Tabla and Claps
Updated: Sep 21
“We rarely hear the inward music, but we’re all dancing to it nevertheless.”
There is no better beat than the heartbeat of a mother. Like the waves wrapping around you. There is no better song than the prayers of a father. His heart hugging you with his harmony. The mothers' lullabies and fathers' cradle songs that we grew up with are true music. They touch us in a way no other music can. Then we get introduced to the calls of prayers and the bells of churches or temples. We wake up, shower, eat, ride, work, and sleep, all the while listening to music. Some of us face the music of the boss, and others face the music made by their spouses. As ringtones or as doorbells, music is with us everywhere—perhaps as a second voice—not ours, but of those who are ours. We are fans of different genres, but there are some artists that rule your heart. Michael Jackson, Bon Jovi, Elvis Presley, Ghulam Ali, and Pankaj Udhas are just a few of my favorites. And Nusrat Fateh Ali is not merely a singer—he is so much more than that.
“Who needs drugs, when you have Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan.”
I am a big fan of Nusrat.
“Yeh jo halka halka saroor hai
Yeh Teri Nazar ka kasoor hai”
“Ever since you looked at me that way,
I am mellow and tipsy”
As I get in my car from the golf course, a local FM radio station aired this song. It makes my bones shiver in consonance on the road. They say don’t drink and drive. Fortunately, I am sitting in the back seat, so I don’t need to worry about the road and traffic. I can focus solely on Nusrat and company.
This song matches and mixes the lyrics of three great poets of the subcontinent: Jigar Murad Abadi, Abdul Hameed Adam, and Anwar Jogi. Adam is a great advocate of freedom and liberty. He preaches liberation from the clerics of organized religions.
Abadi is known for his wisdom. He is a phenomenal artist of words and can magically enhance their meanings. His poetry itself is a call of sagacity and peace. Jogi, on the other hand, is a traveler of mystic paths, seeking the ultimate truth through poetry & music. Drunkenly amorous, he lives way above the traditional social norms. This song is a call of a lover who is drunk on true love—not on any intoxicating substance!
Nusrat and his team invited them all into this song. He chose their best lines on the subject and gave them all he had. A poet observes, conceives, and organizes ideas and then braids them into a garland of words. But then a singer gives these words a soul, making them dance in the air. The words of this song not only decorate the environment but embroider it in lace. Nusrat's cadence forms a staircase to the heavens, and its intonation takes us beyond that. The mystic tone of his voice forges a rhythm within the very core of my own being. It unbolts the locked fields of my barren brain and terraforms it with seeds of artistic dimensions. Now, even I have a tree within me, and it bears fruit in the form of passion and intelligence. What a soul-provoking ride that is.
The genre of this music is called ‘Qawali.’ It originates from the era of Amir Khusro, a Hindavi-Persian poet—a sufi, musician, and singer, and a minister in Balban dynasty. He is also known as the voice of India.
Time and again, Qawali has taken me to my heights and depths and has steered me towards exploring many new elements of my personality.
“The whole world is high
So is its system-
The nation is tipsy- -
And a blithe jar smiles there
With an inebriated glass
My day is dazed
The night is consumed
My morning is merry
And so is every evening.”
The flow of these lines by the poet and an ornamental delivery by the singer create a perfect harmony between my mind, heart, and soul. It’s a masterpiece by Nusrat and his team. I am constantly searching for words to describe my feelings here, but to little avail, thanks to my inadequate vocabulary and limited knowledge of the English language. This voice transcends words into new worlds.
Adam’s rebellious verses, Abadi’s wisdom, Jogi's rapture, Nusrat's voice and depth of Persian words, the intensity of Arabic tunes, the zeal of the crew, and the beat of Indian tabla (twin hand drums) create an awe-inspiring atmosphere. The amalgamation of group clapping and the reassuring voices of the participating singers build a launching pad for the next verse. Every syllable is strengthened by one another. An ensemble of veteran musicians accompanied by the renowned vocalists of Nusrat and his family soar through the choir in order that I—and many others—should transcend, beyond the sphere of euphoria and gnosis.
It re-enforces my soul and lifts up my spirits.
It awakens a dervish in me and takes me to mystic flights, enriching me with the beauties of art and the simple complexities of music. I can achieve nirvana on sufi beats by Nusrat. I love it.
Golfer, Blogger, Entrepreneur, Author, Poet, Wanderer, photographer, Rebel.
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