Qawwali Collection: Shan-e-Rasool

Qawwali-light has a lot in common with American gospel music.

Harmonium

q1-poster-1

An interesting collection of concise qawwali performances from an even more interesting group of singers.

Shan-e-Rasool-o-Aal-e-Rasool (roughly translated by me as The Glory and Grandeur of the Prophet) includes performances by some famous qawwals including Abdur Rab Chaush and Yusuf Azad Qawwal, a couple film playback singers [Mahendra Kapoor and Shamshad Begum] as well as a few (to me) new names such as the delightfully named Pyare Timmu Qawwal (Jaipuri) and Master Habib Nizami.

With the inclusion of filmi qawwali this record presents a sort of qawwali – lite which most connoisseurs would not rate very highly. The messages are simplistic and the language is of the sort someone unfamiliar with High Urdu or Persian can easily understand. Case in point: title of track 9 [Allah Bahut Bada Hai]!

The music, composed mostly by one Mami Bhachu, [any information on him would be much appreciated], is consistently lively and employs…

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The Spirit Can Never be Killed

My tribute to the Sabri qawwali tradition in Pakistan

Harmonium

imgres Amjad Farid Sabri Qawwal Marhoom

The story is told that one day, Akbar the Great heard some wandering minstrels singing about the glorious wali who lay slumbering in the desert town of Ajmer. He enquired of the malangs about this great soul who moved them to sing so beautifully. They replied in verse:

Hazaron badshah aaye
Hazaron sultanat badli
Na badli na badlegi huqumat mere khwaja ki
Mere khwaja badshah hai

[Thousands of emperors have come
Thousands of kingdoms have fallen
The kingdom of my lord has never and will never change
My lord is the emperor]

The devotion of the minstrels so impressed the Emperor he let their frankness pass without comment. Some years later he made a pilgrimage to the tomb of Khwaja Hazrat Moinuddin Chisti, founder of the most influential Islamic mystical order in South Asia, and in effect, gave the House of Timur’s blessing to the…

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Our Beloved Khwaja: Ghulam Sabir and Ghulam Waris Nizami

Joyous qawwali from Ajmer Sharif

Harmonium

mAC1bjMWS6ZOieW3UdoOaww AJMER SHARIF

I have only visited Ajmer, India’s, and arguably the sub-continent’s most revered Sufi pilgrimage site, once. It was a quick ‘look see’ en route from Pushkar to Jaipur and a visit that frustrated more than satisfied me.   For so long I’d heard fable stories of Ajmer. The city is as central to the spiritual universe of northern India’s Muslims as Jerusalem or Rome is to Christians and Jews.   And to have but an hour to rush around was criminal.

In terms of items on bucket lists, “spending more time in Ajmer” is right near the top. [As is spending about 6 months in Karachi, but that is another tale with nothing –at this stage—at all to do with music.]

One thing I did manage to do during the abbreviated visit was scoop up a number of mp3 collections of qawwali and naat from a couple of the souvenir…

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