After living quite sometime away from my homeland (India), I have lately come to realize how much we Indians, Pakistanis, Afghans, Bangladeshis, and Nepalese share in our way of life, music, history, food and love. And one of the most amazing gift which we all share is the south Asian music.
South Asian music ?
Music connects south Asia in a magical way. Have you tried drinking a cold glass of water after a long walk in a hot summer afternoon? That is the kind of sweetness which south Asian music gives to your ear. With the diverse heritage we share in south Asia, it is not surprising that south Asian music is so refreshing.
Despite all the bad press about the country, the kind of music Pakistani musicians make is amazingly fresh as well as fully grounded in our rich south Asian heritage.
Sample this spiritual song (dama dam mast kalander) in Punjabi which was originally composed by Sufi saint Bulle Shah. This version is from the Hindi-Urdu film David (2013)
Contrast this with ‘Sahanaa Vavatu’ a classic Sanskrit chant of India composed by Pandit Ravi Shankar. Used as an audio in this documentary on Khadi (traditional Indian cloth)
Another good sample is Chal Diye by Zeb & Haniya with Javed Bashir. The raga of this song is called Yaman Kalyan. Javed Bashir is a well-known Hindustani classical vocalist.
Listen to the sweetness of Sajjad Ali’s voice in Tum Naraz ho. This song is reproduced by Coke Studio (Pakistan) in their seventh season. Sajjad Ali has a kind of innocence in his voice which is seldom found in singers of all generations.
Danah pe Danah is a Balochi folk song in which a shepherd introduces his beloved to the wonders of his land, invoking famous rivers and mountains of Balochistan. Here in this rendition, Akhtar Chanal and Komal Rizvi lend their powerful voice to this folk song.
Another notable music is coming not from Bollywood films but a widely viewed and Amir Khan hosted TV talk show ‘Satyameva Jayate’. Ram Sampath is the composer for ‘Satyameva Jayate, who has sung and composed for this TV show. One of my favorite is Dheere Dheere Haule Halue (slowly slowly, quietly quietly) which was composed for the TV episode on Child sexual abuse.
And here is Mahesh Vinaykam singing all famous Sanskrit shloka ‘Gurur Brahma Gurur Vishnu Gurudevo Maheshwara’
Another gem by Shruti box of Shankar Tucker ‘O re piya’ sung by Rohan Kaimal ft Shankar Tucker
And some Bollywood gems in semi-classical genre –
Ye tune kya kiya (what have you done?) sung by Javed Bashir
Maula Mere Maula by Roop Kumar Rathod