The Journey Continues: Lollywood Music

pak film

After a long break I’m making my way back to a project I announced several months ago. You may recall that right around New Year I passed the milestone of completing 700+ posts as a music blogger: across the original Washerman’s Dog, the current iteration and the Harmonium Music Blog. My commitment was to put together a series ( now called The Washerman’s Dog Anniversary Edition) of at least 700 songs that represent the types of music WD and THMB especially love.

I’ve long since lost track of the number of songs I’ve shared but so much remains. So today I share 34 tracks of Pakistani film music from between 1946 and 2013.

Existing in the shadow of the financially stronger industry across the border in India, the film music community in Pakistan was for many decades an unknown mystery to most music lovers. Beset by insufficient capital, political attitudes that swung between gentle neglect to outright hostility and a vociferous moral police Lollywood ( most of the studios were located in the eastern city, Lahore) struggled on, often only surviving on the personal artistic passion of the artists and technicians.

That’s the sad “factual” side of the story. But behind those facts lay a rich history of wonderful voices, actors, dancers and musical directors that had they had the resources and culturally approving environment of Indian stars, would have undoubtedly been as famous as the biggest egos and talents in Bombay.

In this collection my bias has leaned towards the faster pace songs, especially those of the awesome Nahid Akhtar and Runa Laila. Here you’ll hear similar sounds and arrangements as in Bollywood with a free and easy blending of guitars and sitars, moogs, pedal steel, brass and disco electronica. While official collaboration was a no-no until very recently, proximity (geographically and culturally) meant that cross fertilisation did take place. Ideas and titles of films were stolen by both sides and there has always been a big input of Pakistani vocal talent in Bollywood. In Pakistan Indian films and filmi music were and are greatly popular. In India there is an almost insatiable interest in Pakistani Sufi and ghazal singers.

But rare is the Indian who could hum any of these songs. There are some cross border favourites like Ghulam Ali’s ghazal Chupke Chupke Raat Din and Nur Jehan’s 1946 hit Awaaz De Kahan Hai, and the final two tracks that were popular in the last decade. But all of these films were Indian. The singers just happened to be Pakistani. Ask a music lover in Jabalpur or Calcutta to name only 1 Pakistani film and I’ll bet you won’t get a response.


Still, there’s always YouTube to catch some of them. And The Harmonium Music Blog to sample the music.


Maza looto!

Zambo Zambo

Track Listing”

01 Incidental Music from Khuda aur Mohabbat [Tafo Brothers]

02 Karachi Tak Dil Dhadke [Nur Jehan]

03 Kya Haseen Jism Hai [Mehnaz]

04 Ham to Hai Dil Diwana [Runa Laila]

05 Life Kuch Dino Ka [Nahid Akhtar]

06 Naacho Mere Yaar [Javed Sajjad]

07 Shola Bhardka [Nahid Akhtar]

08 Aaj To Ghair Sahi [Mehdi Hassan]

09 Awaz De Kahan [Nur Jehan and Surendar]

10 Dam Damadam Mast [Nahid Akhtar]

11 Us Bewafa Ka Shehar [Naseem Begum]

12 Tumhi Meheboob [Irene Parveen]

13 Zambo Zambo [Nahid Akhtar and Tafo Brothers]

14 Pyar Jo Hoya Nal Teray [Nur Jehaan]

15 Khumar Khumar Garza Nasha Nasha Garza [Nazia Iqbal]

16 Main Jis Dil Bhula Doon [Mehdi Hassan]

17 Barre Be Marawat Hain [Surriya Multanikar]

18 Jeenay Ki Rah [Tafo Brothers and Nahid Akhtar]

19 Tu Jo Nahin to Kuchh Bhi Nahin [S.B. John]

20 Yeh Alam Shauq Ka [Tahira Syed]

21 Ratain Thi Chandneen [Habib Wali Mohammad]

22 Society Girl [Nahid Akhtar]

23 Chand ke Saig Pe [Runa Laila]

24 Kaisa Jadugar Dilbar [Runa Laila]

25 Mohabbat Zindagi Hai [Mehdi Hassan]

26 Chupke Chupke Raat Din Aansoo Bahana [Ghulam Ali]

27 Tu Uroose Shaam [Mehnaz]

28 Bander Road Se Keamari [Ahmed Rushdi and Kausar Parveen]

29 Life Is Dance [Nahid Akhtar and Mehnaz]

30 Main jis din bhula doon [Mehnaz]

31 Tera Saaya Jahan Bhi ho Sajna Palken Bichha Do Sari [Nayyar Noor]

32 Jab pyar main do dil milte hain [Ahmed Rushi]

33 Pehli Nazar Mein [Atif Aslam]

34 Chal Buleya [Ali Zafar]



Anniversary Utsav Vol. 6: Hindustani Classical


Volume 5 (is still under development!), but Volume 6 of the Washerman’s Dog and Harmonium Music Blog Anniversary splash out special tamasha features subtle and masterful, sublime and elevating ragas interpreted by Pakistani artists (Ustad Salamat Ali Khan and Ustad Nazakhat Ali Khan; Saeen Ditta Qadri) and Indians too: Ustad Sultan Khan, Zakir Hussain, Kishori Amonkar, Himanshu Biswas, Dulal Roy, Ustad Bismillah Khan, Malikarjun Mansur and Pandit Ram Chatur Malik.


Large files mean we are dispensing these goodies in two volumes.  Get both!


Till next time!


Vol. 1. Track Listing:

01 Des [Saeen Ditta Qadri]

02 Raga Shuddh Kalyan  (Drut Teental) [Ustad Bismillah Khan]

03 Alhaiya Bilawal – Nahin Bin Dekhe Chain [Malikarjun Mansur]

04 Raag Basant {Ustad Sultan Khan and Zakhir Hussain]

05 Raag Durbari [Ustad Salamat Ali Khan and Ustad Nazakhat Ali Khan]



Vol. 2. Track Listing

01 Raga Bhoop (Prathama Sur Saadhe) [Kishori Amonkar]

02 Vinod_ Alap [Pandit Ram Chatur Malik]

03 Vinod_ Dhrupad [Pandit Ram Chatur Malik]

04 Dhun [Himanshu Biswas and Dulal Roy]



Anniversary Milestone Vol. 3: Sufiana

malang2 009

This third instalment of anniversary-marking music from south asia is called sufiana. Strictly speaking it is not absolutely true.  There are a few Kabir ke dohe as well as a qawwali and some more contemporary ‘spiritual’ music included.

Trust that is ok and you’ll enjoy it as much I have listening to it again and again.


Track Listing:

01 Qawwali Of Amir Khusrou [Bahauddin Qutubuddin Qawwal and party]

02 Mein Bhi Jaanaan (Shah Hussain) [Mohmmad Tufail Niazi]

03 Unki jataan pind khech jo [Ustad ManzoorAli Khan]

04 Piya Ghar Aaya [Shujaat Hussain Khan]

05 Laali mori re (Sufi Sindhi) [Sikandar and Sindhi Sufi friends]

06 Subuhanallah [Mohammad Ibrahim]

07 Lere Naam Lere Naam [Sundar Lal Malvi]

08 Lehra (Sufi Dhadi) [Idu Sharif]

09 Ali Mullah (Feat. Transglobal Underground And Natacha Atlas) [Musafir]

10 Asaan Ishq Namaz [Muhammad Jumman]

11 Allah Sain [Atta Ullah Khan Essakhelvi]

12 Justaju [Anandmurti Gurumaa]

13 Naam Bina Mati [Amreek Singh Zakhmi]

14 Sajjan De Hath [Abida Parveen]


Celebrating a Milestone: Ghazal

Screen Shot 2011-12-16 at 2.01.58 PM

The ghazal is composed of a minimum of five couplets—and typically no more than fifteen—that are structurally, thematically, and emotionally autonomous. Each line of the poem must be of the same length. The first couplet introduces a scheme, made up of a rhyme followed by a refrain. Subsequent couplets pick up the same scheme in the second line only, repeating the refrain and rhyming the second line with both lines of the first stanza. The final couplet usually includes the poet’s signature, referring to the author in the first or third person, and frequently including the poet’s own name or a derivation of its meaning.

Though the origins of this beautiful genre stretch as far back into time as 7th century Arabia, it was in the middle ages of Persian cultural pre-eminence in the Islamic world (13-14th century), that the ghazal enjoyed its first glorious blossoming.

Poets of the subcontinent in the 18th and 19th centuries championed and elevated the style to new heights, with Ghalib of Delhi attaining the very oorooj (pinnacle) of the art.  Composed for recitation in intimate gatherings the ghazal began to be set to music as new technologies, especially radio, created huge new audiences.

In the 1980s, the ghazal both led and benefited the most from the musical revolution that came in the form of the cassette tape.  A lighter, less lyrically refined form of ghazal emerged which posed the first serious challenge to the dominance of the Bollywood song as the people’s music.   Many of the artists whose performances are collected in this the second volume of celebratory South Asian music, built their careers on the back of the magnetic tape.  Others, who were struggling to find fresh audiences in the high end of town or were never completely comfortable in the film studios re-established themselves as sublime interpreters of the ghazal.

A word of caution for the purists among the readers of this blog. Not every selection in this volume can be strictly defined as a ghazal. There are popular songs that were given the label by overzealous marketing departments but are closer to folk music. Others, like the selection of Faiz Ahmed Faiz are simply just wonderful examples of Urdu poetry.

I hope no one is too upset by these deviations from the straight and narrow.



Ghazal cover

Track Listing:
01 Tumne Badle Hamse [Jagjit Singh]

02 Jin Ke Hoton Pe [Ghulam Ali]

03 Justuju Jis Ki Thi [Asha Bhosle]

04 Aap Agar In Dinon Yahan Hote[Jagjit Singh]

05 Khanjer Sa Karo Na Baat [Anup Jalota]

06 Rang Pairahan [Mehdi Hassan]

07 Gulon Ki Baat Karo [Farida Khanum]

08 Hoton Pe Kabhi un Ke [Ustad Amanat Ali Khan]

09 Tu bahar-e-naghma-e-nur [Iqbal Bano]

10 Meri Nigah Chalakta Hua [Asha Bhosle]

11 Meri Dastaan e Hasrat [Asad Amant Ali Khan]

12 Teri Umeed Tera Intezar [Iqbal Bano]

13 Dil-egarm-e-man [Nashenas]

14 Woh to Na Mil Sake [Mehdi Hassan]

15 Do Ishq [Faiz Ahmed Faiz/Zia Mohiydeen]

16 Qamees Tedi Kali [Attaullah Khan Issakhelvi Niazi]

17 Tum Say Ulfat Kay Taqaazay [Nahid Akhtar]

18 Ilahi Kaash Gham-e-Ishq [Begum Akhtar]

19 Jalte Hain Jiske Liye [Talat Mahood]

20 Khamosh Ho Kyun [Ijaz Hussain Hazravi]

21 Manzil Na De Charagh Na De [Jagjit and Chitra Singh]

22 Ik Kuri Jidha Naam Nuhabat Gum Hai [Jagjit Singh Zirvi]

23 TERI ULFAT MEIN SANAM [Zubaida Khanum]

24 Insha Jee Utho Ab [Ustad Amanat Ali Khan]


Celebrations of a Milestone: Qawwali


The first instalment of South Asian music as part of the celebration of 100 posts on the Harmonium Music Blog (and 700+ at the Washerman’s Dog) is a collection of qawwali. This genre of spiritual music needs no further elucidation for followers of this blog; but for new comers who wonder what this weird sounding word means, click here.

I must thank the young qawwali connoisseur Musab Bin Noor of Pakistan for turning me on to so many fantastic qawwals from outside the mainstream of Western consciousness, a couple of which I have included in this collection.

Here you will find qawwali of many styles from both Pakistan and India by qawwals both famous (Aziz Mian and Wadali Brothers) as well as somewhat obscure (Raza Khan and Kurban Farid Shahi Qawwal).  Some are in Punjabi but most in Urdu. Most performers are Muslims, a couple are Hindu and one is even a Pentecostal Christian!

It matters little what the outside looks like when it comes to qawwali, for this pure music of the human soul.



Track Listing:

01 Ghoonghat Chak Ve Sajna [Wadali Brothers]

02 Yeh Pyam De Gahe Hai [Mashooq Ali Khan]

03 Avo Sayo Rul Davo Vadhai [Bakshi Salamat Qawwal]

04 Teri Soorat, Main Sharabi and Must Qalandar [Aziz Mian]

05 Zamana Bolta Hai [Aslam Akram Sabri]

06 Tere Bin Na Jiva Maharaj [Shaukat Ali]

07 Hai Yehi Meri Namaz [Agha Bashir Farid Qawwal]

09 Bhai Murad aur Tajo Bahen [Abdur Rab Chaus]

09 Jise Chaha Dar Pe [Kurban Farid Shahi Qawwal and Group]

10  Jede Vi Darte [Raza Khan]