Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Forgotten Singers of Sindh: Suleman Shah (Re-upped)

Suleman Shah

The title of this post will no doubt inflame some readers because Suleman Shah is not forgotten at all. In the Pakistani province of Sindh, he was an idol during his lifetime. And in his death is idolized as one of that culturally lush country’s  celebrated performers. 

But he is forgotten in that other than to Sindhi patriots his music has been forgotten by the broader music listening world.



I’ve not been able to find any information of significance on Shah sahib, except a number of YouTube videos.  All I can report is that he was apparently born in the provincial town of Mirpur Bhatoro (south of Hyderabad) and passed away some years ago. If anyone is able to provide more details on this one-of-a-kind singer please feel free to pipe up and leave a comment or two at the bottom of the page.


The music is pure Sindhi folk music that draws on mystical poetry and folk tales as old as the water of the Indus.  The singing takes place in a live setting, perhaps at an open-air mehfil, with Suleman introducing each song with a bit of wonderfully evocative narrative. This man is a natural storyteller. Though I understand not a word of Sindhi, I’m totally hooked to the story. I imagine him as an itinerant actor/singer and all round performer, dragging his straggly band of musicians from one village to the next, providing late evening performances for his rural and small town audiences that mix music, religion, comedy and telling of ancient epics. 

In his group you can hear all the instruments of Sindh: the dhol (round drum), the murli (snake charmer’s horn), bansuri (flute), borrindo (clay drum) and yaktoro (single stringed lute).

Another reason for inflamed feelings will be the titles I’ve given the tracks. As I’ve confessed earlier I do not speak Sindhi. But I’ve tried to grab a word or two from each song and use that as the title. I beg, in advance, forgiveness from all Sindhi speakers and once again request you to send me the real titles so I can make amends.

A final pretext for being irritated by this post is the background noise on the first two tracks.  You see, this CD was given to me by a few friends after a night of drinking Black Dog Whiskey and salacious storytelling (mainly in Punjabi, which I understood better after a few bara pegs of Black Dog).  How my friends voices got on to the CD I will never know and I do admit their conversation is slightly bothersome. But honestly, Suleman Shah’s singing and storytelling is no match for them and they soon shut up.

So with all these caveats and pre-apologies, I offer you, ladies and gentlemen the scintillating storytelling/singing of Syed Suleman Shah of Sindh!





            Track Listing:
            01 Hayati
02 De Allo
03 Marte Marke Mari
04 Karamadhar
05 Key Nadi Ho
06 Bazaar
07 Asaan to Ishq Balbal Karega
08 Muddat Tarie
09 Ranjha Ja Hazaar
10 Teeran
11 Hanu Barja

Listen here



11 comments:

HOLISTIC KHAN said...

why to use such a heavy file (more than half a GB) for uploading.people with slower internet can never download it.
Thanks for uploading though i cannot download it.

ajnabi said...

I have located the issue and will try to reup soon.

ghjk said...

Tere pawan di saan is my personal favorite. Thanks for remembering one of our forgotten heroes.

ajnabi said...

Holistic Khan,
the file size has been decreased. I hope you can enjoy this music now.

HOLISTIC KHAN said...

Thanks a zillion.I cherish your blog much and am a regular visitor.May be you'd like to cast a glance at my page on mediafire.Theres quite a bit of quite rare stuff there.It would give me great pleasure if you could find something of interest over there.Thanks once again.
http://www.mediafire.com/?p07ax2woa7w3z

ajnabi said...

Khan sahib,
thank you for your kind words. And the link! Wah re wah! What a collection. I look forward to purloining some...thank you so much.

ajnabi said...

Holistic Khan,
aap ka email address hai? Aap ka collection behtereen hai!

HOLISTIC KHAN said...

My Dear.
My email address is holistic.ashfaq@gmail.com
I've got one more site at esnips too.Also with a lot of Ammer Khansahib and Nazakat-Salamat.I would like to point out a late singer from Peshawar to you.Please listen to him.You'll be astonished at the passion in his voice.
www.esnips.com/user/holistic

Best Regards

HOLISTIC KHAN said...

sorry i forgot to mention the name of the singer,that would be
Ashiq Ali Khan (Beera Ashiq)

Anonymous said...

We have forgotten lots of GEMS Like Sain Sayed Suleman Shah, I hope sumday we will realize the purity and value of those gems, Thank U for Your Effort to Embose them.I am really very Thank Full Toh brother :)

ajnabi said...

Anonymous, Thanks very much. This stuff needs to be preserved and promoted as much as possible.