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Sufis - Poetic Wisdom

South Asian Women Leaders


Music in Pakistan
A story of five decades


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'Parsis-Zoroastrians of India

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the-south-asian.com                               April  2001

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Page  4  of  5

Music in Pakistan - The Story of Five Decades


Khalid Manzoor Basra


Folk & Pop Music

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Pathaney Khan

Amongst the pioneers in the field of folk music’s presentation were Alam Lohar, Sain Akhtar, Sain Marna, Khameesoo Khan, Misri Khan and to some extent Zahida Parveen as a large portion of her repertoire could be categorised as Sufi as well as folk. These artists frequently toured abroad and also published LPs. The genre had a sympathetic treatment from the official media also and a number of official bodies also supported its conservation and publication but the real boost came with the advent of cassette when Ataullah Esakhelvi and Abida Parveen became mega hits. The present day scene is dominated by Alam’s son Arif, Ataullah, Abida Parveen, Sohrab Fakir and Allan. A number of traditional drummers and instrumentalists like Pappu Sain from Lahore are also coming to prominence. Another prominent names of recent past include Pathaney Khan and Tufail Niazi. The genre has also attracted considerable international attention and a number of these groups have performed and recorded abroad.

The recent trends in pop music have created certain unique blends of indigenous folk music themes with the western pop themes. Some of these like Abrar-ul- Haq’s ‘Billo’ have become mega hits and have also been sold to Bombay Films. A number of other musicians are also active in evolving styles closely modelled on similar patterns. 



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Mehdi Hasan            

This is essentially a poetic genre which has a strong tradition of singing attached to it. At the time of partition the great exponent of ghazal singing Ustad Barkat Ali Khan was active in Lahore. As the genre received avowed official patronage, a large number of musicians tried their hands at it. Those exclusively known for ghazal singing are Ijaz Hussain Hazravi, Fareeda Khanum, Iqbal Bano and the two great contemporary stylists; Ghulam Ali and Mehdi Hassan. Also known (partly) for ghazal singing are Ustad Amanat Ali Khan, Hamid Ali Khan, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Shahida Parveen and Abida Parveen. The genre received a great boost in Pakistan due to the fact that some of the best poets, in the  last fifty years, lived in Pakistan. 


next page

Lahore's music traditions & Lahore Radio

Film Music

Sufi Music

Folk & Ghazal





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