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Rubab: “The Lion of Instruments”

May 18, 2010

Suha Jora post will return next week, in the meantime (given exam time) let there be another derivative post.  This is another post on music, and just to reiterate: I’m not a music expert, and I don’t know anything technical about it. I just portray my naïve opinions about music based on my tastes and whim.

Rubab has suddenly become one of my favourite instruments out there, after I’ve listened to these two unknown guys covering an unknown (atleast for me) band’s unknown song. It is fracking brilliant!

It made me think of all the songs that became memorable, partly because of the use of Rubab in the song.

Rubab is an instrument mostly used in the folk music of Khyber-Pakhtoonkhwaa (In Pakistan) and Afghanistan. I’m sure there are a lot of rubab based pieces of brilliant music out there, which I don’t know of, because of my very limited exposure to Pashto music (However, I would appreciate if someone bring some good ones to my attention). However, the following songs are testament to how this instrument adds to these songs, which transcends them to another level.

Paimona Bitte – Zeb & Haniya (Coke Studio Season 2)

Now the album version of the song has a good Jazzy feel to it, however the Coke Studio version becomes a very different beast with the Rubab (not to mention very different lyrics).

Ek Baat Kahoon Dildara – A. Nayyar (Film: Khuda Aur Muhabbat)

This song is from the 1978 movie “Khuda Aur Muhabbat”, and Tafoo composed and arranged the music for this funk-tastic song!  The whole song personifies funkiness, to me, from the lyrics to the Rubab playing.

Poochoon Ga Khuda Se Ja Keh, Woh Husn Diya Kyun Tujh Ko

Meri Tauba Jis Se Tootay, Kaafir Jo Banade Mujh Ko

… Wallah Tu Sub Say Pyaara, Tere Ishq Ne Hum Ko Maara!

Jaanan – Hadiqa Kiyani and Irfan Khan (Aasman)

Its very difficult to like Hadiqa’s latest album, but this song was a treat for me. The original song was sung by Irfan Khan, here (with English translation)

Zalim Nazron Se – Ali Haider

Not the best usage of Rubab out there, but this was one of the first appearances of it on a mainstream pop hit. I couldn’t find the original Pashto “Marba Maikay” song on Youtube (surprise, surprise)

Special Mention

Rubab Song – NTM Drama Dasht

Though not the best of songs, but anyone remember this Drama on NTM back in the day? This was the first private production that took place in Baluchistan, and first to incorporate songs in the storyline.

P.S. “The Lion of Instrument” is taken from the Wikipedia entry, and I don’t approve or reject that statement. Heh


Janu Sun Zara – Anwar Rafi (Film: Jeeva – 1995)

In 1995, Syed Noor directed Jeeva which was  kind of decent. The music was composed by M. Arshad, and the song was sung by Anwar Rafi. The video was shot on Resham and Babar Ali, and was shot in Turkey (as was the rest of movie)

5 Comments leave one →
  1. May 19, 2010 4:06 am

    the dasht song was my first introduction to the rubab.

  2. May 21, 2010 7:24 am

    Strictly through my YouTube travels, I’ve become a fan of Nazia Iqbal:

  3. May 21, 2010 8:35 am

    @Richard S. I must say that I’m not aware of the Nazia Iqbal phenomenon! Checked some videos out! shall do more research soon. Though in this video, i detected auto-tune! Btw, did you check the mujra-usque videos in the last post. I thought you might enjoy them.

  4. May 21, 2010 6:14 pm

    I certainly did check out the Nargis scenes in the last post. The Nargis mujra-fantasy scene was great! Though I guess the family massacre scene was a bit over-the-top 🙂 … I am looking forward to the second installment!

  5. December 15, 2011 2:17 pm

    Think you might be interested in this as well

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