My “now” song: Ambwa talay

Do you ever have a song, an idea, a story line, 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, a background score, etc. That particular piece of music becomes my “now’” song, and the “nowness”  (pardon my English here) could be for any length of time.

My current “now” song is Ambwa Talayan Amir Khusro composition, sung here by Javed Bashir and Humera Channa as part of a Coke Studio Pakistan performance.

Ambwa Taley is a traditional bidaai or farewell song, which is sung when the bride leaves her parents’ home for her marital home. The bidaai songs are usually weepy songs, but Ambwa Talay is different. It is a sublime song with just the right tinge of the bittersweet. The bride can’t wait to begin a new phase of her life with her beloved, and yet there is sadness at leaving her childhood behind — her dolls, carefree days of playing on the swing, the rains… The bride requests her palanquin bearers to halt under the shade of the mango tree to look back and reminisce.

A friend recommended this song to me about 2 months back and I was instantly drawn to it. It began with the melody and then the beautiful lyrics and each time I listened to it I fell more in love with it. Javed Bashir’s earthy vocals and Humera Channa’s melodious voice with just the right tinge of longing — for both the future and the past — were spot on and I can’t imagine anyone else singing this song. I also felt that the use of the clarinet as a substitute for the shehnai was masterstroke for mirroring the sentiments of Ambwa Talay. As a ‘modern’ instrument, it hinted at the future, and yet its reedy notes conveyed the sacredness and solemnity of the traditional shehnai, which usually accompanies a bidaai song. Ambwa Talay is based on Raga Desh, one of my favourite ragas, and one more reason for it to be my “now” song.

It has been a very busy time lately and I have been away from the blog for more than 2 months. Glad to be back here with this song that has literally captured my heart and my emotions too. Hope you enjoy listening to it as well.

PS: What have you been listening to these days and what is your “now” song? Tell me.

For more of my “now” songs and my other writings on music, do click here.

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