Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Jugni - The Mesmerizing Folk Music of Lohars of Punjab

The folk music of Pakistan is unique around the world - its mystic lyrics and music mesmerizes whoever listens to it. 

One of the great folk singer that ever lived was none other than Alam Lohar. A solo singer who with his 'chimta' - resembling tongs ruled the hearts of the audience even decades after his death. And it is an honour for his son Arif Lohar to carry on the traditions his father set and left by singing in the same style as great Alam once had.

Alam was born in 1928 in the Achh village near Kharian in the central Punjab distric of Gujrat. Since he belonged to the family of blacksmith, his surname Lohar which means a blacksmith in Urdu and Punjabi, became part of his name and his identity.

Jugni by Alam Lohar

He became famous for his singing of famous Punjabi folklores of Heer Waris Shah and Jugni since the age of 13. His voice was so captivating that wherever he went, both within and without Pakistan, he won over the hearts of his audience. During Quen Elizbath's silver jubilee celebrations in the 70s, he participated in a singing competition of the Commonwealth countries and ended up winning a gold for his melodious voice and narration of folk poetry.

Alam Lohar died in 1979, leaving his fans saddended and lamenting - but he also left behind his son Arif Lohar to replicate him for following generations and keep alive his very own music and narration style. Arif Lohar was born in 1966 and from the early days of his childhood picked up his father's unique singing style and has beautifully filled in the vacuum left by his father's death.

Arif Lohar is as lively and jovial as his great father was and wins over the audiance who cherish the time spent in his presence for a long time. He sings his father's Jugni in the same style, though modern musical instruments make it more melodious and acceptive throughout the world. In the special edition of music specific Coke Studio, Arif sang Jugni with Meesha that mixed traditional Punjabi singing style with western instruments - the song was an instant hit.

Watch the video below - For those who cannot understand Punjabi, herein under are the lyrics of Jugni in Roman English along with its translation in English is given:

Jugni by Arif Lohar and Meesha and Coke Studio Orchestra

Lyrics of Jugni in Roman English / translation in English:

Alif allah chambay di booti, tey meray murshid mann vich lai hoo
My master has planted the fragrant seed of love in my heart

Ho nafi uss baat da paani dey kay
Which flourished with modesty, piety and acceptance of his existence

Har ragaay harjai hoo
My God is present in every throbbing pulse

Ho joog joog jeevay mera murshid sohna
My spiritual guide is ever-present

Hatay jiss ay booti lai ho
The one who blew life into me

(chorus # 1)
Pir meraya jugni ji
I have the spirit of my guide

Ae way allah waliyan di jugni ji
The spirit of all the messengers who brought His message to this Earth

Ae way nabbi pak di jugni ji
The spirit of Holy Prophet

Ae way maula ali wali jugni ji
The spirit of Ali and his followers

Ae way meray pir di jugni ji
The spirit of my saint

Ae way saaray sabaz di jugni ji
The spirit of all his words

Dum gutkoon, dum gutkoon, dum gutkoon, dum gootkun… karay Saeein
Everytime I think of you God, my heart flutters

Parhay tay kalma nabi da Parhay saeein pir merya
So I recite the kalma whenever I think of God

(chrous #1 repeat)

Jugni taar khaeein vich thaal
O my creation, share whatever you have

Chad duniya dey janjaal
Remove yourself from worldly concerns

Kuch ni nibna bandiya naal
There is nothing that you can get from other human beings that you can take to the after-life

Rakhi saabat sidh amaal
Just keep you actions and intentions pure

(chorus # 1 repeat)

Jugni dig payee vich roi
So absorbed was the creation that she stumbled into a ditch

Othay ro ro kamli hoi
There she wailed relentlessly

Oddi vaath naye lainda koi
But there was no one who enquired about her

Tey kalmay binna nai mildi toi
Remember, there is no salvation for anyone without remembering your creator
(chorus #1 repeat)

Ho wanga charha lo kuriyon
Put on your bangles, girls

Meray daata dey darbaar dian
Those that you get at your Master’s shrines

Ho naa kar teeya khair piyari
Daughter, don’t be proud of your youth

Maan daindiya galaryaan
Your mother scoffs and scolds you

Din din talhi juwani jaandi
That with each passing day, your youth slips by

Joon sohna puthia lariyaan
Even gold when put in the furnance moulds itself, there is absolutely no permanence

Aurat marad, shehzaday sohney
Women, men are like so beautiful

O moti, O laa lariyaan
Like pearls, like the gems

Sir da sarfa kar naa jairey
Those who are not self-centered

Peen prem pya lariyan
They are the ones who truly love the humanity

O daatay day darbaan chaa akho
Whenever you visit the darbar of any saint

Pawan khair sawa lariyan
God fulfils all your wishes and showers you with his blessings

(arif plus meesha)
(chorus 2)

O wanga charha lo kuriyon meray daata tey darbar diyan
Put on your bangles, girls … Those that you get at your Master’s shrines

O wangha charha lo kuriyon meray daata tey darbar diyan
Put on your bangles, girls … Those that you get at your Master’s shrines
(chorus 2 repeat)

Dum gutkoon, dum gutkoon, dum gootkoon, gootkoon gootkon
(chorus 1 repeat)
Jugni ji
Jugni ji
Jugni ji…

Recently, Arif Lohar was in New York and played Jugni with his orchestra - something that his father sang solo. But the effect created by the collective effort of the orchestra left an immortal impression upon the audience, most of which perhaps never knew what he was singing as the Jugni was in Punjabi. 

Dawn International reports quoting Jon Parleles, The New York Times critic who was once a noted musician himself:

“The songs were devotional, and the mood was euphoric. There’s something puckish about Lohar’s stage presence, even when he’s belting 17th-century mystic poetry,” he said in his review, which was accompanied by photographs of Lohar performing and the audience in the packed auditorium dancing and waving."
The musicians like Lohars are living legends of their times and a source of inspiration for folk singers who must carry forward the traditions for the love of their audience in future times.

Video Alam Lohar courtesy YouTube channel / Asif410
Video Arif Lohar courtesy YouTube / Coke Studio
Lyrics Jugni / Translation courtesy: KOM


S A J Shirazi said...

Of Punjab I must say.