Abida Parveen: Ho Jamalo

Posted on November 15, 2008
Filed Under >Adil Najam, Culture & Heritage, Music, People, Poetry
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Adil Najam

We come from a land of some amazing folk anthems. But none, at least for me, has the all-encompassing trance-enducing effect that Ho Jamallo has.

Of course, you cannot possibly sit still through any rendition of Shahbaz Qalandar, but nothing makes one lose ones sense of presence in the present quite the way that Ho Jamallo does. And who better to sing it than Abida Parveen.

This rendition is just as it should be. “Led” by Abida Parveen but sung by the entire room. Every time I listen to this, I feel like wanting to join that first guy who gets up to dance – I, too, cannot dance!

I probably would not get up to dance. But I know exactly the state that he is in. In many ways he – and those who join him – embody the spirit of this anthem even more than Abida Parveen does. It seems that for Abida Parveen, as for them, this is not a “performance” for the audience. This is a “performance” for one’s own self. And, of course, the pinnacle of all art has to be that which you perform for yourself.

I know enough Sindhi to follow some, but not all, of what the words mean. I have not been able to find a good translation and maybe we should all pool our skills to put one together here.

I am hoping that our friend Mast Qalandar (aka Aziz Akhmad) will find it in him to do a post on the history and meaning behind “Ho Jamalo.” I have been able to find little snipets of what this means and why. Maybe, those who know better can fill us in on the details.

Help us, please, write this post.

What is the history of this song and the “Ho Jamalo” chant? What do these words mean? And why does thsi have the effect it has even on those of us who only partially understand the words?

I had really hoped to write a post on all of that, but everytime I hear the song I go into a trance and feel that maybe I should be dancing to the song rather than writing about it!

Also see at ATP:
Faiz Mohammad Baloch: A True Performer
Tribute to a Musical Giant: Khamisu Khan and Son
Tufail Niazi: An Amazing Singer’s Amazing Story
Today in Kot Addu: Remembering Pathanay Khan
Rahim Shah: Going Beyond the Frontier
Atta Ullah Eesakhelvi and the Cassette Revolution
Reshma and Son: The Voice of the Desert

14 responses to “Abida Parveen: Ho Jamalo”

  1. WK Rashid says:

    Abida Parveen performed in Summer 2017 at London South Bank and all I can say that listening to Abida is a spiritual experience, rather than any other concert.

    Even after so many years, her voice remain strong to mesmerize audiences like no other. Ho Jamalo remains an amazing track which is available on https://www.thesufi.com/sufimusic/abida-parveen/ho -jamalo.html

    Also download 100+ tracks of Abida Parveen at http://www.thesufi.com/sufimusic/abida-parveen.htm l.

  2. Umair says:

    Please Translate into English..:
    Jamal ik Kedi tha jo Jail me Kaid tha.. Angrez Built the Sukkur Barrage, that was very big barrage in SINDH. so for testing purpose.. no body was ready to cross the train from barrage.. so at that time GOVT announces jo Train Cross karega ause Inaam milega.. then Jamal ne Train chalai.. :) then won the game.. means jeet gaya train cross the barrage ..
    so its Ho Jeko Khati Ayo Khair saa.. :” ho Jamal Ho :)”
    Unhe Sukkur wari Pul te.. Ho jamal Ho..
    thats.it :)

    Send Your Comments @ Umairsario@gmail.com.

    Your SINDHI..

  3. Vishal says:

    Hey Tina
    Abida is still alive and performing at its peek,

  4. baytunur says:

    Ministry of Culture – Government of Pakistan website says:

    Ho Jamalo
    Hey Jamalo or Ho Jamalo is a Sindhi dance which interprets the battle and folk legends of the province. It is danced on the occasions of festivity and celebration. The song tells the tale of the legendary 18th century Sindhi warrior Jamal who defended his homeland against foreign invaders. The main singer sings the verses praising Jamalo’s bravery and each verse is accompanied with shouts of Ho Jamalo by the dancers who go round the main singer, doing simple dance steps. The song picks up speed towards the end.

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