Thursday, July 28

When public discourses were sung they were more sincere

Observe Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan's gestures and expressions as he sings the following qawwal. Note how intently the qawwali singers on the stage listen to each other. They have to listen; the kind of singing they're doing is based on call and response -- the most ancient form of song.

If you have a loved one who persistently won't listen when you speak, fix on the major point you're trying to communicate, then sing it to the person.

Also, there are people who want to pray but feel they can't. If you know someone with this problem tell him to try singing his prayer. If he says he can't carry a tune, this is not a Puccini aria he's trying for. Tell him singing is as natural as breathing; if the person doesn't believe you, have him to watch two videos of Ustad Nusrat & Party and call you in the morning. 
Ready? This qawwal, "Yadan Vichre Sajan Dian Aiyan," was sung in Islamabad in 1989. As to the meaning of the words, how should I know? It's a Sufi devotional song. Use your imagination.    


Charles Cameron (hipbone) said...


Dropped into his lap like a plum
from the forefinger and thumb of God,
of one of God’s many hands,
of that hand of God
whose wavelength matches that of his soul
could he but still himself to find it:
the gift.

In his case, that the qawwal,
Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan,
himself gifted beyond measure
in the singing of qawwalis,
whom he heard
one evening in concert in Paris
and the next morning
ran into at a train station,
invited, gifted him
to accompany him, the qawwal,
from Paris to Italy,
to friendship,
to Lahore, Pakistan.

From qawwali to qawwali
with trains in between, no doubt,
beat of their wheels,
squeal of brakes,
carrying onwards the song,
whoosh of wind
the spirit that lifts, lofts, soars the spirit..

Of what tree
do the many forefingers, the thumbs of God
pluck such luscious plums?

My source: REVIEW: Crossing all barriers: Nusrat by Pierre-Alain Baud
The book: Nusrat: the Voice of Faith, by Pierre-Alain Baud

Pundita said...

Thank you Charles. Got a chill reading the poet's words. Fortunate man. And aren't we fortunate to live in the era of YouTube? Around 1 AM hurriedly sought a qawwal to illustrate my point; ended up watching Ustad Nusrat & Co. and singing along for 5 hours. Wasn't tired; could have sung forever, throw away the clock, Nusrat lived on God Time.

Charles Cameron (hipbone) said...

Hi Pundita:

I didn't make it clear -- the man was indeed fortunate, the review is where I learned his story, the book is the book he wrote about it, which we both swould no doubt love -- the poem was my own, written in direct response to your post.

Pundita said...

OH MY GOODNESS! Didn't realize it was your poem! That is just so beautiful! What a poet you are! I am so happy!

Pundita said...

Call and response.....

Charles Cameron (hipbone) said...

... as with voice and trumpet here:

Pundita said...

Beautiful. Grazie! YouTube then led me in its mysterious way to Callas singing "O mio babbino caro"