Field Recordings: Sufi Songs from Sindh and Punjab

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I see its been quite a while since the last post. Indeed, my posts have become as infrequent as Halleys Comet over the past many months, not due to any slackening of interest or desire in music but rather through a necessary focus on a whole bag of other projects and issues. But in the past few weeks I’ve come into possession of some excellent South Asian music which I’m looking forward to sharing.

First off the rank is a small collection of field recordings from Sindh and Pakistani Punjab. Billed as ‘Sufi music’ this majmua’h is more accurately a sampler of folk music from those ancient fabled lands. The performers are all relatively unknown beyond the districts in which they live or wander and their performances are completely natural, raw and uninhibited. As the singer Fatah Daudpoto says in his introduction to Aa Mil Yaara (Track 4) ‘I’m a folk singer and folk music is direct. Not mechanical or digital.’ Which is similar to the adamant statement (and album title) of the old blues guitarist Mississippi Fred McDowell ‘I do not play no rock n roll’.

These recordings are made on site, live and several of the tracks include ambient sounds and whisperings from those in the crowd.  In many instances, especially tracks like #9 and #6, I am reminded of the soundtrack to the wonderful film Latcho Drom, about gypsies and their music. These songs have that same electric ‘chaos barely under control’ feeling.  My only complaint is that most of the tracks are too short which clearly is a decision made by the producers of the album and not the artists themselves who were barely allowed to pick up a head of steam.

Still, a wonderful little collection to add to your collection of South Asian/ Pakistani/ Punjabi/Sindhi folk music.

Ishq ke Maare_ Sufi Songs from Sindh and Punjab

Track Listing

1 Intro – Damadam Mast Qalandar [Ustad Aacher and Party]

2 Jo Tera Gham Na Ho [Kalyam Sharif Qawwali Troupe]

3 Aahe Arman Ajeebon [Meeh Wasaiyo]

4 Aa Mil Yaara [Fatah Daudpoto]

5 Sur Rano [Latif Sarkar]

6 Sehra [Basheer Haidari and Nazira Bano]

7 Aarfana Kalaam [Shazia Tarannum]

8 Mahi Yaar Di Gharoli Bhardi – Raag Jog [Babu]

9  Shah Jo Raag [Sain Juman Shah and Fakirs]

10 Ayman Kalyan Raag [Ghulam Arshad]

11 Kalaam of Bulle Shah [Unknown]

SUFI

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Sunday Sufiana Mix

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Mussoorie Sunset

Sunday evenings are reflective occasions. A come down before the buildup begins once again. This feeling, which has both comforting and depressing aspects, goes way back for me. To a time when I was 9 or 10 and a schoolboy in the foothills of the Himalayas. The thick golden rays that filled the valleys and filtered through the trees were undoubtedly beautiful. But with them came a feeling of absolute loneliness. I realized in some unconscious way that I was entirely on my own.

Of all the types of music I enjoy, sufiana music (the music of the Sufis), is best suited to deal with the soul-ache that accompanies this time of the week. Probably because it is the music of the solitary person reaching out to the Invisible reality. As a boy I didn’t understand that what I was experiencing was a spiritual longing. The only problem was I had no way yet to find the Unseen and so I felt only the sadness.

Strictly speaking, this collection is not entirely sufi music. I’ve included spiritual songs from the Hindu and Sikh traditions as well but those are merely labels. Every track is a cry from the heart of man for God.

This a special collection. You will, of course, know a few of these artists but for the most part this is hard to find, rare music made by singers and musicians with mainly local reputations and followings. Most are traditional musicians or musicians who perform as part of their religious practice. Stand out tracks abound. In fact, every single one is a ‘cracker’. But my favorites are the opening qawwali (#1), Subuhanallah (#6) by Sindh’s Mohammad Ibrahim and the nirgun song from the Malwa region of central India (#7) sung by Sundar Lal Malwi.

Peace.

Track Listing:

01 Qawwali Of Amir Khusrou [Bahauddin Qutbuddin Qawwal & Party]

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

03 Unki jataan pind khech jo [Ustad Manzoor Ali Khan]

04 Piya Ghar Aaya [Ustad Shujaat Hussain Khan]

05 Laali mori re (Sufi Sindhi) [Sikander & Sufi Sindhi Artists]

06 Subuhanallah [Mohammad Ibrahim]

07 Lere Naam Lere Naam [Sundar Lal Malwi]

08 Lehra (Sufi Dhadi) [Sharif Idu and Group]

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

10 Asaan Ishq Namaz [Muhammad Jumman]

11 Allah Sain [Attaulah Khan Niazi ‘Issakhelvi’]

12 Justaju [Anandmurti Gurumaa]

14 Naam Bina Mati [Amreek Singh Zakhmi]

15 Sajjan De Hath [Abida Parveen]

Sufiana

Anniversary Milestone Vol. 3: Sufiana

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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.

sufiana

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]

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