My “now” song: Allahu Akbar

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.

Music is my answer for everything. It is what I turn to in times of happiness or celebration or despair. Music is my refuge, my comfort food for the soul, my ‘blanket’, and often my support to tide over difficult times. My now song Allahu Akbar” sung by Shafqat Amanat Ali Khan and Ahmed Jehenzeb to music and lyrics by Shuja Haider has been all of this and then some more.

When I first heard Allahu Akbar, I liked it and left it at that. But then something made want to hear it again and then again and before I knew it I was listening to it every morning and then again before I went to bed. My mother too joined in on these listening sessions and we would listen to the song together before we went to bed.

Sometimes it would be the orchestra part that caught our attention and sometimes it was the chorus.

Sometimes it would be the lyrics that would work their magic and sometimes the music.
But what never failed to amaze us were the singers, especially Shafqat Amanat Ali Khan.

We have listened to this song so many times now that we not only know the music and the lyrics, but every pause, every interlude and every musical expression.

But most of all we are aware of the comfort that this song offered. Even now, as I type this out, just 26 minutes into the new year, Allahu Akbar is playing in the background. I have begun my New Year with this song, which is not just my ‘now’ song, but also my song of hope for the times to come.

Happy New Year, dear friend. Which song did you begin 2018 with? Is it also your ‘now’ song? Do share. 🙂


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

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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.

Join me on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram as I explore the world around me and share “My Favourite Things” with you.


 

My “now” song: Umraan langiyaan / Chhan chan chankan

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 actually two different songs —  Umraan Langiyaan and Chhan Chan Chankan — by different composers and lyricists seamlessly blended together into one composition for the purpose of a Coke Studio Pakistan performance.

Someone (and I can’t remember who) shared the link of this “song” on Twitter. I listened to it once, then twice, then a few more times to try to identify the raagas (Bhoop for the first song and Shuddh Kalyan for the second) in the composition. Before I knew it, I was playing this composition on a loop, and even though I didn’t understand the lyrics, it didn’t come in the way of my enjoying or appreciating the music.

About a couple of weeks back I came across the behind the scenes video for this composition. The video opens with the singer of Umrah Langiyan, Ali Sethi, explain that the song roughly translates into how an entire lifetime has passed on tiptoes waiting for something/someone. That something could be one’s homeland or and the someone could be a beloved. It could also be something that one has yearned for a long time.

Recently, I travelled to Uzbekistan (blog post coming here soon), a place I had been wanting to visit for a long, long time. In other words it was a trip to my dream destination. When I had my first glimpse of the Registan Square at Samarqand, Umrah Langiyan just came into my mind — a yearning that got fulfilled. And Chan Chan Chankan was the thanksgiving for the dream come true.

Just apt and perfect. 🙂

PS: I still don’t know what the lyrics mean, but I think they reflect the sentiments I’ve described above.


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

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My “now” song: Dasht-e-Tanhai

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.

I discovered Coke Studio Pakistan (CSP) sometime last year, and life was never the same again. The musicians featured here have opened up an entirely new world through their folk numbers or ghazals or qawwalis or raga-based pop numbers. The sheer variety and quality of music has always amazed and delighted me and has given me hours of pleasure.

One such song is Dasht-e-Tanhai, a ghazal by Faiz Ahmed Faiz and sung by Meesha Shafi. Ever since I came across this song about 2-3 weeks back, I have been listening to it or singing along with it during all my waking hours. And I think I hum this song in my sleep as well. Little wonder then that this song is my “now” song.

Dasht-e-Tanhai was originally sung by the legendary Iqbal Bano (you can listen to her version here). Though her version is very good, Meesha Shafi’s rendition of this song is a sensory delight. It is a song that is full of pathos, longing, hope, love, romance and Faiz’s beautiful Urdu poetry is matched by Meesha’s sensuous and earthy voice. You can actually feel the emotion behind each word in this song and when I listen to…

apni khushboo mein sulagti hui madham madham
door ufaq par chamakti hui qatra qatra…

I get goosebumps. (Please switch on the sub-titles option in the video for the English translation). What a song ! What. A. Song. 🙂

Have you listened to this song before? Which rendition did you like — Iqbal Bano’s or Meesha Shafi’s?

To listen to other songs from this series, please click here.