Saturday, June 20, 2009

Aik Alif by Saieen Zahoor and Noori

Based on an 18th-Century poem by Bulleh Shah, where he questions religious hypocrisy and himself, and realizes that what he's struggled to find is actually simple. A beautiful song from Coke Studio (Season 2, Episode 1, broadcast June 14, 2009). Noori includes brothers Ali Noor and Ali Hamza, who are reunited here with drummer Gumby. This was a joy to translate and there were many people interested in the meaning who helped out. In Punjabi with English translation.

This translation was mentioned in an article in The News International newspaper in Karachi.

Free downloads are available on the Coke Studio website.

Bilquis by Rabbi Shergill

A great song about the importance of sacrifice and the danger of indifference. The lyrics use the voices of modern-day martyrs who spoke-out, suffered, and died fighting injustice, corruption, and indifference in India. From Rabbi Shergill's second album Avengi Ja Nahin (will you come or not). The songs have depth worth taking some time to understand. In Hindi with English translation.

Buy from  MP3 Album

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Chhalla by Rabbi Shergill

Chhalla is about circles, like rings or wells, and their potential. Great version of an old Punjabi folk song. Different but similar to versions by Gurdas Maan and others. In Punjabi with English translation.

Buy from  MP3 Album

Já Sei Namorar by Tribalistas

A great song popular in Brazil. Tribalistas is a one-time collaboration of Marisa Monte, Arnaldo Antunes and Carlinhos Brown, who each have individual careers. In Portuguese with English translation.

Buy from  MP3 Album

Meray Log by Noori

Change is the only constant my people. Noori is a rock band formed in Lahore, Pakistan by brothers Ali Noor (vocal and lead) and Ali Hamza (vocal and bass), and including others at various times such as Gumby (drums) and Muhammad Ali Jafri (bass guitar). Directed by Ali Noor’s wife, Mandana Zaidi. In Urdu with English translation.

It's hard to find Noori's music to buy online, but more information on the band is available at their website:

Monday, June 8, 2009

Jhok Ranjhan by Mekaal Hasan Band

Mekaal Hasan Band brilliantly combines elements of Rock, Jazz, and Classical South-Asian music. Jhok Ranjhan is based on a 16th-Century Sufi poem by Shah Hussain. Includes Mekaal Hasan (guitar), Javed Bashir (vocals), Ahsan Papu (bansuri flute), and Gumby (drums). Directed by Zeeshan Parwez. In Punjabi with English translation.

Available from  MP3 Album (Saptak)
Available from CD Baby:  Album (Saptak)

Akheer (the end) by Juggy D

Juggy D is known for high-energy Pop-Bhangra dance music. Akheer is a beautiful and more traditional song I've enjoyed for years. I finally found a translation and discoved it's a Sikh religious song. Meditation on God's name (learning to understand God's identity as well as you can) is an important concept of Sikhism that's mentioned in the song. Filmed in Westminster, London. In Punjabi with English translation.

Available from  MP3 Album

Roobaroo by A.R. Rahman

From the Indian film Rang De Basanti. One of my favorite films, it's mostly about finding inspiration and facing challenges rather than being indifferent and cynical. Great story, direction, music, and performances. Don't read any spoilers! Just see this film. The lyrics really sum it up well. Composed by A.R. Rahman and sung by Naresh Iyer. In Hindi with English translation.

Available from  MP3 Album Film Watch now

Chaiyya Chaiyya by A.R. Rahman

Best film song ever. From the Indian movie Dil Se, amazingly filmed with the actors dancing on top of a moving train as it passes over bridges, through moutain passes, and the Indian countryside. The song is popular worldwide, inspired Andrew Lloyd Webber to write Bombay Dreams, and was used by Spike Lee in his film Inside Man. I searched for the lyrics for years; eventually I discovered they're inspired by 18th-Century Sufi poet Bulleh Shah, but written by Gulzar, and found this Youtube version with captions. Staring Shahrukh Khan and Malaika Arora, who's parts are sung by Sukhwinder Singh and Sapna Aswathi. In Urdu with English translation.

Available from  MP3 Album Film