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Sunday, November 6

Take 2 listens of the Sabri Brothers singing this qawwali and call me in the morning

I'm racing to get two more essays posted tonight, then I'll be taking a couple days off. But I'm calling a timeout to post two renditions of the same qawwali by the legendary Sabri Brothers, who laid down the path for Nusat Fateh Ali Khan and an entire generation of qawwali singers and introduced qawwali singing to the West. 

While you're listening, you might read through the comments at YouTube and find ones from Indian Hindus and Pakistani Muslims talking about how qawwalis unite them. Read, too, the comment about Amjad Sabri's son, who was shy about being on stage but is now singing his heart out for his dad. 

Amjad certainly got the last word because his murder touched off a renewed interest in Sufi singing and brought it to the attention of young people in Pakistan, and all around the world, of all faiths.

Read, too, the young woman telling YouTube listeners that she's abandoned Bollywood Film Music for qawwalis [laughing]

For Americans who despair at the muck into which popular American music has fallen, take heart. There has been a renaissance among young American Christians in singing Christian songs, as the rock band Elevation Worship shows, and which have gained popularity even outside the genre of religious music.     

And I suspect qawwalis will eventually find great interest here; this kind of devotional singing, which in some ways is the Sufi version of Hindu bhajan singing, is so different from Christian chorale singing, but I think it's just what the doctor ordered for these times. And of course it lends itself to all types of religion.    

If you know nothing about the Sabri Brothers, you're in for a treat when you read about the two leaders of the group. All right, Pundita, that's enough timeout. 

Here's the Wikipedia articles on the Sabri Brothers and links to the qawwali videos at YouTube.

Sabri Brothers - Bhar Do Jholi Meri Ya Mohammad - video of a live performance in Coventry, England; year unknown.

Sabri Brothers - Bhar Do Jholi Meri Ya Muhammad - I don't know whether this is a studio recording or a recording of a live performance. No year. And no video, just photos. This version could be much earlier than the one above, if the photos are any indication.    

Now because Mohammad is in the title, I think this song was originally a naat -- all right Pundita stop showing off your visits to Wikipedia.  C'mon, time's flying....

Sabri Brothers specifically Ghulam Farid and Maqbool Ahmed, but from Wiki here is the list of the orignal members:  

  • Ghulam Farid Sabri (b. 1930 in Kalyana, East Punjab – d. 5 April 1994 in Karachi; lead vocals, harmonium),
  • Maqbool Ahmed Sabri (b. 12 October 1945 in Kalyana – d. 21 September 2011 in South Africa;[2] (lead vocals, harmonium),
  • Kamal Sabri (died 2001; vocals, swarmandal)
  • Mehmood Ghaznavi Sabri (b. 1949 in Karachi; vocals, bongo drums, tambourine),
  • Fazal Islam (chorus),
  • Azmat Farid Sabri (chorus),
  • Sarwat Farid Sabri (chorus),
  • Javed Kamal Sabri (chorus),
  • Umer Daraz (chorus),
  • Abdul Aziz (chorus),
  • Masihuddin (chorus, tanpura),
  • Abdul Karim (dholak),
  • Mohammed Anwar (nal, tabla).

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