Picture of the Day: Trance

Posted on June 28, 2006
Filed Under Culture & Heritage, Music, Photo of the Day
Total Views: 45468

A sufi qawall offering his devotional music at Data Saab’s in Lahore.

I, too, am a fan of the so-called ‘Sufi Rock‘, but I sometimes wonder that instead of triggering a broader interest in Sufi music, it might have distracted attention from the ‘real thing’.

(Original uploaded on Flickr.com by peterhessel).

10 responses to “Picture of the Day: Trance”

  1. Adil Najam says:

    iFaqeer; how can one argue with you on this subject, given your name ;-)

    But even though I agree with your general sentiment on this, I think you are harsh to Pakistani. I also grew up listening to the Sabri brothers and especially Aziz Mian (more for the pop-poetry)… this was well before Nusrat Fateh Ali and well before it was kool to listen to qawalli. In fact, my interest in qawalli was then considered odd both by my generation (which generally thought it was old fashioned) and my elders (who thought it was too unsophisticated)… remember, this is right at the beginning of the ‘cassette revolution’ in Pakistan and Sabris and Aziz Mian were just becoming ‘acceptable’…. but the point is this NIETHER of them was really the ‘traditional’ qawall one sees here… they were both ‘pop qawalls’ in their own rights and in their times… in how the practiced their craft, who their audience was and most importantly what they made the subject of qawalli (remember ‘panni ki qawalli’ or ‘paisa’ and so on….)

    In their time, they were more like Junoon then this guy. Making money. Brining in a new audience. Going to where the moneyed audience was (people’s individual events and concerts) rather than to devotional venues. This is not to say they were not good. They were great, I think. But they were more ‘pop’ than less. The qawall at the urs, at the dargah was and is a different breed. Sabris and Aziz Mian did that too, but what made them famous was that they came out of the dargah and into our cassette recorders; and that changed everything…… (the same way it did for Atta Ullah Essa Khelvi).

  2. iFaqeer says:

    PS: Pakistani, you need to shut yerself in a room and listen to a few hours of Aziz Mian.

  3. iFaqeer says:

    Adil’s point hit home. But what MSK says has merit. I’d go on to say that “Sufi Rock” has become something that helps a whole generation of people something they can identify with and self-identify through.

    On the other hand, however, as one for who relates to Qawwali as something that I consider one of my deepest cultural and spiritual touchstones, it doesn’t dampen the feeling of wanting to pull my hair out when talking to someone from that latter generation/group.

    Haq Bahu, Bai-Shak Bahu!

  4. MSK says:

    I do not agree that Sufi Rock distracted people from traditional Sufi music. It is not as if those interested in traditional Sufi music migrated to Sufi Rock. It is just that new people who would not have gone to the traditional music came over to Sufi Rock. That is a good thing.

  5. Pakistani says:

    This is a very powerful picture.
    I remember being taken to Data Darbar often as a kid. I went again recently, and the whole place has changed dramatically. I think it was the Nawaz Sharif government that did the renovations.

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