Some years ago I posted a recording of some dhrupad singing from one of my favorite gharanas, the Talwandi. You can read about the history of that gharana and its connections with Pakistan (as well as download the recording) here.
While some have pronounced the Talwandi gharana extinct it does still live and the last surviving keepers of this dhrupad tradition are the brothers Mohammad Afzal Khan Talwandiwale and Hafiz Khan Talwandiwale. To read a bit more bout this dhrupad tradition from Western Punjab check out this article by Khalid Basra and Richard Widdess.
Today’s music is from a live concert at Lahore’s Chitrakar Studio in which Hafiz Khan takes pains to explain various aspects of the ragas he performs.
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”; 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)”, “truth”, and “knowledge”. (Basra and Widdess)
Enjoy this rare and excellent recital.
- Kafi Khwaja Ghulam Farid