18 comments on “There’s Nothing Like A Good Qalandri Dhamal!

  1. Nice collection as always Richard! Madame did full justice to this song.

    One would think it would wear you to death to hear this song repeated by so many singer, but somehow I like it by all the singers (ok almost) who have sung it, e.g. Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan

    or Abida Parveen, esp. this version

    Reshma of course just sung it in her sleep, beautifully….

    Alam Lohar was fantastic (this is incomplete)

    Others I like include the young Runa Laila. I also have had the privilege of hearing Surinder Kaur sing it live at a private function after a great deal of persistent requests from a part of the audience; as she never sang anything but songs that she had sung “originally” or recorded. As you can imagine, it was absolutely amazing!

  2. That’s the first time (yes, I know – unforgivable!) that I’ve heard Noor Jehan’s rendition of Lal meri pat. Wonderful! Though, like Bawa, I’ve heard the song sung by a number of other singers (including Runa Laila, whose version also I liked a lot), one of the best versions I’ve ever heard was years ago, on India’s national TV channel, Doordarshan. There was this bunch of folk singers, men from I think either Rajasthan or Gujarat – I was too small then to know the difference. But they sang a fabulously folksy version of the song which I still remember. Tried looking for a video (even an audio!) of something similar, but haven’t been able to find one. :-(

  3. Bawa, thanks for all these great versions of “Lal Meri Pat,” and Dustedoff, thanks for posting the Runa Laila…

    I think we’ve talked about different versions of this song on this blog before. (But I’m not going to take time searching to find out when – probably, it was more than once. :) )

    Noor Jehan’s is my favorite version, of course, and the other day I was enjoying and posting a few different qalandri dhamals sung by her in those movies from the ’70s. But I certainly don’t mind turning this into all different versions of “Lal Meri Pat” in the comments section – that is very enjoyable too.

    And I know of some other ones out there too… There’s the Sindhi folk singer Shazia Khushk (I think she does a great performance of this):

    There are also some Pakistani rock bands who do this song… Laal does it, but I can’t find a very good clip. And Junoon is famous for it (though I don’t like them as much for some reason – but search, and there are plenty of versions of them doing this song).

    Also, some fun stage mujra dances out there… This is the mujra dancer Nargis, who’s been featured before both here and at Bollywood Food Club :) …

  4. I did not post Runa Laila’s because I can’t find the earlier versions, when she was in her 20s, which I like a lot better. I would love to hear the version you heard!

    Richard, Junoon are famous for it, although for me it is just a so-so version. I also like this song (and others) with the traditional instruments like in the video by Abida or Alam Lohar, so much better than all these synthetic strings and what nots!

    In any case, these songs are mood-uplifting, I only wish I coull share the Surinder Kaur version (recorded in my mind) with you!

  5. Bawa, the Abida Parveen and Alam Lohar versions are very good (well, the Lohar seems as though it would be very good – but you’re right, it does get cut off very fast). Of course, I know Abida’s version(s) of that very well now. (We’ve talked about that, and you know that I am an Abida Parveen fan. :) )

    I would love to hear the Surinder Kaur version. Recently, I downloaded a whole bunch of Surinder Kaur and Prakash Kaur songs from the early days. (At the moment, I don’t quite remember where I got them, though…)

    Regarding the instruments, well, I don’t have any bias against synthetic instruments, as long as they’re done creatively and are meant to add something to the version, rather than just substitute for something that’s missing… I have in the past been very fond of some traditional Indian, Pakistani, and Arabic music done with a lot of electronics. But sometimes with contemporary versions, I agree, if something sounds as though it’s been too commercialized or tailored for mass consumption by contemporary (and western?) audiences, then it doesn’t work so well for me. (More often, though, it’s not the music that bothers me as much as the videos made to it. Take a look at some of the videos made for those remixes that are floating around. Well, I’ve talked about that before…yuck!) Regarding Junoon, that isn’t quite the problem… I respect their version and think it comes from the heart; I just haven’t taken to their style of rock as much as others’. And it might take some more intricate rock criticism to figure out and discuss exactly why – maybe not for these comments or this blog. :)

  6. Pratibha, thank you for reviewing this and sending me the good news (and the kind words as well!).

    Unfortunately, you’re right in thinking that I can’t read it. :) I’m making an effort to teach myself some more Hindi, but right now the focus is conversation and material that’s been transliterated. It’s going to be quite a while before I can read all that Devanagari! But it’s nice that other people can follow the link and read it.

  7. Thank you, Bawa. It is always nice to see what’s coming out of Coke Studio.

    If I can depart from the main thread a bit :) … Here’s a favorite of mine:

    By the way, I guess you’re still in Spain? I hear some interesting things are happening there…

  8. Wow, this is even better than the last one I posted!

    Although, I must admit, I am not completely comfortable with this whole Coca Cola connection…

  9. Both were excellent, and definitely prefer the second one too!

    Re: Spain: interesting and heartening but totally disheartening in other ways. Are you on facebook? Some filmmaker friends in Madrid posted some interesting short films, subtitled in English. I think you would like them.

    At the moment it is 1000 different hotchpotch of demands/complaints. Which translated into – although the organisers say they never called for it – a call for abstaining to vote in the local / regional elections as “protest”. Which is all very well on paper. And saying that the 2 big parties are all the same. Excuse me, there is a difference and not small.
    Today’s news: More than 100,000 Basques “repent” not voting after seeing the results of election day.

    My daughter’s facebook status sums up the feelings after Election Day:

    Simply great. In times of hardship, vote the people who are on trial for corruption and scandals, the ones who created this mess with their economy based on speculation. Well done Spain :(

    So I totally sympathise with the campaigners (went to support them in person as well) but I am afraid hitting at everything right left and centre is not going to get us anywhere. But I wish them all the luck in the world: they are the young people of the future and it is heartening at least to see people finally come out of their indifference: even if so many of the ones I saw had iphones/ipads/ blackberries/latest laptops to tweet away, stuff I cannot afford, which made me think that the really hard up weren’t there…..

  10. Oh, and Coke Studio are starting the Indian version on 17th June. There is a lot of hype and speculation, but I am waiting to see. They wanted the same producer as on the Pakistan show, but couldn’t get him, and the person producing it in India: well, my only reference of him is that he was a part of what I think as a pretty mediocre act (my opinion).

    And perhaps too many big names and egos in India: lets wait and see. However, the Pakistan one this season is apparently featuring Rabbi Shergill and Kailash Kher, so am looking forward to that.

  11. Bawa, re Spain… This looks like a discussion for my flagging secret/alternative left-wing blog… But this blog is doing much better and is more interesting. So, we can talk about this here :)…

    Some of your observations sound a bit like the feelings I got when I was involved in the “anti-globalization” summit protests (later to be known especially in Europe as “alter-globalization”)… Though they were much smaller than the big stuff happening now in Europe and North Africa, they still were impressive for North America and had a surprisingly strong effect, at least considering the relatively small numbers, before the post-9-11 nightmare… During these protests, I was constantly aware that the demos were waged mainly by young people who were affluent, not by the people suffering most under the present economic policies and system. Back then, it was impressive enough that the protesters all had Internet and many of them were using cell phones. And when I went to the big protest in Quebec City in 2001 (which was actually bigger and wilder than the “Battle In Seattle” – only it didn’t stand out as much because the residents of Quebec were more used to this sort of thing), I saw lots of kids with really fancy gas masks, some with matching fancy blac bloc fashion accessories. (All I had to protect myself against all that gas was the old poor man’s remedy of face-mask/bandanna soaked in vinegar – and I could never stand the smell of salad since then.) But, anyway… I have also noticed that the only active labor protests here in the recent past in the U.S. have been by relatively well-off workers; i.e., the few that have benefited from a history of unionism and thus have more to lose as a result current anti-labor crackdowns. This has given a nice opening for right-wingers to exploit class divisions within the larger working class, encouraging lots of people who haven’t had a lot of experience with solidarity to think, those workers have it better, what are they complaining about? That’s one danger when only the better-off can protest much; another is that, as in the “anti-globalization” movement, young, well-off people will quit when the risks are too great and maybe those who might have something to lose as they “mature” will not stick around for very long at all.

    NONETHELESS… It is really good to see the public democratically engaged in some kind of mass resistance to austerity, plutocracy, etc. It is so much more frustrating in the U.S., where inequality is actually much greater than in much of Europe, where healthcare and so many other social aspects are worse than in thirty-something countries (even though our country is supposed to be the “wealthiest”), to see so little in the way of mass protest and resistance, or engagement of any kind. (Wisconsin did seem like a tunraround, but maybe it was just a fluke, and the movement fell apart mainly because of sellout or cop-out by the union leaders.) So, “hats off” to the kids in Spain and in Greece and, especially, in North Africa…

    Though, yes, it would be nice considering your description, if the protests were a little more focused. I think the main problem is something that a lot of people seem to be boasting about, a lack of a developed social critique or ideology. I would say it would help to draw a little more from history. I mean if the kids don’t want to be like the old Marxists, they want to be “anti-authoritarian” (that’s what I hear a lot about in the U.S. anyway), then surely, they have history in that area to learn from in Spain, of all places.

    But anyway, what blog is this? Oh, yeah, the Indian film blog, the Bolly blog… :)

  12. Sorry Richard! Where is your other blog?

    Anyway, did enjoy the post very much as well.

    OK, found a public link to my friend’s film. In this clip he just follows one of the people cleaning up the rubbish in the protest in Madrid while in the background we here a clip from a programme on State Radio (Radio is Big in Spain for serious politics), and there is the host talking with invitees and then a caller telephoning in.

    It is subtitled in English.

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