My “now” song: Ya Ali

Do you ever have a song, an idea, a storyline, or an image stuck in your head? And it just refuses to go away? For some time at least? I have this with music — it could be a song, an instrumental piece, a jingle, etc. This becomes my “now’” song, and the “nowness”  (pardon my English here) could be for any length of time.

Music and I have a strange relationship and the strangeness is all from my side. There are times when I will listen to a song or a singer every day for no particular reason and suddenly switch to something else or someone else for no particular reason. Ya Ali, sung by the Pakistani singer Shafqat Amanat Ali Khan , and my “now” song, is an example.

I “discovered” Shafqat Amanat Ali Khan in London when music was the only way to overcome severe homesickness during my year (2008-2009) there. Surrounding myself with familiar songs and familiar music made me feel that I was not too far away from home. Shafqat’s mellifluous voice and soothing music were just one of the many that I listened to every day, and also made those visiting me listen to it. Perhaps, that’s why Farzana, my Pakistani friend and hostel mate, got me a CD of Tabeer, Shafqat Amanat Ali Khan’s newest release at that time. Ya Ali was one of the songs in that album and quickly became my favourite track in that album.

Back home in India, the CD was added to my existing collection and forgotten. It would have continued being so if a recent cleaning when my house got painted last month had not unearthed it. The moment I saw Tabeer, the CD was plugged in and Ya Ali was the track chosen to play. Since then, it has been my “now” song.

Ya Ali is a manqabat or Sufi devotional poem, in praise of Ali ibn Abi Talib, the son-in-law of the Prophet Muhammad, or of any Sufi saint.

This particular manqabat is so beautifully rendered by Shafqat Amanat Ali Khan that, in my opinion, it’s as close to perfection as possible. The appeal of the song has not diminished over the years that I have listened to it. While at one time, it saw me through loneliness, today it brings forth immense peace whenever I listen to it. 😦

31 thoughts on “My “now” song: Ya Ali

    1. No matter how foul or happy a mood I am in or how down in the dumps I am or stressed, this song never fails to balance out and even out those emotions. Shafqat Amanat Ali Khan’s Ya Ali has this amazing ability has this amazing ability to bring about absolute peace around you.

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    1. Thank you, Amit. And I also have a tough time throwing out bad songs out of my head. A noteble example was “ku…ku..ku… choli ke peeche kya hai”. It was a horrible time. 😦

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    1. Sometimes it’s the words, sometimes it’s the melody, sometimes it’s a catch phrase that sticks, and sometimes it’s all of them together which drives me crazy. My brother used to call it, Sudha’s “aaj ka naghma” 😀

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  1. Beautiful song and what a coincidence! Just yesterday, I was admiring his voice when I heard him sing ‘Let Go’ along with Fin Greenall and Salim-Sulaiman as part of the Dewarists Season 2. I definitely want to make him a part of my music collection. Maybe, a trip to Rhythm House is called for.

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    1. I think I can safely say that Shafqat Amanat Ali Khan is my favourite singer today. I love his songs and music and the sentiment he pours into everything he sings. And I missed that Dewarists session. Pchhah !

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  2. A beautiful song, as is true of the sufi genre of music. And yes, songs have this habit of fixing themselves somewhere in the brain, refusing to go away. Sometimes it gets downright embarrassing when I am caught humming the tune to a ‘controversial’ song like ‘chikni chameli’ 🙂

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    1. Sufi music is so soulful, Nirvana, and sung well it’s pure bliss. And as for embarassing songs getting stuck in your mind, let’s not talk about it shall we? For your Chikni Chameli, I have a Choli ke peeche kya hai to match 😛

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  3. A beautiful song and there us to be time when I was into sufi music, we had a punjabi singer hans raj hans who sand some lovely sufi songs ..

    I guess the reason is that sufi songs have a lovely meaning most of the time

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  4. i can relate to this on & off jingle/song phenomenon and the one currently in my mind and on a never ending loop is junoon song from ‘New York ‘ . There is also a comfort mind jingle- the dhoodh ad. It brings an instant smile to my face whenever my mind hums it

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    1. Shafqat Amanat Ali Khan is my favouritest singer. Check out these songs of his: Mitwa from Kabhi Alivida na kehna, Yeh honsla kaise from Dor; Phir wohi raaste from Ramchand Pakistani… The list is endless.

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  5. Sometimes, I get crazy jingles and badly-worded songs stuck in my head :). That is pure oppressive. One just keeps on humming them :). Ya Ali is a nice song, feels similar to the other Sufi compositions.

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  6. Oh, I can attest to that nowness of a song! I don’t know what’s it with certain songs and me, its like I am swallowed up whole by the song and for a certain while that’s the only song I can hum. I remember driving my roommates crazy playing ‘Hum hain is pal yahan’ from Kisna or ‘Sapno se bhare naina’ from Luck – By Chance – back to back in a loop, for about a week! My mother and my mother-in-law still chuckle everytime they hear the song ‘Pareshan’ from the movie Ishqzaade because that’s all they heard me sing in the last one month! Crazy I tell you! Shafqat Amanat Ali Khan does sing some soulful melodies, I have found some of KKs, Rahat Fateh Ali Khan’s, even a couple of Sonu Nigam’s fitting in the same genre. Beautiful ones!

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    1. Whenever I used to get stuck on a song, my brother would announce it to the family at large, “So and so song is Sudha’s Aak ka naghma”. I used to drive them and sometimes even myself crazy, especially if they were the the funny ones. 🙂 What is your current now song, Deepa?

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      1. The awkward moments are when I start humming Chikni Chameli or Shiela ki Jawani in the bus and the guy/gal next to me would give me a look! Well, to each his own! 🙂 The one that refuses to now leave my mind is Noor-e-khuda from My Name is Khan. I love Shankar Mahadevan and Shreya Goshal for that rendition – especially the part where she starts up and towards the end when they both sing together – their own individual modulations!

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    1. Welcome here Iuzair and thank you so much for stopping by and commenting and introducing me to Ahmed Wali. Ya Ali ya Shah e Mardan is indeed a lovely piece of music and Wali’s voice really soothing. I have been listening to this song since morning and am playing it even as I type out this response to you. Thank you once again 🙂

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        1. I have been listening to Ahmed Wali all day, and I must tell you that his Inkaar is fast becoming my now song. 🙂 I can’t tthank you enough for introducing me to his music. Thanks also for the fusion qawwali. It’s nice, but… not really my thing. I am now listening to the “Classical Music of Kasmir”on your blog. 🙂

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