Tuesday, June 10, 2008

1984 Mehfil - Munshi Raziuddin & Sons

Munshi Raziuddin was largely out of circulation in the Karachi 'society' circles, during the late seventies.  His patrons began to pass away, or fade from prominence, audiences were demanding the more rock 'n roll type of Qawwali.  Above all, the break-up of the Manzur Qawwal group left him without accompanists, as Abu Mohammad and Fareed Ayaz were not yet mature enough to come out on their own.  He was, as one saw, going through a hiatus, although he bore his difficulties with grace and equanimity.

My elder brother and I were visiting Karachi, and Razi Mian came over one day to call on our father.  We talked and he told us that his sons were performing these days.  An appointment was set, and since our mother was a bit under the weather, we arranged a session at a friend's house in Defense.  This was a stag session.

Most (unpleasantly) memorable was the presence of a local man of letters, scion of one of Karachi's leading 'intellectual' families.  Unfortunately, his vast knowledge of Indian classical music was exceeded only by his obnoxiousness in showing it off.  In this session, he repeatedly interrupted the singers, asking them to switch from one raaga to another, upsetting their concentration and frustrating the full exposition.  We heaved a collective sigh of relief when he prominently and loudly announced his departure, somewhere in mid session.  I remember saying, sotto voce, Janaa hai to dafaa ho, kiss ney rokaa hai?  Raziuddin and his sons took it all in stride and rendered a performance that convinced one of their mastery of the classical genre.

The Maru Behag with which they started this recital, remains my favourite.  Maru Behag holds a very special place in the heart.  In 1969, my father and I did a driving tour of the north of Pakistan, and we found ourselves in Kalaam in northern Swat.  We stayed in a rest house on a plateau above what was then a tiny hamlet.  We sat in quiet solitude after dinner, on the patio of the rest house, with the moon casting a silvery glow.  In front of us was a majestic mountain, Falakh Seher, which is about 17,000 feet high—a mere hill by Himalayan standards.  Below us was the river Swat, with its gushing white waters.  The sounds of the river and the rustle of the crystalline breeze in the pine trees providing a soothing aural backdrop.  Across the narrow valley a young shepherd boy played the flute to no apparent melody, dawdling over random notes, as young boys are prone to do.  And the simple transistor radio we had with us was receiving an All India Radio broadcast of Malavika Kaanan singing Maru Behag, in a rendition that radiated a teasing sensuality, despite the crackling of the airwaves and the puny size of the speaker in the radio.  The perfection of all this harmony caused me to tell my father that this was the moment to leave this world, since never again would one reach such a state of absolute spiritual peace.  He laughed, and told me that I had a few years ahead of me, so should perish the thoughts of an exit …

Also the Kedaara—a favourite of mine—is quite special.

The recording was made on my father's Akai cassette deck, bought in 1972—a machine that still soldiers on.  Says a lot for Akai.—Asif Mamu

The raagas sung are:

Volume I
1. Rasiya Ao Na (Raaga Maru Behag)
2. Mangal Karan Soondhar (Raaga Tilak Kamod)
3. Qaul - Man Kunto Maula (Raaga Shudh Kalyan)

Volume II
1. Jia Chahe so Kahe (Raaga Mishra Pilu) - Tarana (Raaga Zeelaf)
2. Chura Jhanake / Paiyan Paroon Gi Palaga Na Daroon Gi (Raaga Jaijaiwanti)
3. Keenay Jattan Re Ghanay/Lagi Ri Mein Tau Charran Tehare (Raaga Bilawal)
4. Ay Daiya Kahan Gaye Veh Log (Raaga Bilawal) / Teri Re Mein Tau Charan Lagi
5. Sej Nis Neend Na Aave / Ay Sukhe Daiya (Raaga Kedara)
6. Mati Malaniya/Hoon Tau Janam Chadde (Raaga Kamod)
7. Jhanjhan Jhanjhan Payal Baaje Reh (Raaga Nut-Bihag) - Jhana Jhanan Baje Bichwa (Raaga Chayya-Nut).

Volume III
1. Harva Mora Re/Guru Binay Kaisey Gun Gavain (Raaga Yaman Kalyan)
2. Preet Na Jane / Mori Bangari / Kangana (Raaga Malkauns)
3. Ali Ghar Deyo Badhayi - Aaj Badhawa Sajan Ghar
4. Hajrat Khaja Sung Khailiey Dhamaal (Raaga Bahar)

Updated on 26 August 2010: Corrected track titles per Cirrhosed's comments.  Many thanks to him for the feedback!

1. The text for this post was taken from Asif Mamu's "Notes on the Music".


Adonia said...

I loved reading the details. Please keep posting similar articles (with music) on your blog.

I think Munshi Ji was a great musican who went unnoticed by Pakistanis, especially by those not residing in Karachi.

bohotkhoob said...


Happy to learn you enjoyed reading the notes to the music. We plan to follow this approach on future posts as well. You are so right in that he was not nearly as well appreciated as he deserved to be. But that's changing, through the efforts of not just Farid Ayaz and Abu Mohammad, but also of a growing base of devoted fans, mashallah.


Adonia said...

Bohotkhoob, Z,
Here is a farmaish, please upload "Mai Roo baroo-ey yaar" if you have it.

bohotkhoob said...

Hi KM,

We don't have that particular one currently, unfortunately.


Qawwalli_Lover said...

It was first true summer evening in Toronto that Saturday night a few weeks ago. We had all been invited to a barbecue to a relatives place in the expensive (and expansive) urban sprawl just north of Toronto. The house itself is in a lovely setting, with a big tree line backyard overlooking a ravine.

The evening progressed as any other one at their place. Good food, decent, if at times meaningless conversation about non-controversial or even thought provoking issues, and jokes and laughs being exchanged between the people there. By about 10 pm I quietly slipped outside to enjoy the lovely summer evening. It was just too lovely to stay indoors.

Hoping that I would find some time to spend outdoors, I had come prepared, armed with a Montecristo Tubos cigar, an ipod full of qawwalli and other classical music, and an understanding from my wife that I would slip out after a respectable period of time. By 10 pm that time had arrived, I had praised the food effusively, and spent a bit chit-chatting with everyone and nodding dutifully in agreement with everything being uttered by the elder relatives.

So, as discretely as possible, out I went, fumbling with the ipod and secretly slipping out the cigar and smelling it. The moment I stepped out the door, the beauty of the evening hit me instantly. A light summery breeze brought the smells of freshly cut grass, newly blossomed flowers, evergreen pines, and freshly verdant seasonals. Truly summer in Toronto is perfect. The city seems to come alive in every way imaginable.

Time to crank up the qawwalli. On a whim I choose the 1984 session. This would be first time I would have the opportunity to listen to the whole thing uninterrupted and on my own. And what a perfect choice it turned out to be. From the beginning, the soft, almost sensual, slow notes of the Maru Behag, provided a perfect piece to start a summer walk on treelined pavements, hearing the occasional barking of a dog, and catching glimpses of scantily clad ladies, both young and old, sitting on their porches or else aimlessly ambling back and forth on the street. Any excuse to be outdoors seemed to be sufficient.

I turned up the volume to the maximum and just took in the lovely maru behag as it slowly encompassed the mind and almost overwhelmed the senses, removing one from the reality of the now, and taking it into an almost rustic setting on a crystal clear night under sparkling stars, and the soft light from the waxing hairline crescent moon.

It was as if the senses were reaching a new plane of awareness. The slightest shivering of tree branches seemed to take on a life of its own. No sound could be heard other than the qawwalli, yet all senses seemed to be perfectly in tune with each other. The occasional puffing of the cigar just added more pleasure to an already amazing sensual experience.

The raag seems to give one an almost melancholic feel. A tapestry of thoughts is woven as one retraces steps of ones life. And as often happens, before you know it, you are at a point which seems totally separate from where you started out. I started out at the events that led me to getting this recording, and I have no idea how, but as this raag came to an end I was thinking of all the loving people I have had good fortune of knowing, and how so many of them seem to have gone now. A feeling of extreme sadness came over me, and I had to stop walking to recover as the faces of the past went through my mind like a movie. This response to the Maru behag was deeply personal in a way that surprised me.

Somewhere along the way, the behag gave way to the Tilak kamod, provoking altogether different emotions. The pensive reaction solicited by the behag slowly gave way to a more general look at life and its meaning. Inevitably it brought me to think about the purpose of creation, the nature of God, and the nature of the universe. The physicist in me could not help think about the implications of recent developments in the field, and all the exciting discoveries still awaiting.

Seemingly, a thousand and one questions went through my mind and I tried to come up with answers to each, only to give up, as the task seemed too complex. The raag alas can raise questions in the mind, but fails to provide the anwers. Fortunately the tarana came around at just the right time, broke the stupor I had entered. Coincidentally a sharp gust of breeze also came at the same time. The twin shocks were just what were needed, as the mind was feeling low, and the body enervated.

After the two raags, the arrival of the Man Kunto Maula was like a breath of fresh air. In the midst of the mild humidity, the arrival of a breezy interlude matched to near perfection the Qaul. Both acted to boost the spirit and the flesh. Suddenly the slow thoughtful steps along the concrete path gave way to brisk walk. The raag of the qaul setting the pace. And just as fast, thoughts turned from questions of deeply philosophical nature, to Hazart Ali (A.S), the man's greatness, his humanity, humality, and his deep (almost unparalled) understanding of human nature. Several of his quotes were recalled and admired, and a feeling of hatred welled up against his enemies who had done their best to hurt him and his family.

All too soon the qaul ended. Maybe it was the qawwals goal to leaving the audience wishing for more. I was sorely tempted to click the back button and replay, but decided against it.

Alas, the jeeya chahey so kehay, which followed did not exactly make one feel too fulfilled. Its only saving grace being the tarana that ended the piece and the sheer genius of the way that Munshi Raziuddin transitioned between raags and styles.

Perhaps the raag of the ghazal on its own might be more interesting, but the choice of the ghazal itself did not seem to the match the raag. Maybe it's my immaturity in the genre, or maybe the fact that it followed 3 great pieces, this particular piece just did not do anything for me. I took the time to look at the stars and marvel at way they stood out against the black velvet sky, with the occasional veil of wispy diaphanous clouds.

Just when the ghazal was getting too much for me, Razi broke into the tarana. Zeelaf has long been my favourite raag for the tarana. And for those 3 minutes time seemed to stop. I was blown away by the majesty of the raag, and also felt sadness, that even in 1984 Raziuddin was past his prime. Ayyaz or Abu Mohd had to step in frequently. But that did not take away from the pure joy that the tarana brought me that night. I tried, in vain, to imagine what it must have been like to be at that sitting and watching the tarana unfold. The evening seemed to get a new lease on life as I decided to walk on and listen to the rest of the session.

One of the best things about the jaie jaie vanti that followed is the introduction that Raziuddin gives. I have no idea what he is talking about, but its good to know that at least some of his knowledge has been preserved and someone someday might be able to explain what Razi meant.

Intially this raag reminded me a lot the maru behag. But whereas the behag engendered a sense of melancholic peace, this particular raag seems to have been designed to expand the mind and encourage epiphanies. It was difficult to hold on to a thought for too long. The mind kept getting pulled in a thousand directions. I tried to empty myself of all thought and focus purely in the raag itself, enjoying a fair bit success felt myself floating in the music. It occurred to me that the vanti requires greater voice control than does the behag.

The lead-in to raag abhogi kanara was brilliant. The way Razi changed direction into something completely new, a different pace was nothing short of pure genius. The vanti and the kanara are a perfect match. Both raags compliment each other perfectly. I decided to take a break from my walk, and lie in the grass with my eyes closed and simply loose myself to the music, a not too difficult exercise given the quality and style of the music. The smell of the cigar blended perfectly with the smell of grass, and I took a few quick puffs just to keep the cigar from going out.

Not surprisingly the arrival of the "Kahan gaye veh log" did not provide the spiritual energy required to lift oneself from the damp grass and continue with the walk. So I lay there and let my empty mind continue to take in the poetry. It was just as well as time has acted to partially close (if not completely heal) the wound left by mamu's passing just over a year ago, or I would certainly have found myself shedding some tears. It was not easy keeping emotions in check. Yet there was an emptiness that was brought on that forced a return to the past and think of all the sad things that one has seen, fortunately there are not too many of them, but the last year has seen quite a bit of sadness. Again Raziuddin seems to have anticipated the effect the poetry and the raag would have on the listener and at just the right time switches raags and moves into faster rhythm, almost as if to awaken the listener from the past and into the present. At least that is the effect it had on me.

Placing the raags kedara and chayya nut seems difficult. Both are slow raags. The singing of both sequentially seems to be a bit of waste, specially late in the session. Perhaps a faster, or at least more uplifting interlude would have been in order between the two, to maybe give the listener a great appreciation of the beauty of the two raags.

By the time that kedara had come to an end, I reluctantly forced myself to get up and walk back towards the house. The cigar was about 1/3 done, and it was getting harder to light as the lighter was low on gas. I felt that I had not done the kedara and the chhayya nut justice by listening to them in the state of mind I was in at that time. Have promised myself that I will give undivided attention and complete focus soon. Suffice to say that in the presence of the qawwals and a crowd of connosieurs the experience would have been enhanced immeasurably.

The evening had progressed perfectly so far. The breeze had picked up considerably, making the humidity quite bearable. I decided against walking back to house even though it was after 11 pm and way past my sons bedtime, but it was a Saturday night and I figured we could let him stay awake late. Besides my wife would have called me on my cell phone if she needed me to return.

With the jhanjhan now picking up pace, I walked towards the park. People were lazing around the fountain and some nubile pretty young things in very economical patches clothing of were sitting on the edge with their feet immersed in the water giggling among themselves as they went about splashing. The jhanjhan seemed so apt, that I could not help but smile.

The arrival of Tum Binna Kaisey Gun Gavain signaled that it was time to head back. So swaying to the music I set off back for the house, speeding up the puffing on the cigar, as that had to be finished before I got back. This particular piece seemed to have been sung quite simply to arouse the senses and awaken the body. In that it succeeded, the slight attack of sleepiness that was threatening to overcome me was pushed out of sight. So thoroughly enjoying the piece and the clearly audible appreciative responses in the background of the recording, I took in puff after puff and retraced my steps back to the neighbourhood.

Snippets of conversation between the audience (Asif mamu, Nana sahib, and Mr. Hamidi, and one occasion even mamu being clearly audible) almost made me feel that I was there too. These snippets bring the mehfil to life, taking it from just a recording into something real.

Ahhhhhh! What can one say about the Dhammal with its fantastic tarana closing, followed by Ali Ghar Deoh Badhai, and finally the badhawa? The ending of the walk (and the cigar) matched the beginning in perfection. The complete blending of perfect weather, a cigar as good they come, and qawwalli that is second to none. And you get a glimpse of paradise. The arrival at the house coincided with the final notes of the qawwalli session, and a final lighting of the cigar.

I just hope I get to recreate a similar experience over the course of the summer listening to other sessions.

cirrhosed said...

Legend Munshi Raziuddin during his entire carrier illuminated true spirit of a Qawwali, Qawwali which is based on a Raag and by virtue is an epitome of a divine love. You won't find many doing the same. He was not just a Qawwal, a very good Khayal singer and a Scholar at the same time. He only indeed carried legacy of Qawwal Bachoon Ka Gharana in a very conventional manner, his artistry always showed his commitment, determination and allegiance towards what he was obligated for and so are his sons. Fareed Ayaz and Abu Muhammad, now carrying their father legancy in the same fashion as their father took it from his incestors.

This mehfil is an evidence of Munshi Sahib and sons being veterans, demonstration of such a mastery. Feels like Swars are being showered diectly from heavens.

Mehfil started with a very beautiful Asthai "Rasiya Aawo Na" in Raag Maru Bihag.They did a mesmorizing Alaap, quite diffirent and unique, I thought for an instant as if they were to sing Dhrupad. The mood of Maru Bihag has been well transformed in here, Fareed Ayaz's voice was (is) so delicious that it embellished the Raag further.The Taans used were perfect in Akar and only justified Taans were rendered unlike others.I loved those soothing Sargams and their variations by Fareed Ayaz and of course extraordinary Gamaks by Munshi jee at that age. I must say Fareed Ayaz is very well trained. Treat ended up with a Tarana incorporated with fast Sargams. I have many renditions of the same Asthai by many Ustads but I found this one superior to all of them.

The next was another masterpiece, a beautiful composition of Hazrat Ameer Khusro in Raag Tilak Kamod which ended up with a perfectly rendered Tarana in the same Raag. I reckon this version has not been to the standard of the version that is available on youtube, in any case this composition has always a hypnotizing affect on me. I'll really appricate if someone of you passes me the lyrics, "Mangal Karan Sondhar Jaijai Kamni".

Now what can I say about QAUL, simply fantabulous.

As for as "Jia Chahay So Khay" is concern I don't agree with the friend who seems to be not satisfied with the selction of Raag. In my faulty opinion Munshi je wanted it to be very light in its texture to meet the demand of the bools.Bools are very romantic and light, and if Bools like these are to be composed in a Raag then composers prefer Raags having Thumri, Dadra, Geet Angs e.g Bhairavi, Pilu, Pahadi, Khamaj, Mand etc (perfect for light classical). Raag they used is Pilu indeed Mishra Pilu, and I guess they had their best choice keeping the nature of the lyrics in mind. But he has his view and respect it. Apart from the debate it was another gem by father and the son, completed with a beautiful Tarana Zelaf.

cirrhosed said...

Next is one of my favorite Raags, Jaijaiwanti. An excellent Ek Tala rendition with some spellbinding Sargam Taans and Gamaks, Drut Bandish "Payan Paroon Ge" made the enviorment more gratifying. You never know when Munshi jee changes the tempo!

Track titled as "Abhogi Kanara" is not Abhogi Kanara, neither the scale nor the Challan supports it for being Abhogi Kanara. Observe it closely from 1:11 to 1:25 you'll find a perfect picture of Bilawal or its variant Alahaiya Bilawal, moreover pharase Pancham is not used in Abhogi Kanara. In short Bilawal and Abhogi mantain a huge distance between them. I am sure Munshi je and Fareed Ayaz know that they are not singing Abhogi because maestros can't commit such a tiny error. Regardless of the title it is indeed a very nice rendition.I am in love with the Drut part of the rendition, what a verse they are reciting and the way they are expressing the Bools is more then fabulous in itself.
"Kenay Jattan Re Ghanay", and my favorite in fast tempo;

Lage Re Mein Tau Charran Taharay
Kalyer Ke Basiya Ho Sabir Pyaray |

Nabi O Ali Dao Kay Manmohan
Baba Fareed Kay Raj Dularay ||

And now its the turn of my favorite Bandish in Bilawal or Alahaiya Bilawal, there's hardy a difference between Shudh Bilawal and Alahaiya Bilawal. I think I must elaborate that difference to avoid any disbute, Nikhad (Nishad) used in Bilawal is Shudh while Alahaiya Bilawal is ornamented with both the Nikhads, otherwise both are same.
What an excellent rendition in particular is this, capturing almost everything in its Mojo, such a mastery in both Layas.

Ay Daiya Kahan Gaye Veh Loog
Brij Kay Basaiya |

Na Kao Sungi Na Kao Sathi
Na Kao Sudh Ka Livaiya ||

Kedara or Kedar has always been a Raag of a great feel for me, it moves with a very polite and delightful pace with the whirls in ascending and descending, being a property of Bilawal Thaat (Altho many consider it in Thaat Kalyan, same is the case in here). Mostly singers render it in Vilambit due to its nature and to give more prominence to two Madhyams. But here Munshi jee and sons proving critics very much wrong, they are singing Drut equally good with Raag immaculately intact. A beautiful demonstration of two Madhyams by Munshi sb and fareed Ayaz. I have many versions of this Chiz rendered by diffirent Ustads and Pandits but I found this much superior then most of them, absolutely a class act.

cirrhosed said...

Tracks named "Chhaya-Nat" and "Jhanjhan Jhanjhan Payal baje" are very complex and interlaced because the Raags used in both of them belong to Thaat kalyan, therefore I'll take both of them as single. There are minute differences amongst them thus often they look alike. Munshi jee also tried to inculcate the same, includes Chhaya-Nat, Kamod, Kedara, Shyam but only Kamod and Chhaya-Nat were rendered along with Nat-Bihag on request.

Dha Dhin Dhin Dha - Dha Dhin Dhin Dha -- Hey'yyy Ma'aaaalaniya Maaathi Ma'aaaa...laniya, WAO! what a way to get to the Sam, Fareed Ayaz is too good. This part is not Chhaya-Nat its indeed Kamod, why were they interrupted?, I think they were very much having Kamod intact, anyways it was well manipulated rendition with some awesome Gamaks by Munshi Sb. Then they suddenly moved to another Chiz in the same track, Kamod again incorporated with a very delicious Asthai " Hoon Tau Janamna Chadde", again they showed a fabulous cammand over laya. It is of great importance to note that there exsist no Raag named as only Chhaya, Chhaya means a shadow so basically Chhaya-Nat follows Shudh Nat like a shadow, same as in the case with Chhaya Todi.

"Jhanjhan Jhanjhan Payal baje", it is not a Ghazal, infact a Bandish of a Khayal in Raag Nat Bihag. Nat-Bihag is quite a difficult Raag to sing because you have to keep the aspects of both Nat and Bihag together simultaneously.

Hey Maa Jhan Jhan Jhan Jhan Payal Baje
Jage More Saas Nanandiya Aur Doraniyan Aur Jathaniya |

Agar Sune More Begar Sune Jo
Sun Paway More Saas Nanandiya Aur Doraniya Aur Jathaniya ||

Alas! Munchi jee didnt sing Antara, By all means it remained a treat for my ears a lot better then many others. They once again came up with a surprise package of Chhaya-Nat, a Bandish "Jhanan Jhanan Jhanan'nananana Baje Bichwa". This was extremely a delectable Bandish but those voices in the background must had irritated Khan Sb, One was saying "Khan sb bohat ho gya", how can you address to an Ustad like Munshi Raziuudin?. Anyhow It was a private Mehfil after all, but I enjoyed alot inspite of those voices.

Next is a Raag which I call the one having the most extraordinary feel, a very peaceful and solacing Raag. If one has to express love then there's no better choice than this. Hazrat Ameer Khusro being the Lord of this Raag, Yeah! you are getting it right its Aiman Kalyan (Yaman Kalyan). Munshi jee and Fareed Ayaz made my day, it was like they were taking me to heavens. Alaap was so soothing that I find it impossible to express in words, Taans used were quite different and expertly improvised. The moment they reached to Bandish in Adha Taal (the one with medium tempo), I went totally blind because I never anticipated this Bandish to hear again, it was like I am being regarded with even a better rendition once again.

Harvaa Mora Re Devo Manga
Na Tare Mai Gaari Doon'ge Na Daron'ge Tumse Balma |

Jab Dogay Mohay Motiyan Harvaa
Tab Langhoon Ge Tumharay Gharwa ||

cirrhosed said...

Amazingly they entered from one Laya to another Laya, this is what we call a perfect Layakari. Drut part with Bandish "Guru Bin Kaise Gun Gaway" slightly gives an impression of tiredness. Fareed Ayaz gave beautiful Sargams and Taans except that small segment around 17:07, but the very next moment he realized that and rendered rest of the part adeptly. It remained a very refreshing rendition otherwise, Fareed Ayaz dominated throughout.

Gur Bin Kaise Gun Gaway
Gur Na Manay Tau Gun Nahi Aaway Gunyan Mein Begunni Kahaway |

Gur Manay Tau Rijhaway Sub Ko
Charan Gai Saadhi Kalkay Kub Aaway Achpal? ||

Next on list is Malkauns, a majestic and splendiferous Raag. Munshi jee and sons left no stone unturned to give their best, they did full justice to the rendition of Gandhar and Madhyam which is the soul of Malkauns. I would call it another masterpiece equipped with magnificent Sargams, Taans (maximally improvised) and Gamaks. I utilized the maximum capacity of my speakers and enjoyed full 40 mins of the Bandishes and Tarana while lying in the bed with eyes clased.

Ali Ghar Deyo Badhai, what a sensational singing. Budhawa which followed stunned me altogether, isn't it a sweat nector?. Shahana Kalaam of a Shahana personality in Shahana Raag and by Shahana father and sons, its a perfect match.

Last but not least its Shudh Bahar "Hajrat Khawaja Sung Khailiyay Dhamaal". Nobody can sing Bahar like Munshi Raziuddin, its very unique and with a real gist of spring. Tarana in this particular number sounds very much Suha?.

BOHATKHOOB, I really admire your sense of preserving the things, even after 26 years sound quality is perfectly alright. Keep up the good work!!!

Asifmamu said...

Cirrhosed, thank you for such a detailed, expert and educative appreciation and critique. Reading this has been extremely valuable and enjoyable for me, as, I am sure it will be for others.

bohotkhoob said...

cirrhosed, it was a pleasure reading all of your comments. Thank you for having taken the time to do all this. Very valuable insights!

The credit for recording these mehfils and for preserving and re-mastering them goes to Asif Mamu.

bohotkhoob said...


You inquired about the lyrics of the Tilak Kamod bandish "Mangal Karan Sondhar Jaijai Kamni". I too have been looking for them, and for a long time, but no luck yet. Haven't heard any other musicians use this bandish for tilak kamod or any other raag. I wonder about its origins and how Munshi Ji came to adopt it in his repertoire.

cirrhosed said...

@Asifmamu & Bohatkhoob

Thank you very much for all those appreciations. It really is a life-time pleasure to listen to those gems, and this wouldn't have been possible for me to listen without you people. Asifmamu, credit is all yours for being the preserver.

I am sorry for that troublesome created by my first four postings. Actually I am new to these blogs, barely knew that they could be deleted by author.

Bohatkhoob, don't bother about lyrics, we'll have luck one day.

BTW I am Imran.


Anonymous said...

Yours is a truely beautiful blog.. I wish I was able to get these qawwalis in India in a store..


searching dervish said...

Bohotkhoob...all i can say is Bohot Khoob indeed.

Asif Mamu thank you for sharing not only this wonderful collection but also the memories that are inextricably linked with it.

There is such a dearth of Munshi Shb's recordings..that anything available is worth its price in gold with the pre-split mehfil being even more valuable.

It is such a pleasure to listen to these recordings...over and over again.

Thank you very much for making it possible.

Kritika said...

Thank you for sharing this treasure trove. I discovered Munshi Raziuddin after listening to some work his sons have done recently (collaboration with Coke Studio). While that might be blasphemous when seen in comparison with their classical roots, it did introduce a clueless person like me to this wonderful style of music. I was only aware of the more popular folk qawallis, and was unaware that qawallis can be so rooted in Hindustani classical tradition. It is an rich heritage that needs to live on for future generations.

Having taking some training in Indian Classical music I really do find the music you have made available to be really ethereal. One truly gets lost in the beauty of the melodies and the astute remarks of Munshi sahab. What a delightful, humble and noble personality shines through!

Also, what makes this blog special is the way you relive the performances and point out nuances and side notes. We really feel as if we are transported back in time.

I am from India, and recently was visiting Delhi when Fareed Ayaz Qawwal and brothers were going to perform there. I was ready to abandon a wedding I had to attend in order to attend their concert, but unfortunately I could not. I truly wish that some day I can hear them live, maybe in India or in the US, where I now live. Till then, your generous gift to us music lovers will have to suffice.

bohotkhoob said...


Thanks for appreciating our efforts!

Asif Mamu adds:

"Dear Kritika,

So wonderful that this has opened new horizons for you! You know—a propos your comments on hearing Fareed and Abu Mohammad on Coke Studio—it is far from sacrilege to compare the performances. Rohail Hayat, the Coke Studio band and the Qawwals have done wonders in this work. They have preserved the integrity of the music and poetry while 'modernizing' the instrumental backup and rhythms, something that stands out as one of the most brilliant examples of fusion music based on Indian classical forms. Just proves that there are two kinds of music, great music and not-so-great music.

I do hope that you enjoy many hours of pleasure reading/listening to this blog. That would be the gratifying thing for all of us in putting this together."

Waseem said...

Salaam aleikum brother, these recordings are not working anymore :-( can you please fix them, its part of my weekly ritual and something feels broken now ... thank you very much waseem@sadiq.nl

Unknown said...


i have listening problem (1984 Mehfil - Munshi Raziuddin & Sons)

please unlock this mehfil then i am listening.


Muhammad Kashif Niazi

bohotkhoob said...

Dear Mr. Niazi,

We are moving the music to another hosting provider. Try the new playback widget above. Hopefully things should be smoother moving forward with this new provider.