One of the best collection of north Indian (mainly Punjabi, Rajasthani and Gujarati) music to have been released in recent years is from the Jaipur-based company Dekulture.
The series of 20+ CDs are beautifully recorded and for the most part field recordings that capture the very much living (but under threat) folk music culture of north western India. The CDs themselves are gorgeous ornaments in their own right. Beautiful photographs, sparse but informative text and in many cases cloth covers that must make these some of the unusual CDs ever marketed.
All of this should have made them massive hits for collectors of world folk music but alas it seems Dekulture has stopped producing them and very few have ever been sold. Or at least much fewer than is deserved.
Today we share a collection of Punjabi folk music called UNHEARD PUNJAB.
This album presents authentic music from across Punjab that is unheard of and unknown to the wider audience. Some rare songs belong to traditions that are on the verge of extinction and others belong to new evolving genres and styles that may go on to be popular in the future.
‘Unheard Punjab’ features some of the most accomplished artists of Punjab such as Raza Khan, Sharif Idu, Gurmej Raja, Saida Begum, Shaadi Ram, Hardev Singh and more. Each artist featrued in this album have their own individualistic style belonging to genres such as Sufi and Sikh dhadi, Sufi kalam, qawwali, kafi, jangam, kavishiri and folk musiic. The dialects used in the songs are Malwi, Majhi, Doaba, Pwadhi and Hindi spoken in various parts of the region. Legendary love stories, Sufi kalam, devotional, narration and celebration songs also forms a repertory of this album. (Liner Notes)
There is some truly amazing music here. My favorite is track 6 Lakh Lakh Vadai by Gurumukh. After some singing comes a truly stunning half-shouted conversation between two men which is full of the same passions you hear in the preaching of African American preachers in the deep south of the United States! A genuinely fascinating interlude! Love it!
01 Mirza – A Love Story /Sharif Idu
02 Ajnajami/Gurmej Raja
03 Gam Hai Ya Khushi/Raza Khan
04 Ja Ve Ja Jutheyan/Saida Begum
05 Vaar/Dhadhi Jathan
06 Lakh Lakh Vadai/Gurmukh
07 Shiv Parivar Ki Aradhna/Rajendra
08 Puran Bhagat Ki Kahani/Shaadi Ram
09 Na Khandya Noo Jarde/Hardev Singh