
Mann laago mero yaar gareebi mein

Oh friend, my mind has
taken to living free!

This lyric speaks the joy of poverty, and the beauty of simplicity. [Here’s a nice explication of this bhajan if you’re interested.]

My personal favourite, however, is track 3:

Saahib mera ek hai, duja kaha na jaaye,
Duja Saahib jo kahun, saahib khada rachaaye.

My Lord is One, without a second,
If I see multiplicity, it is also my Lord’s play.

Maali aavat dekh ke, kaliyaan kare pukar,
Phool phool chun liye, kaal hamari baar.
Seeing the Master Gardener, the buds whisper to each other:
Fully blossomed ones are plucked away, our appointed day is near.
Chhah gayi chinta miti, manva beparvah
Jinko kachu na chaiye, woh hi Shahenshah.
If cravings are dissolved, worries go, mind becomes free,
He who wants nothing is surely the king of all kings.
Het preet sun jo mile, ta ko miliye dhaaye
Antar raakhe jo mile, taase mile balaaye.
You hasten to meet the ones who meet You with love,
Those who meet You with a pure heart, have indeed found a Friend unmatched.
Kabira te nar andh hai, guru ko kehte aur,
Har roothe Guru chhod hain, Guru roothe nahi chhod.
Kabir says, blinds are they who realize not the value of a true Master.
One may seek the shelter of God after displeasing God,
But there is no refuge after one is refused at the door of a Master.
Karta tha to kyun raha, ab kahe pachhtaye,
Bove pe babool ka, aam kahan se hoye.
Heedless I committed innumerable wrongs, now I suffer,
Nurturing the thistles of a barren tree, can one expect mango?
Sab Dharti kaagad karun, lekhan sab ban raaye,
Saat samand ki muss karun, Guru gun likha na jaye.
If the entire earth is a writing tablet, all the forest be its pen,
all waters of seven seas be its ink – even then the Lord’s praises remain unfinished.
Ab guru dil mein dekheya, gaavan ko kachhu naahin,
Kabira jab tum gaavate, tab jana Guru nahi.
Once the Lord is recognized within the heart, there is nothing left to be told,
Kabir, whenever you tried to utter the mysteries, the knowledge of your Master vanishes.
Main laaga uss ek se, ek bhaya sab maahin,
Sab mera main saban ka, tihan doosara naahin.
I am attached with that One, the One who is with all,
When everyone is mine, and I am everyone’s, there ends all duality.
Ja marne se jag dare, mere man anand,
Kab mar hun kab paahun, puran parmanand.
The world trembles at the thought of death, but its a matter of joy for me,
When shall I die, when shall I find the perfect joy (of the vision of the Beloved)?
Sab ban to chandan nahi, shoore ke dal nahi,
sab samundra moti nahi yun Sadhu jag mahi.
Neither all forests are of sandalwoods, nor all teams are full of valiant warriors,
nor all seas are filled with pearls; likewise the real gnostics of God are truly rare.
Jab hum jag mein pag dharyo, sab hanse hum roye,
Kabira ab aisi kar chalo, paache hansi na hoye.
When you came to this mortal world, everyone around you were happy to see you
and you were the only one weeping.
Kabir, now be in this world such that none laugh at your behind
but you yourself depart the world laughing, leaving all weeping, mourning.
Agun kiye to bahu kiye, karat na mani haar,
Bhaven banda bhakshe, bhaaven gardan maar.
Tirelessly so many misdeeds have been committed,
Now that I’ve realized O Lord, do as You please.
Sadhu bhukha bhaav ka, dhan ka bhookha naahin,
Dhan ka bhookha jo phire, so to Saadhu nahi.
Having no appetite for material wealth, true saints are hungry only for love,
Those who thirst after material wealth are not saintly at all.
Saahib sun sab hott hai, bande te kachhu naahin,
Rai te parbat kare, parbat rai mahi.
Listen friend! This world has nothing for you, vanity of vanities.
Seriously narrow is the passage to salvation, smaller even than the mustard seed.
Jyun til mahi tel hai, jyun chakmak mein aag,
Tera Sain tujh mein base, jaag sake to jaag.
Oil is found Inside the sesame seed, inside flinstone is fire, like that
Your Lord is within, now awaken to That truth if you dare!
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Track Listing:
 01. Man Laago Yaar Fakiri Mein
02. Souun to Sapne Milun
03. Sahib Mera Ek Hai
04. Bhala Hua Meri Matki Phut Gayi

Snake Charmer’s Orchestra: Iqbal Jogi and Party

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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