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Thanks to @evo3X3 for making tonight, a journey. The conversation started with Amir Khusrow’s rendition of Mann Kunto Maula [devotional kalaam to the father of Sufism, Hazrat Ali *]. What started with Man kunto Maula, Fa Ali-un Maula, Dara dil-e dara dil-e dar-e daani, Hum tum tanana nana, Nana nana ray, Yalali yalali yala, Yala yala ray… ends with  yeh toh apna apna hai hosla, yeh toh apni apni udaan hai…

The great Khan himself. The majestic Amir Khusrow  — the flight, the ecstacy, the trance and the pangs of separation. On 11th April, 2011 — when words ceased to have meaning.

Nami Daanam Chi Manzil from Tasawwuf on Vimeo.

Nami danam chi manzil bood shab jaay ki man boodam;
Baharsu raqs-e bismil bood shab jaay ki man boodam.
Pari paikar nigaar-e sarw qadde laala rukhsare;
Sarapa aafat-e dil bood shab jaay ki man boodam.
Khuda khud meer-e majlis bood andar laamakan Khusrau;
Muhammad shamm-e mehfil bood shab jaay ki man boodam.

English Translation.

I wonder what was the place where I was last night,
All around me were half-slaughtered victims of love,
tossing about in agony.
There was a nymph-like beloved with cypress-like form
and tulip-like face,
Ruthlessly playing havoc with the hearts of the lovers.
God himself was the master of ceremonies in that heavenly court,
oh Khusrau, where (the face of) the Prophet too was shedding light
like a candle.

Nusrat added some verses himself, which serve to salt the wounds.
———
Had e La fakaan say guzar gaya
Had e La makaan say guzar gaya
Teri Justuju Mein Khabar Nahin
Mein Kahan Kahan se Guzar Gaya
Yeh Apna Apna Hai Hosla
Yeh to Apni Apni Uraan hai
Koi Urh keh Reh Gaya Bam Tak
Koi Kehkashan se Guzar Gaya

Nami Daanam Chi Manzil
Nami Daanam Chi Manzil

Shab e hijr hans key guzaar li / Gham e ishq dil say laga lia ; Meray jazb e shouq ki dad day / mayn har imtehaan say guzar gaya!

Woh Maqaam Dair-o-haram Baney
Waheen Sab ki Gardanein Kham Hui
Waheen sar ka Sajda Hui Jabeen
Tu Jahan Jahan se Guzar Gaya

Manzil pay puhanch key bhi ura ata houn manzil say..

fikr e manzil na hosh e jata e manzil mujhay
Ja raha houn jiss taraf lay ja raha hai dil mujhay

Kisi say meri manzil ka pata paya nahi jata
Jahan may houn wahan farishton say jaya nahi jata

Abhi to asli Manzil pana baqi Hai
Abhi to irado ka imtihaan baqi Hai
Abhi to toli muthi bar zamin
Abhi tolna asman baqi hai.


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First published in The Islamabad Dateline (3rd April, 2011)

If music be the food of love, play on. 
— William Shakespeare

Music is an integral part of human life. Known as food for soul this art form penetrates social and cultural lives of humans to a great extent.

Whether used as a mean of entertainment or an anthem for uniting under a social, cultural or political cause, music plays an essential role in our daily lives. Ayerman and Jamison, in Music and Social Movements: Mobilizing Tradition in the Twentieth Century (1998) talk about the effect music had on social and political movements across the world.

They draw a conclusion that ‘protest songs gain power through their appropriation of tunes that are bearers of strong cultural traditions’. They recognize that music can be a vital force in preparing the emergence of a new movement.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. described the freedom songs this way: “They invigorate the movement in a most significant way…these freedom songs serve to give unity to a movement” 

In the USA, the 19th-century music dealt for the most part, with three key issues: The American civil war with songs such as Johnny I Hardly Knew Ye from Ireland, and its American variant, When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again finding popularity in masses; The abolition of slavery with Song of the Abolitionist and No More Auction Block for Me among others and women’s right to vote.

The dawn of 20th century with the Great Depression, the Civil Rights movement, and the war in Vietnam all inspired great music.

Music seemed like an outlet for black musicians who protested against racial discrimination, such as Louis Armstrong’s What Did I Do to Be So Black and Blue in 1929.

It was also during this period that many African American blues singers were beginning to make their voices across America through their music.

This eventually led to birth of rap-music in the 1980s with bands like Grandmaster Flash, Boogie Down Productions with their famous Stop the Violence, N.W.A and Public Enemy with their hit Fight the Power and later Tupac Shakur who fervidly protested the discrimination and poverty which the black community faced in America.

In 1988 the Stop the Violence Movement was formed by rapper KRS-One in response to violence in the hip hop and black communities.

Every era gave birth to a genre. Blues, hardcore rap and then in 1990’s the hardcore rock with bands like Rage Against the Machine using music as a tool for social activism.

Not only in the Western world, even in Palestine music is used to voice out against injustice. One suchsong is Biladi, Biladi which has become the unofficial Palestinian national anthem. Chinese-Korean Cui Jian’s 1986 song Nothing to My Name was popular with protesters in Tiananmen Square

Pakistan too has a rich history in music. Sufis used music and poetry to speak against tyrants and rigid interpretation of religion for centuries.

Inspirational songs of Madam Nur Jahan like Aye Puttar Hattan Day Nae Wikday during 1965 war and Iqbal Bano’s Hum Dekhayn Gayn are sung by all and sundry.

In contemporary times, we have had artists united against extremism in Yeh Hum Naheen and Laal band using Habib Jalib’s rebellious poetry as a tool to inspire youth.

Laal’s rendition of Aitezaz Ahsan’s Kal Aaj aur Kal became the anthem of lawyer’s movement which eventually ousted the dictator Musharraf and reinstated judiciary.

Atif Aslam with his Ab Khud Kuch Karna Paray Ga and Shehzad Roy’s pinching numbers are also popular in youth.

I grew up listening to Bob Marley, Lennon and Tupac Shakur and I believe their art made me the person that I am today. Our rich folklore and its music is anti-dote to the venom of extremism which has been used as one in highly polarized societies quite successfully.

Music in television, radio, cinema, mobile phones and internet has become an indispensable commodity. It helps each one of us find our social niche, uniting us with those who share similar interests. It also documents the history of social and cultural changes in society and its evolution.

Sadly, we our educational curricula does not pay high accolade to this art form. It is high time the stakeholders of our educational system realize the importance of music and give it the attention and space it deserves.

 My music fights against the system that teaches to live and die. — Bob Marley

 Syed Ali Abbas Zaidi is an aeronautical engineer by force, an activist by mind, a wanderer by soul and lover by heart.


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Hands waved overhead. Voices shouted lyrics and whooped with delight. Children were hoisted onto parents’ shoulders. In the tightly packed crowd a few dancers made room to jump. T-shirts were tossed to fans from the stage.

Yet in the songs that Abida Parveen was singing, saints were praised. They were Islamic saints, the poets and philosophers revered by Sufism, the mystical branch of Islam.

It was the first New York Sufi Music Festival, a free three-hour concert on Tuesday in Union Square, and it had music from the four provinces of Pakistan, including traditional faqirs who perform outside temples, Sufi rock and a kind of rapping from Baluchistan.

The concert was presented by a new organization called Pakistani Peace Builders, which was formed after the attempted bombing in Times Square by a Pakistani-American. The group seeks to counteract negative images of Pakistan by presenting a longtime Pakistani Islamic tradition that preaches love, peace and tolerance.

Sufism itself has been a target of Islamic fundamentalists; on July 1 suicide bombers attacked Pakistan’s most important Sufi shrine. Pakistan’s ambassador to the United Nations, Abdullah Hussain Haroon, spoke between sets on Tuesday. “What we’re here to do today,” he said, is “to be at peace with all of America.”

The music’s message was one of joyful devotion and improvisatory freedom. Ms. Parveen, one of Pakistan’s most celebrated musicians, was singing in a Sufi style called kafi. Like the qawwali music popularized worldwide by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, kafi sets classical poems — about the love and intoxication of the divine, about seeking the spirit within — to visceral, handclapping rhythms and vocal lines that swoop and twist with passionate volatility.

Ms. Parveen carried songs from serene, hovering introductions to virtuosic euphoria. Long, sustained notes suddenly broke into phrases that zigzagged up and down an octave or more; repeated refrains took on an insistent rasp and became springboards for elaborate leaps and arabesques; quick syllables turned into percussive exchanges with the band. Each song was a continual revelation, making the old poems fully alive.

While the crowd was there for Ms. Parveen’s first New York City performance in a decade, the rest of the program was strong. The Soung Fakirs, from Sachal Sarmast Shrine in Sindh, danced in bright orange robes to devotional songs with vigorous, incantatory choruses. Akhtar Chanal Zehri, though he was introduced as a rapper, was backed by traditional instruments and seemed more of a folk singer, heartily intoning his rhythmic lyrics on a repeating note or two and, eventually, twirling like a Sufi dervish.

Rafaqat Ali Khan, the heir to his family’s school of classical singing (khayal), was backed only by percussion, pushing his long-breathed phrasing into ever more flamboyant swirls and quavers. The tabla player Tari Khan, who also accompanied Rafaqat Ali Khan, played a kinetic solo set that carried a 4/4 rhythm through variants from the Middle East, Europe, New York City and (joined by two more drummers) Africa. There was also instrumental music from the bansuri (wooden flute) player Ghaus Box Brohi.

On the modernizing side, Zeb and Haniya, two Pakistani women who started their duo as college students at Mount Holyoke and Smith, performed gentler songs in the Dari tradition, a Pakistani style with Central Asian roots, with Haniya adding syncopated electric guitar behind Zeb’s smoky voice. Under wooden flute and classical-style vocals the Mekaal Hasan Band plugged in with reggae, folk-rock and a tricky jazz-rock riff. But the lyrics quoted devotional poetry that was 900 years old, distant from the turmoil of the present.

Crossposted from New York times

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Sorry for not writing often, have been busy with stuff. Will start blogging more often 🙂

You might have heard this, even if you have, try downloading again and listen to the Queen, Abida Parveen — leaving ghose-bumps on your skin.

Poetry is by : Hakim Nasir

Download MP3 here

MP3 here.

App ghayroon ki baat kartain hain,
Hum nay aapnay bhe azmaain hain
Log kaatoon say bach ker chaltay hin,
Hum nay pholon say zakhm khaien hain

Kisi ka kia jo qadmon per jabeen-e-bandagi rakh di
Humaari cheez thi hum ne jahan jaani wahan rakh di
Jo dil maanga to woh bole key thero yaad kerne do
Zara si cheez thi hum ne khuda jaane kahan rakh di

Sang har shaks nay hatoon main utha rakha hay
Jab say tonay mujhay dewana bana rakha hay

Nighay-e-naaz say ye pochay gey ye kisi din
Tu nay kia kia na banya koi kia kia na bna
Sang har shaks nay hatoon main utha rakha hay
Jab say tonay mujhay dewana bana rakha hay

Us kay dil per bhi karri ishq main guzri hogi
Naam jis nay bhi mohabat ka saza rakha hay
Sang har shaks nay hatoon main utha rakha hay
Jab say tonay mujhay dewana bana rakha hay

Aaa piya moray nainan main, Mian palak dhanp thoy loon
Na mein dekhun aur ko, aur na dekhane dyun

Duniya bari baanwari pathar poojane jaaye
Gher ki chakki koi na pooje jis ka peesa khaye

Patharo aaj mere sar pe barastay kion ho?
Main nay tum ko bhi kabhi apna khuda rakha hai

Ab meray deed ki duniya bhi tamashaayi hay
Tu nay kia mujh ko mohabat main bana rakha hay
Jab say tonay mujhay dewana bana rakha hay

Nadi kinaare dhuaan uthey mein janoon kuch hoye
Jis kaaran mein jogan bani kahin woh hi na jalta hoye

Misaal-e-saada waraq tha magar kitaab mein tha
Woh din bhi they meintere ishq key nisaab mein tha

Tulsi aisi preet na ker jaisi lambi khujoor
Dhoop lage to chaonnahin bhook lage phal duur

Mar bhi jaon to dafna dena maikhane mein
Ta ke maikhane ki mitti rahe maikhane mein

Khudaya peene walon ki kahin basti juda hoti
Jahan hukman peeya kerte na peete to saza hoti

Pee ja aayam ki talkhi ko bhi hans key Nasir
Gham ko sehne meinbhi kudrat ne maza rakha hai

Jab se too ne mujhe Deewana bana rakha hai
Sang har shakhs ne haathonmeinutha rakha hai

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 Abrar bhai singing live. Heartfelt!

View the link for video: http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=10150211874775451&ref=mf

Sar Utha Kay Shehar Main
Chalnay Ka Mausam Aa Gaya

Aao Kay Mausam Badal
Denay Ka Mausam Aa Gaya

Aao Zara

Dosto
Aao Zara

Dho Raha Tha Kal Jisay
Apnay Phatay Kurtay Kay Saath

Dho Raha Tha Kal Jisay
Apnay Phatay Kurtay Kay Saath

Aaj Woh Bacha Ussi Gaadi
Kay Neechay Aa Gaya

Socho Zara

Dosto
Aao Zara

Aao Jhaadu Cheen Layn
In Nannay Haathon Say Kay Ab

Haath Main Inkay Qalam
Denay Ka Mausam Aa Gaya

Kab Talak Kaagaz Chunain
Koochon Kay Ganday Dhair Say

Komplon Kay Phoolnay
Phalnay Ka Mausam Aa Gaya

Aao Zara

Socho Zara

Gair Muslim Ho Kay Muslim
Sab Ka Apna Ghar Hai Yeh

Sab Nay Jeena Bhi Hai
Marna Bhi Hai Is Aaghosh Main

Woh Jo Nafrat Daaltay Hain
In Dilon Main Jaan Layn

Woh Jo Nafrat Daaltay Hain
In Dilon Main Jaan Layn

Un Saron Ki Fasl Jhuk
Jaanay Ka Mausam Aa Gaya

Aao Zara

Dosto
Aao Zara

Maa’n Hai
Beti Hai
Bahu Hai
Behan Hai
Beewi Hai Yeh

Aaj Yeh Khush Rang Rishtay
Kyun Paresha’n Ho Gaye

Jiss Say In Rishto’n Main Qayem
Ho Mohabbat Ki Fiza

Jiss Say In Rishto’n Main Qayem
Ho Mohabbat Ki Fiza

Aaj Say Woh Pyar
Barsanay Ka Mausam Aa Gaya

Aao Zara

Dosto
Aao Zara

Kya Humara Farz Hai
Khaali Tamasha Dekhna
Kya Humain Har Waqt Karna
Hai Gila Sarkar Say

Aao Milkar Baant Layn
Jurm-e-Zareefi Ki Saza

Aao Milkar Baant Layn
Jurm-e-Zareefi Ki Saza

Aur Layn Badlay Main Hum
Laakhon Karodon Ki DUa

Aao Zara

Dosto
Socho Zara

Sar Utha Kay Shehar Main
Chalnay Ka Mausam Aa Gaya

Aao Kay Mausam Badal
Denay Ka Mausam Aa Gaya

Aao Zara

Dosto
Aao Zara

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Immortal Technique – The 4th Branch

[Talking]
The new age is upon us
And yet the past refuses to rest in its shallow grave
For those who hide behind the false image of the son of man
shall stand before God!!! It has begun
The beginning of the end
Yeah..
Yeah… yeah, yeah

[Verse 1]
The voice of racism preaching the gospel is devilish
A fake church called the prophet Muhammad a terrorist
Forgetting God is not a religion, but a spiritual bond
And Jesus is the most quoted prophet in the Qu’ran
They bombed innocent people, tryin’ to murder Saddam
When you gave him those chemical weapons to go to war with Iran
This is the information that they hold back from Peter Jennings
Cause Condoleeza Rice is just a new age Sally Hemmings
I break it down with critical language and spiritual anguish
The Judas I hang with, the guilt of betraying Christ
You murdered and stole his religion, and painting him white
Translated in psychologically tainted philosophy
Conservative political right wing, ideology
Glued together sloppily, the blasphemy of a nation
Got my back to the wall, cause I’m facin’ assassination
Guantanamo Bay, federal incarceration
How could this be, the land of the free, home of the brave?
Indigenous holocaust, and the home of the slaves
Corporate America, dancin’ offbeat to the rhythm
You really think this country, never sponsored terrorism?
Human rights violations, we continue the saga
El Savador and the contras in Nicaragua
And on top of that, you still wanna take me to prison
Just cause I won’t trade humanity for patriotism

[Hook]
It’s like MK-ULTRA, controlling your brain
Suggestive thinking, causing your perspective to change
They wanna rearrange the whole point of view of the ghetto
The fourth branch of the government, want us to settle
A bandana full of glittering, generality
Fighting for freedom and fighting terror, but what’s reality?
Read about the history of the place that we live in
And stop letting corporate news tell lies to your children

[Verse 2]
Flow like the blood of Abraham through the Jews and the Arabs
Broken apart like a woman’s heart, abused in a marriage
The brink of holy war, bottled up, like a miscarriage
Embedded correspondents don’t tell the source of the tension
And they refuse to even mention, European intervention
Or the massacres in Jenin, the innocent screams
U.S. manufactured missles, and M-16’s
Weapon contracts and corrupted American dreams
Media censorship, blocking out the video screens
A continent of oil kingdoms, bought for a bargain
Democracy is just a word, when the people are starvin’
The average citizen, made to be, blind to the reason
A desert full of genocide, where the bodies are freezin’
And the world doesn’t believe that you fightin’ for freedom
Cause you fucked the Middle East, and gave birth to a demon
It’s open season with the CIA, bugging my crib
Trapped in a ghetto region like a Palestinian kid
Where nobody gives a fuck whether you die or you live
I’m tryin’ to give the truth, and I know the price is my life
But when I’m gone they’ll sing a song about Immortal Technique
Who beheaded the President, and the princes and sheiks
You don’t give a fuck about us, I can see through your facade
Like a fallen angel standing in the presence of God
Bitch niggaz scared of the truth, when it looks at you hard

[Hook]
It’s like MK-ULTRA, controlling your brain
Suggestive thinking, causing your perspective to change
They wanna rearrange the whole point of view in the ghetto
The fourth branch of the government, want us to settle
A bandana full of glittering, generality
Fighting for freedom and fighting terror, but what’s reality?
Martial law is coming soon to the hood, to kill you
While you hanging your flag out your project window

[Talking]
Yeah..
The fourth branch of the government AKA the media
Seems to now have a retirement plan for ex-military officials
As if their opinion was at all unbiased
A machine shouldn’t speak for men
So shut the fuck up you mindless drone!
And you know it’s serious
When these same media outfits are spending millions of dollars on a PR campaign
To try to convince you they’re fair and balanced
When they’re some of the most ignorant, and racist people
Giving that type of mentality a safe haven
We act like we share in the spoils of war that they do
We die in wars, we don’t get the contracts to make money off ’em afterwards!
We don’t get weapons contracts, nigga!
We don’t get cheap labor for our companies, nigga!
We are cheap labor, nigga!
Turn off the news and read, nigga!
Read… read… read…

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Did you hear about the rose that grew ;
from a crack in the concrete?
Proving nature’s law is wrong it ;
learned to walk with out having feet.
Funny it seems, but by keeping its dreams,
it learned to breathe fresh air.
Long live the rose that grew from concrete
when no one else ever cared.

The Rose That Grew From Concrete – Tupac Amaru Shakur

Though, this short poem written by Tupac has made it billboard’s top 10, it exists at so many levels not obvious in the first read. Tupac might be talking about the ghetto-adversity he battled against, but generally, this poem can be penned down as an inspirational blurt whenever something seems impossible.

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