The Balladeer: Sharif Idu

Harmonium

beyondinner

Sharif Idu is probably the most widely known dhadhi singer in India. Of course, dhadhi is not a massively popular genre. Least of all in the urban, recorded-music consuming markets of India. So the word ‘widely’ needs to be tempered somewhat.

Dhadhi is a genre of traditional music performed mostly in Punjab and some border areas of Rajasthan and Haryana. Its natural audience lives and works in the agricultural villages and small towns of Punjab. While the recent folk music revival in India has given artists like Sharif Idu more ‘fame’ than they would normally enjoy, dhadhi, like so many other indigenous, local forms of singing and playing music is struggling to withstand the forces of digitally-consumed commercial popular music.

Punjab is blessed with an incredibly rich traditional/folk culture which includes a number of distinct styles of singing and playing music. While certain geographic areas of the State are…

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Sufiana Mix

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Mussoorie Sunset

Sunday evenings are reflective occasions. A come down before the buildup begins once again. This feeling, which has both comforting and depressing aspects, goes way back for me. To a time when I was 9 or 10 and a schoolboy in the foothills of the Himalayas. The thick golden rays that filled the valleys and filtered through the trees were undoubtedly beautiful. But with them came a feeling of absolute loneliness. I realized in some unconscious way that I was entirely on my own.

Of all the types of music I enjoy, sufiana music (the music of the Sufis), is best suited to deal with the soul-ache that accompanies this time of the week. Probably because it is the music of the solitary person reaching out to the Invisible reality. As a boy I didn’t understand that what I was experiencing was a spiritual longing. The only problem was I had no way yet to find the Unseen and so I felt only the sadness.

Strictly speaking, this collection is not entirely sufi music. I’ve included spiritual songs from the Hindu and Sikh traditions as well but those are merely labels. Every track is a cry from the heart of man for God.

This a special collection. You will, of course, know a few of these artists but for the most part this is hard to find, rare music made by singers and musicians with mainly local reputations and followings. Most are traditional musicians or musicians who perform as part of their religious practice. Stand out tracks abound. In fact, every single one is a ‘cracker’. But my favorites are the opening qawwali (#1), Subuhanallah (#6) by Sindh’s Mohammad Ibrahim and the nirgun song from the Malwa region of central India (#7) sung by Sundar Lal Malwi.

Peace.

Track Listing:

01 Qawwali Of Amir Khusrou [Bahauddin Qutbuddin Qawwal & Party]

02 Mein Bhi Jaanaan (Shah Hussain)[Mohammad Tufail Niazi]

03 Unki jataan pind khech jo [Ustad Manzoor Ali Khan]

04 Piya Ghar Aaya [Ustad Shujaat Hussain Khan]

05 Laali mori re (Sufi Sindhi) [Sikander & Sufi Sindhi Artists]

06 Subuhanallah [Mohammad Ibrahim]

07 Lere Naam Lere Naam [Sundar Lal Malwi]

08 Lehra (Sufi Dhadi) [Sharif Idu and Group]

09 Ali Mullah (Feat. Transglobal Underground And Natacha Atlas) [Musafir]

10 Asaan Ishq Namaz [Muhammad Jumman]

11 Allah Sain [Attaulah Khan Niazi ‘Issakhelvi’]

12 Justaju [Anandmurti Gurumaa]

14 Naam Bina Mati [Amreek Singh Zakhmi]

15 Sajjan De Hath [Abida Parveen]

Sufiana