The first Abida Parveen music I heard was the tape I post tonight. It is a collection of 6 ghazals from the early 1980s. Though she is known to most of her international fans as the mighty empress of Sufi kalam like all artists in the 80s she recorded a number of ghazals and geets which were by far the most popular genre of non-film music in South Asia for nearly 20 years.
I was studying in Lahore at the time and one of the pleasures of our days off were shopping for music. The kaset wale (cassette men) would ply their trade off the back of bicycles, or spread their thousands of titles out on cloth by the side of the road. These were where you found the truest of folk, devotional and local musicians signing in their native dialects. The art work was dire (photocopied more often than not) and the tape quality pretty poor. But the price was right (rarely more than Rs. 20) and the variety endless.
What I loved most about the messy way in which music traded hands was the ridiculous titles: Tearful Friendship. Vol. 15. Censored Folk Songs. Vol 67. Tragedy Duets. Vol 37. Best of (fill in the blank). Vol 104.
I think I picked up tonight’s treat either in Sadr Bazar in Pindi, or around Anarkali in Lahore. I had been sent on a mission to find it after hearing Abida singing the opening track (and huge hit at the time), Jab Se Tu Ne Mujhe Deewana Bana Rakha Hai (Ever since you’ve made me mad with love) on a television variety show. For months I listened to it over and over, hardly giving the other songs on the tape a listen. It is indeed a nice ghazal.
jab se tu ne mujhe deewana bana rakha hai
sang har shakhs ne haathon par utha rakha hai
us ke dil par bhi kadi ishq main guzree hogee
naam jis ne bhi mohabbat ka saza rakha hai
pathharon aaj mere sar par baraste kyon ho
main ne tum ko bhi kabhi apna khuda rakha hai
pee ja ayyam ki talkhi ko bhi hans kar naasir
ghum ko sahne mein bhi qudrat ne maza rakha hai
The image (in verse 3) of being bombarded with stones as punishment for considering your beloved a God is one that has stayed with me for years. The cruel injustice of Love!
But once I did get around to listening to the rest of the tape I found other delights, like Rang Batein Karein aur Baton se Khushboo Aye, which she delivers with such graceful lightness you’d never imagine her preferred style was to sing with the fury of a freight train crashing through the dark midnight.
Well, all in all it is a neat little treasure this 83rd Volume! The quiet side of Abida. And just to keep the local bazaari flavor I’ve not edited out the ‘filler’ music at the end of tracks 3 and 6.
01 Jab se Tu Ne Mujhe Deewana Bana Rakha Hai
02 Rang Batein Karein aur Baton se Khushboo Aye
03 Ghungrawa Baja Chinne Chinne Chinne
Part one here,
04 Woh to Na Mil Sake Ham Rusawainya Mile
05 Der Lagi Aye Tum ko Shukar Hai Phir Bhi Aye To
06 Kis Ka Ne Bhi Dekha Na Aank Bhar ke Mujhe
Part two here.