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 was 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 coe.

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


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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.

Continue reading “My “now” song: Ya Ali”

My ‘now’ song: Phir wohi raaste

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.

 My ‘now’ song is Phir wohi raaste sung by Shafqat Amanat Ali from the film Ramchand Pakistani.

I first heard this song on a cold, cold day in December 2008 in London. I was surfing YouTube when I came across the title of the film. That immediately caught my attention and on exploring further, I came across this song. When I heard the flawless rendition by the incomparable Shafqat Amanat Ali, I was hooked. Every part of the song appealed to me—the lyrics by Anwar Maqsood, the music by Surya Mitra, and of course the way it was sung. Since then, Shafqat Amanat Ali has become one of my favourite singers.

At that time, the appeal in this song lay in its ability to connect with my homesickness. Today, I am back home and I am not homesick. Yet, the appeal of this song endures in a way that I cannot explain or describe here. All I can say is that if you have heard this song before, why don’t you listen to it once again here? If you haven’t, then experience this song right here.

Enjoy 🙂