My “now” song: Aao balma

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. That particular piece of music becomes my “now’” song, and the “nowness”  (pardon my English here) could be for any length of time.

That day, I was bored and trawling YouTube for some interesting music to listen to, when a suggestion popped up. It was a Coke Studio India session featuring A.R. Rahman and Ustad Ghulam Mustafa. Now, I had not been particularly impressed with Coke Studio India till then. Sure there had been one or two good sessions, but nothing really spectacular like Coke Studio Pakistan has been (some of which I have shared in this series).

I clicked on the link and the music began to the familiar strains of Raga Yaman and then a young boy started to sing, followed by three other men before the chorus joined in to sing Aao, Aao Aao Balma… Three generations of Ghulam Mustafa family singing together. So far so good, I told myself. Nice, but nothing spectacular.

And then at exactly 1.52 minutes something happened. The guitar or rather Prasanna’s guitar came in and the magic began.

Prasanna’s entry instantly elevated a simple and comfortable piece of music to something special and extraordinary. Prasanna’s ‘jugalbandi’ with Ghulam Mustafa Khan was fantastic and I was quite disappointed when the chorus joined in again. But I was hooked to this music by now and listened to the rest as Sivamani drummed his way and then Prasanna came back for a (regrettably) short solo bit before the chorus and orchestra joined in for a melodious and harmonious crescendo to end piece.

I have played this song in a loop for a long time just for Prasanna’s guitar. At the time of publishing this post, the video had been played 756,684 times. I can confidently say that I have contributed a large percentage to that number !

Raga Yaman is one of my all time favourite ragas and I’m always amazed by its versatility and the way it sounds depending on who is singing or playing it. Prasanna’s short rendition here ranks right up there in the top for me and is also the reason why this has been my “now” song for such a long time.

I hope you enjoyed listening to this piece as much as I enjoyed sharing it with you. 🙂

9 thoughts on “My “now” song: Aao balma

  1. When I saw the mukhda of the song, I was going to pass it up as it sounded like that of a new Bollywood song. but when I began reading the post and then listened to the song, I was fascinated. Truly, the guitar was wonderful and he made it sound so much like a veena at places! But the chorus joining in at the end was perfect. Wonder why you found it intrusive. I am not a great fan of ARR, but this was great.


    1. Ordinarily, I might not have listened to the song. But, as I mentioned, I was bored and the description of 3 generations of singers was intriguing. Of course, once I listened to it I was hooked.

      The chorus was nice, but I wanted to listen to the guitar more and that’s why I felt it to be intrusive. Maybe irritant is a better word? 😀


  2. Hello Sudha ji,

    Glad to see a review about the song. I had posted the Youtube link on my FB wall back in Oct’14. True that the Guitar adds points to the song,

    Best Regards,


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