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 Lohar [Photo]

Alam was born in 1928 in the Achh village near Kharian in the central Punjab district 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.

He became famous for his singing of famous Punjabi folklore 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 Queen Elizabeth'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 saddened 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 audience 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 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 Coke Studio Orchestra

Lyrics of Jugni in Roman English / translation in English:
Alif allah chambay di booti, tey meray murshid mann vich lai hooMy master has planted the fragrant seed of love in my heart
Ho nafi uss baat da paani dey kayWhich flourished with modesty, piety and acceptance of his existence
Har ragaay harjai hooMy God is present in every throbbing pulse
Ho joog joog jeevay mera murshid sohnaMy spiritual guide is ever-present
Hatay jiss ay booti lai hoThe one who blew life into me
(chorus # 1)Pir meraya jugni jiI have the spirit of my guide
Ae way allah waliyan di jugni jiThe spirit of all the messengers who brought His message to this Earth
Ae way nabbi pak di jugni jiThe spirit of Holy Prophet
Ae way maula ali wali jugni jiThe spirit of Ali and his followers
Ae way meray pir di jugni jiThe spirit of my saint
Ae way saaray sabaz di jugni jiThe spirit of all his words
Dum gutkoon, dum gutkoon, dum gutkoon, dum gootkun… karay SaeeinEverytime I think of you God, my heart flutters
Parhay tay kalma nabi da Parhay saeein pir meryaSo I recite the kalma whenever I think of God
(chrous #1 repeat)
Jugni taar khaeein vich thaalO my creation, share whatever you have
Chad duniya dey janjaalRemove yourself from worldly concerns
Kuch ni nibna bandiya naalThere is nothing that you can get from other human beings that you can take to the after-life(repeat)
Rakhi saabat sidh amaalJust keep you actions and intentions pure
(chorus # 1 repeat)
Jugni dig payee vich roiSo absorbed was the creation that she stumbled into a ditch
Othay ro ro kamli hoiThere she wailed relentlessly
Oddi vaath naye lainda koiBut there was no one who enquired about her(repeat)
Tey kalmay binna nai mildi toiRemember, there is no salvation for anyone without remembering your creator(chorus #1 repeat)
Ho wanga charha lo kuriyonPut on your bangles, girls
Meray daata dey darbaar dianThose that you get at your Master’s shrines(repeat)
Ho naa kar teeya khair piyariDaughter, don’t be proud of your youth
Maan daindiya galaryaanYour mother scoffs and scolds you
Din din talhi juwani jaandiThat with each passing day, your youth slips by
Joon sohna puthia lariyaanEven gold when put in the furnance moulds itself, there is absolutely no permanence
Aurat marad, shehzaday sohneyWomen, men are like so beautiful
O moti, O laa lariyaanLike pearls, like the gems
Sir da sarfa kar naa jaireyThose who are not self-centered
Peen prem pya lariyanThey are the ones who truly love the humanity
O daatay day darbaan chaa akhoWhenever you visit the darbar of any saint
Pawan khair sawa lariyanGod fulfils all your wishes and showers you with his blessings
(arif plus meesha)(chorus 2)
O wanga charha lo kuriyon meray daata tey darbar diyanPut on your bangles, girls … Those that you get at your Master’s shrines
O wangha charha lo kuriyon meray daata tey darbar diyanPut 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 jiJugni jiJugni 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.
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Asghar Javed said...

Of Punjab I must say.