This blog seems to be steadily evolving into an overly-enthusiastic-description-of-Aatqa’s obsession-with-Coke Studio. The vicious cycle whereby I listen to a song I don’t understand for an hour on repeat, adequately bop, then decide to research the lyrics- its fun and I would highly recommend. At this point my first post social distancing gathering is going to be a Mehfil in a park where we drink limitless chai, consume inordinate amount of pakoras and enjoy some absolute bangers from the subcontinent. Invites will be distributed in due course.
kaḍe aawo ni raaseela maare des
Come to this land sometime, my fickle beloved
jowaan thaari baaṭ ghani
I wait for you constantly
Lyrics Translation: https://www.cokestudio.com.pk/mobile/season8/e06-s04.html
My current obsession is Mai Dhai and Atif Aslam’s song ‘Kadi Ao Ni’ ( Come Sometime). A hybrid between western (what Dhai bemusedly terms ‘disco’ music), and traditional Maringiyar folk songs from the Sind region in Pakistan. Mai, a singer and dhol player from the Thar desert, is from a tradition of folk musicians who played for the kings of Rajasthan; her otherworldly vocals evoke the ancient heritage from which she comes. Usually I am put of when the composers insert Urdu/Punjabi, but in the case of Atif Aslam’s input I am happy to let it roll. His soft urdu-cised Punjabi complements the strong matriarchal vocals that Dhai provides and accentuates her register.
Mai describes the song simply about calling her husband home, which in itself is beautiful. But my ‘lets analyse every last detail about everything mind’ has extracted my own personal meaning from the lyrics which are filled with beautiful imagery. My favorite bit of the composition is when Mai ( in the language of Marawi) sings about cannabis smoking and wine drinking rajas, lords and princes. Whilst these images themselves are interesting to imagine , they knit together the Sufi ideas in the song. For the regulars of my blog, you can tell I’m a bit of a sucker for Sufi poetry. The idea of the unattainable Beloved fascinates me. The roaming rhythms combined with the semi approbation- longing emotions that pervade Mai’s lyrics, knit together in this verse.
I feel the warmth of the subcontinent in Mai Dhai’s voice, and although there is probably an (large) element of the orientalist coming out in me, the song paints an element of the diverse heritage of Pakistan in a light which is accessible to me as a Westerner. Though some may argue that this is reductive and rather than merging music styles to produce something innovative it is just another dilution of the culture of a peoples who are already being washed out by homogenization invoked by the imposition of western lifestyles in Pakistan.
Either way I enjoyed this song and I hope you do to!