The songs are:
- Lalas wantai chhu sawaal
- Ha ashkI tchhooro, rashkI kerthas
You can listen to the songs here [Song Link]
(Audio quality isn’t the best. Still, it is worth listening)
After hearing these two songs, I decided to look around for other Kashmiri song (and songs with some Kashmiri Lyrics) sung by non-Kashmiri artists.
Here, is what I found:
The first one was the easiest as it is a song by one of my favorite Indian Bands – Indian Ocean, the sound of contemporary India. Amit Kilam, percussionist of the Band is a Kashmiri Pandit.
The particular song is Kaun from their best-selling album Kandisa. The wording are not altogether in Kashmiri, instead the song has a Kashmiri refrain to it. The song has sufi flavor and the rhythm (not particularly Kashmiri) to match it. Indira Kilam, mother of Amit Kilam wrote the Kashmiri lyrics for Kaun.
The song starts with the Kashmiri words:
Kein dhafna, gil mashrao, dayotsi dayotsi, meli bahaar
And ends with the words:
Lol'uk chaavi bahar vasiye, Lol'uk fol'ye gulzar
Dil'an hind taar, Ach'av ki'nn sar, Tel'ee meli bahaar
Samplings of the songs by the Band are available at their site. Although Kaun isn’t available at the site, looking up the album at a local music store would be a great idea as their music is magically ethereal.
The next song is by Bangladeshi Melody queen Runa Laila. Runa Laila was a big name in the Indian Subcontinent for much of the 70s the 80s. That she had sung a Kashmiri song came as a surprise to me.
The song is Kati chukh nundbanay and the lyrics are by Mahjoor, the dearest of Kashmiri poets. Recorded in the mid-70s, the song proved to huge hit in Kashmir and probably one of the reasons why my grandmother is a big fan of Runa laila.
You can listen to the song here
Besides these artists, I have also heard Ila Arun singing in Kashmiri. Ila Arun, a folk-pop artist who was quite popular in the 80s and the early 90s although in the 90s she was known more for her bawdy movie songs with folkish touch of hoarseness. DD Kashir, launched in the year 2000 with much fanfare in Srinagar. As part of its launch celebration many artists from India like singer Lucky Ali (son of yesterday star comedian Mehmood) and Ila Arun were invited for a stage performance to be telecasted live on the newly launch Channel. Lucky Ali sang his song Maut (later used in the film Kaante) - it sounded too eerie for the simple reason that it was being telecasted from Kashmir. However, it was Ila Arun, who surprised the audience by singing a Kashmiri song.
For the next song, I looked at the obvious place to look for – Bollywood. For all it’s fascination with Kashmir, there aren’t many Kashmiri songs to be found in Bollywood.
There is a song Urzu Urzu Durkut from Yahaan (2005). Urzu Durkut is a Kashmiri blessing meaning ‘good health (ur zu) and strong knees (dur kut) ’. Although, the film won critical acclaim for its portrayal of Kashmir problem, I still had problems appreciating this seemingly sincere attempt.
The next movie is the most famous of all, Vidhu Vinod Chopra’s Mission Kashmir (2000). It was the upbeat music by musical trio Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy, that introduced Kashmiri lyrics to rest of the Indians.
The songs were:
- Bumbro Bumbro
- Rind Posh Maal
The original Rind Posh Maal was a love poem by a late 18th century Kashmiri poet, Rasul Mir. The popularity of the poem is obvious from the fact that the Kashmiri are still singing it. The original poem had the memorable lines.
Raza hen-zi-ya-ni naaz kyah anzni gardan
Ya illa-hi chesma bad-a nishi rachh-tan
Ga-tsi kam kyah cha-ni baar-ga-hi lo-lo
Rinda poshamal gindi-ney dra-yi lo-lo
How graceful the swan neck of henziyani looks,
Guard her from evil eyes, O Lord,
Thy bounty, she won’t lessen,
Lo, the dearest is going on an outing of fun and frolic
Henzi: an archaic Kashmiri word for woman.
The original composition Bumbro Bumbro is from the first Kashmiri Opera ever written, Bombur ta Yemberzal (Bumblebee and Narcissus). The original song still reverberates in the valley.