Sunday, March 20, 2011

Favorite Musical Masterpieces: #1 - Abdul Karim Khan ("Piya Bin NaahiN Aavat Chain")

I heard music in my house for as long as I can remember. There was my father's record collection and his spools of taped recordings from which he would sometimes play his favorite pieces for us (K.L Saigal, Mehdi Hassan, Begum Akhtar). There too was my mother's ubiquitous transistor radio, with a brown leather covering, on which over the years I listened to untold hours of music broadcasts from Radio Pakistan Lahore and All India Radio's (AIR) Urdu service. There was the twice weekly doses of 'Chitrahaar" on Doordarshan. My love of old film songs owes much to AIR's program "Aawaz de kahaN hai".
This may just be a personal peculiarity but I have always felt an urge to share with others whatever music, art and literature moves me. More often than not it has been my wife on the firing line but many others have received my enthusiastic "gifts". I now intend to use this 'safe' space to introduce some of the pieces that have deeply moved me over the years. (No chance here of holding people forcibly hostage). I have listened to many of these recordings dozens of times and the few people who periodically hit this page may chance upon something that they otherwise may not have experienced.

My first selection is Ustad Abdul Karim Khan's famous 1925/26 thumri "Piya bin naahiN aavat chain" in Raga Jhinjhoti. Abdul Karim Khan was the doyen of the Kirana Gharana and fittingly its is his bust that sits in the main entrance of the All India Radio headquarters. This thumri is revered by many fans of Hindustani semi-classical music. This is marvellously effortless singing and Abdul Karim Khan's mastery of 'sur' is breathtaking. Virtually all Kirana musicians (including Malika-e-Mauseeqi Roshan Ara Begum) at one time or the other have performed this thumri but Abdul Karim Khan's original recording remains in a league of its own.


Musab said...

Wah! This thumri is a special favorite of mine, especially the amazing lay-kaari and the beautiful little sargam that Khansaheb spontaneously breaks into around the middle of the recital.
I think I've made the same decision as you, to turn my blog over to sharing the stuff that has moved me. In the process, the (already scant) readership has thinned out a bit, but if the occasional reader stumbles onto something magical, it'll be well worth it.

Fawad Zakariya said...

Musab, thanks for the comment. I long ago gave up any concern for how many are reading or listening. It is satisfying even if a very small number get to enjoy something one has truly loved. For me sharing is an essential part of enjoying art but the realization that very few other people share my interests happened to me a while back. Now it no longer depresses me!!

Keep up your awesome blog! I have never listened to much qawwali before but am getting educated and entertained via your passion.

Anonymous said...

I've added Moments of Tranquility to my Google Reader page and always enjoy what you write. Please don't stop writing!
(Anonymous from New Delhi)

Fawad Zakariya said...

Thanks Anonymous! I greatly appreciate your very kind note. It always pleases me to see Indian visitors comment on this site. If nothing else it goes to demonstrate the things we cherish in common. I feel sadness that so many common strands of our culture are inaccesible to people of the other country. One can only hope for the future!!

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Salma said...

This is, hands down, the best thumri I have heard in my life. Ustad Sahib's sur is magical, the pathos in his voice is heart touching. Thanks for posting it.

Zakintosh said...

It's always lovely to hear Karim Khan singing this.

Keep writing, Fawad. Your posts are always wonderful to read.