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Posts Tagged ‘Kailash Kher’

I was re-reading some old posts and was surprised that my initial reaction to Arziyan (from the soundtrack of Delhi 6) wasn’t exactly jumping-off-the-walls enthusiastic. I had forgotten that for some strange reason it took time for me to warm up to it. Perhaps because it feels like I’ve always been enamored with this song, with the depth and beauty of its lyrics, with its lovely melody, with the sense of peace and calm it endows me with each time I listen to it. Arziyan has now firmly become a part of those select songs that I listen to in difficult times, the songs that give me strength and hope, that heal my heart and nurse my troubled mind. Each time I listen to it, its lyrics make a stronger and stronger impact on me, and they transport me to a different place. I’ve posted a particularly favorite stanza on my desk, and a friend who asked about it asked me to translate the song for him. I’m going to do my best, because as always, its not easy to properly translate the feelings behind the lyrics, and also I often stumble on the Urdu. And so, as always, anyone passing by is asked to help! 🙂

Arziyan (Supplications) is written by Prasoon Joshi, rendered by Kailash Kher and Javed Ali, to music set by the maestro A.R. Rahman.

Arziyan saari chehre pe likh ke laaya hoon/Tumse kya mangoon tum khud hi samajh lo

(All my supplications I bring to you written on my face/What shall I ask from You; You know it all)

Ya Maula/Maula, Maula, Maula mere Maula (2)

(O God/God, God, God my God)

Ch: Daraare daraare hai maathe pe Maula/Marammat muqaddar ki kardo Maula

(There are creases* on my forehead, God/Help me restore my destiny/fate, God)

*creases: worry or frown lines

Tere dar pe jhuka hoon, mita hoon, bana hoon (2)/Marammat muqaddar ki kardo Maula (2)

(On Your doorstep I have kneeled, been destroyed, been made/Help me mend my destiny (or fate), God)

I: Jo bhi tere dar aaya, jhukne jo sar aaya/Mastiyan piye sabkon jhoomta nazar aaya

(He who came to Your doorstep, he who bowed his head to You/Appears to be intoxicated and dancing with pleasure)

*This is not a great translation! Mastiyan is better translated as something intoxicating. Here, we are told that those who have been given God’s grace appear intoxicated with their love for Him, and they are dancing in pleasure. Dancing and being mesmerized in prayer and devotion is a feature of Sufi practices and beliefs.

Pyaas le ke aaya tha, dariya woh bhar laaya/Noor ki baarish mein bheeghta sa tar aaya 

(He who came with thirst, has a river in front of him/Is drenched in the downpour of Divine Light)

Maula, Maula, Maula mere Maula…

Ch.

II: Ek khushboo aati thi (2), main bhatakta jaata tha/Reshmi si maya thi, aur main takta jaata tha

(A perfume would come, and I would go stumbling after it/Wealth (material goods) were like velvet, and I followed greedily)

Jab teri gali aaya, sach tabhi nazar aaya/Mujh mein hi woh khushboo hai, jisse tune milwaya

(When I came Your way, only then did I see the Truth/That the perfume I seeked lies within me, and You helped me recognize it)

Maula, Maula, Maula mere Maula…

Ch.

III: Toot ke bikharna mujhko zaroor aata hai/Varna ibadatwala saroor aata hai

(I know too well how to break, be shattered/And I am also aware of how to worship)

Sajde mein rehne do, ab kaheen na jaoonga/Ab jo tumne thukhraya tho savar na paoonga)

(Let me be prostrated in Your presence, I will not go anywhere else/Now if You forsake me, then I cannot be saved)

IV: Sar uthake maine tho kitni khwahishen ki thi/Kitne khwaab dekhe the, kitni koshishen ki thi

(I had raised my head and made so many wishes/I had dreamt of so much, had tried so much)

Jab Tu rubaroo aaya nazren na mila paaya/Sar jhukake ek pal mein maine kya nahin paaya

(But when You came near me, I couldn’t raise my eyes to meet Yours/In that one moment when I bowed my head to You, there was nothing I did not gain)

This stanza is my favorite, I am struck by it every time I listen to it, and this is the one I have taped to my desk so I can be reminded of it daily. I don’t know if the translation does it justice. It speaks of Man’s continuous quest, infinite desire, untiring ambition. Man wants more and more, asks for more and more, tries for more and more. This stanza summarizes this quest. I raised my head and I demanded so much from you: that my wishes may come true, that my efforts bear fruit, that my dreams all become reality. But when You appeared before me, God, and I had to bow my head against Your luminosity, in that one moment I realized I had gained everything I ever wanted.

Maula, Maula, Maula mere Maula

Ch.

Mora piya ghar aaya, mora piya ghar aaya (multiple times)

(My beloved has come home, my beloved has come home)

God is the Beloved, and this is a phrase in many Sufi bhajans, celebrating, in my interpretation, God’s entry to your heart, mind, and soul.

Afterthoughts:

Arziyan speaks to me on a deep, spiritual level. It has a special appeal to me because I find that it traverses all religions and faiths; it does not speak of any single faith or denomination or describes any particular flavor of the Holy. It supplicates to a universal God, a God for anyone who chooses to believe in Him/Her. It is a piece about faith in a greater power, and the hope and the strength that faith can bring to you, when you need it most.

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Solely music-related post.

One, I can’t thank Javabeans enough for this post on Yi Sung Yol, its like a gift for us information-starved fans. http://www.dramabeans.com/2008/06/profilegiveaway-2-yi-sung-yol/

It has so much information on his music, his background with UMe&Blue, his personal journey and insight into his own music, and is just a fantastic read. Best of all, she translated 20 versus 30, one of my favorite songs. How amazing is that. I was so thrilled I think I shouted involuntarily (only a few artists can bring out the fan girl in me). And to top things off, I was a winner of the giveaway! Woooohhoooo! That means I get the first CD 🙂 Thanks so much Javabeans! Please check out this article if you’d come here looking for information on him, I’m sure you’ll appreciate it as much as I have.

Also, Mary R commented on one of my YSY posts (thanks!) and gave me some more news: http://www.kome-world.com/uk/article.php?id=142 He was awarded the Musician of the Year Award for In Exchange and also the Best Modern Rock Single at the Korean Music Awards. Yes! It pleases me that he’s getting these awards and recognition: couldn’t go to a better, more-deserving artist. His music just blows our minds away!

Two, I have yet to describe my trip to California, in which I had gallons of fun and was quite the traveler and adventurer. One of the best bits was our last-moment trip to Oakland to catch Summer Beats 2008, the amazing concert with Atif Aslam, Kailash Kher, Richa Sharma and Amanat Ali (who, I’m sorry to say, should have spent more time backstage observing his sunbaes than on stage). How do I begin? Amanat Ali wasted too much time. But then Richa Sharma struck just the right tone with Saawariya as she gracefully came on stage. Her Dama Dum Mast Kalandar was a bit too much the fourth time around (there really was no need, especially since it wasn’t her song anyway), but she did a medley of some of her best intros (Jag Soona, etc). I wish they’d have cut her by just 2-3 minutes. Next tiny Kailash Kher with his big beautiful voice walks on. He was so short, I was totally not expecting that! But he makes up for what he lacks in height with his powerful voice. He picked great songs, starting with Sajna Tere Bina, going on to Chak De from Khosla ka Ghosla, and singing his two beautiful hits, Teri Deewani and Saiyyan (I’m so crazy with this song right now). The dancers were just amazing too, they did a beautiful, fitting sequence in Teri Deewani, making the whole song amazing. He got the audience involved, introduced his band Kailasa, and was so genial and funny that it was definitely worth it. He was probably the best performer of the night.

Kailasa-Saiyyan (Jhoomo Re)

And then, onto the main event (atleast for me), but thanks to the stupid MC and Amanat, the rockstar of the night Atif Aslam only got like 25 minutes (and he was not happy about that). After commenting on the time he got right into it though, and kept it high energy the entire 25 minutes, ending rather abruptly. Atif is truly a rockstar, and he showed his colors. It was amazing. I always think that a concert is worth your money if you see something you’d never get on a good pair of speakers, and clearly Atif thinks the same (see, we’re made for each other), because he did his most famous songs with variations, did guitar solos, threw in some crazy rockstar moves. Of course, to see him live and realize that the man actually is that damn good looking has its advantages to it too. And yes, when he lets go of his cool dudeness and smiles, it is so, so, worth it. (Hold on a minute while I reminisce…)

The big drawback: the sound quality was bad in the theatre. Atif sings really close to the mike (just like John Mayer and YSY: I see a pattern here!), and the sound system wasn’t set up for that. As a result his words weren’t clear, and sometimes there was feedback (not fun). When we did hear the words, it was interesting to note how different his enunciation is. He pronounces a lot of words with a strange accent, and a different emphasis, and really mouths them out. He’s born and raised and educated in Pakistan, so I’m pretty sure that just comes from his singing style, he just likes to really throw his words out there, and enunciate each one. Its hard to explain, you just have to hear him/see him in concert, but its unexpected. Ofcourse, I’m totally biased so I take the positive spin on that :). He sang his most popular songs, but left out Woh Lamhe and Doorie, but I think that was on purpose because he was a little miffed at the time he was left (I can totally understand that too: wth was it with the extra time given to others??). Pehli Nazar Mein: when he began, I think my heart skipped a beat. He started from the first stanza and the audience went crazy. He did variations of Aadat, and sang Tere Bin, which was a huge hit too.

The man sure keeps his energy up, and he has some freaking amazing guitar skills. The whole band does, and I kind of wish he had introduced the rest, atleast given them names, because he had some great talent in that group. He did one or two slow songs too, which included the pretty Kuch is Tarah, but not enough. I’m such a big fan of his deep, strong voice that I would have really liked to relish that for atleast a couple more songs, rather than the heavy rock star music and guitaring. I mean, I definitely loved the musical extras he gave the audience, but I longed for a little bit more of his voice. When I got back home, though, I realized his new album Meri Kahani was out. So apart from planning our wedding, I spent some time checking that out. Its recieved more criticisms than his last album (Doorie), because he’s totally changed his style. I didn’t like Doorie as much (except the title track), so I barely paid attention to those criticisms, and yes, I was right, his new explorations do more for me. Atif has ventured out of his usual, comfort zone, of which many were getting tired, and tried something new and different for him and his voice.

You may not be able to tell with this title song, but perhaps this next song, my favorite one (a duet with a Pakistani female singer, SKJ), will throw more light.

Atif Aslam-Kaun Tha (Meri Kahani)

This album has quite a few slow songs (yes!), leaning towards acoustic, giving his voice and the lyrics more space than his previous songs tended to. Also, more emphasis is given to a subdued, understated quality of his voice than to the power alone. As in, while his previous hits have relied on his high notes, the throwing out of his voice, Meri Kahani doesn’t do that as much, but tries to bring out the softness, huskiness and emotion in his voice. I’ve always felt Atif has a ‘tragic’ voice, which I find hard to explain, but its like that very first time you hear Aadat, or you hear Tere Bin, and you’re immediately drawn because he plays directly on the listener’s emotions. You feel his voice more, and the lyrics mean less. I’m not being fan-girly, because even when I don’t like his songs, I can appreciate the depth of his voice. So Meri Kahani tries to prove that his voice has more than the deep, tragic, low facet…he has more talent than just stretching the note.

On the negative side, this means some of his songs are not as clear, he seems to mumble or they are just too soft to win over the guitar. Also, the strange accent troubles me a bit in this album, especially when he pronounces Tha (the word for was) as Ta. That just sounds wrong, especially with the female singer doing it the right way. I’m not sure why he does that, if its just a by product of enunciation or what. There are also some rock tunes, mainly the too-heavy-metal for me tune, Hungami Halaat, and Chor Gaye leans towards the usual rock and guitar numbers. I completely disagree with critics who claim the album is lacklustre or sounds similar throughout: I’m not sure which album they’ve been listening to. I think thats just backlash from disappointment, because most fans enjoy hearing the kind of music they love rather than watch their artist foray into different fields. The album has plenty of flaws, and some songs deserve to be reworked (like Humrahi, which goes along just beautifully until it suddenly changes its mind and decides not to be acoustic, and the whole tune gets changed, leaving the listener in a “whaaa” stance). But overall, being as objective as I can, I think Atif has taken some huge steps to explore his musical skills with this attempt as singer and songwriter and composer. The album is personal, a narrative that is more honest, open, and bolder than his previous work has been. His songs are varied, and cover a broad range, ranging from memories and childhood, to love, longing, loss to even a dialogue on man and society with Rabba Sacheya, an adaptation of Faiz Ahmad Faiz’s Punjabi poem about man’s expectations from God and the problems with society (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meri_Kahani). That isn’t a weak effort or experiment, but an impressive attempt by a singer who, to be honest, doesn’t need to work so hard to sell (his voice is enough to sell like hotcakes. Infact, every album he has sung a track for in recent times has been a hit in the Bollywood music industry alone). He may be indulging his personal tastes and his desires to expand his portfolio, and he makes some mistakes, but Atif Aslam has a very, very forgiving listener base, and with his truly impressive talent, he should be lauded for taking chances and forging into new territory.

And now I’m done reviewing music for the day. I have yet to go into Rahman’s Ada, and rave some more about Atif Aslam. I’m considering posting some of my video from the concert, but between planning a wedding and planning my impending move to a new country, I unfortunately have less time for good ol’ fan girlness. Pity.

[PS: I just heard from my chingu that other places weren’t as lucky to have a good Summer Beats concert, and got some ol’ fashioned swindling instead, with Raghav (Raghav????!) being pushed down throats. And the later concerts got cancelled because of Atif’s visa problems (yes. Racial profiling at its best). I feel pretty darn lucky to have had a fairly decent concert, and a great time, albeit the beginning. If this happened to you, please don’t let it put you off from attending future Atif Aslam or Kailash Kher concerts (when they are allowed into the country, and when the producers are able to get their act together). From my own experience I can say, they put on a damn good show, and its enjoyable and worth the money (a reasonable sum of money that a student may afford), and you take home more than just what you would have heard on your speakers. So atleast give ’em one more shot. ‘Course, this comes from a completely biased source. 🙂 )

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