Sunday, April 20, 2014

Q is for Qawwali

Day 17 of  the A to Z challenge. And the letter today is Q.

At first look, Q seemed like quite a challenging letter but then Zuri's "Q for Qawwali - A style of devotional music associated particularly with Sufism" helped me get started. I may not know as much about qawalis as it's real appreciators do but I do know some classic qawwalis and enjoy listening to them when my soul requires some peace. Talking of qawalis, one name that immediately pops up in my head is that of the Legendary Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. The qawwali titled "Dum Mast Qalandar" was released in 1992 and since than whenever there is a discussion about qawwalis in a gathering, it's almost inevitable to not mention this one.

While qawwalis are mostly considered to be Sufi, it's interesting how often one will find the notion of love in this genre of music. That love, however, is an open-ended notion which allows the listener to interpret it according to his/her own perception. It doesn't lead you to believe in dramatic love stories but yet it demands from you to understand love and its complexities on many levels whether its self love, love for beloved or love for Divine.

This one coming up is a top favorite qawwali of those who are waiting to fall in love, suffering in love, are in love and even those who don't believe in love (as it's just not possible to not appreciate the poetry if one has a genuine understanding of it). Yet another of many master pieces by the maestro - Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan.

The state of intoxication is also widely found in the poetry which is sung in qawwalis. This intoxication, like love, is also not to be taken literally for its general meanings. Rather, this intoxication is an extended metaphor which is used to express various stages of spirituality. There have been qawwalis in the past which are famous for their controversial and paradoxical content. I believe that qawwalis have now various sub-categories and it's a good approach to categorize different types of poetic compositions according to one's personal preference.

I personally am fond of thought provoking poetry and have a flair for questioning and understanding the controversies and thus, here is my personal favorite qawwali by Aziz Mian Qawal who is widely known for his unique style of qawwalis.

There are many more respectable names such as Amjad Sabri (Sabri Brothers), Abida Parveen, Fareed Ayaz as well as work of great poets which has been used in qawwalis but I would stop right here for I feel afraid that my limited knowledge and humble understanding of poetry will fail to do any justice to them. As I am writing this post, I have few qawwalis lined up for me to discover tonight. This post is dedicated to you Zoya!

And on a much lighter note:

Q is for Queen - the 2014 Bollywood film that I had the opportunity to watch earlier today and it served me just the right amount of entertainment and inspiration that I was in need of. It has made it to the top of the list of my favorite Bollywood flics.

Q is for Quick - It's a big burger franchise that I stumbled across in France. The point to be noticed however is that I only like their vanilla milkshake!

Q is for Quentin Tarantino - A special "Thank you" for making Kill Bill and Kill Bill 2! Some of you girls out there will know where this is coming from, I hope.

Q is for perfectly cooked Quail that I had last week for dinner, stuffed generously with a delicious filling, flavored with just the right selection of herbs and spices and served with assorted vegetables. You know who you are! Wanna share the secret recipe?

and lastly,

Q is for Quixotic - And that would be me, yours truly. It's a tough claim to live up to but I am not going to disappoint myself (wink!) I am just as unrealistic as life itself is and I am loving it.