The music of Nashenas and Amir Jan Herawi, as expected, has struck a chord with readers and followers (that mighty tribe) of the Washerman’s Dog. But not without complaint! A number of fellow travellers have pointed out that a couple of the tracks (6 and 7 in particular) either end or begin prematurely. While this is very irritating (to me no less than anyone else) I am unfortunately unable to provide a fix. The problem lies in the fact that we are dealing with 20 year old tapes that have been through the ringer (or at least neglected like orphan children) and bear the scars of such ill treatment. I do apologize but trust that the 6 tracks that are untainted provide sufficient pleasure for many hours. I have listened to little else since rediscovering these tapes.
But to demonstrate that the Washerman’s Dog is not all bark and no bite, and to make the pain a little less acute, I post another collection of the Unknown One’s music. I picked this tape up, rather unexpectedly, in the main bazar of Faizabad, the main city in Afghanistan that in those days before 911 still had not fallen to the Taliban, and where schools still admitted girls and more importantly parents eagerly enrolled their daughters in school.
It was a real frontier town. As you approached the airport, nestled in the high Pamir mountains like a frightened lamb deep in the folds of a shepherd’s cloak, the wings of your twin prop seemed in danger of skimming the cliff faces on either side of a deep gorge, flying through which was the closest thing to being in a video game I’ve experienced. Suddenly you turn what seems another blind corner and the narrow rock walls give way to a narrow strip of worn and rusted iron, like a giant shower mat, on to which your plane clunks down and rumbles to a halt some several hundred meters further down the field.
|Girls and boys in school in Faizabad|
Faizabad bazaar was dominated by a rutted track thick with mud, mule manure, orange peels, medicine men, caravan walas, NGO workers, government officials of some sort and gunmen in town doing deals on turning the pink fields of poppy into bundles of gold. Its music scene was not great and when I nudged through a few shops I found mostly cheap reproductions of the latest Indian film music. So I was pleasantly surprised when I enquired about Nashenas that someone went running and came back a few minutes later with a homemade recording of the great man. It was given to me free of charge!
This is another very rare collection of ghazals sung in Persian and Urdu (though one of the best Urdu ones ends abruptly as the tape clicks off). Apart from that travesty, this is a strong collection and I hope it makes up for the few screwed up tracks on the earlier posting. But part of the charm of these sorts of tapes is their ‘home made’ feel and one comes to expect these sudden shifts in scene. On this particular tape the challenge increased with a wrongly numbered set list and a graphic form of calligraphy that made it almost impossible for me in some instances to make out the spelling. So I plead with all those familiar with Dari and Pashto, please forgive my hopeless attempts at transliteration and deciphering.
Track Listing: (with corrections by A.)
1. Yaarab aan aahuuye mushkeen
2. Zamaala Shaaqi Sara
2. Zamaala Shaaqi Sara
3. Kaun Aaya Mere Man
4. Biyaa shabhaaye mahtaab ast
5. Jab Dil Hi Toot Gaya (pt 1)
6. Dad-e-Koomi pyala
7. Raftand ahl-e suhabat
8. Da Husn Shor ma shor