Khamoshi Ki Aawaz/ Pankaj Udhas
Velvet Voices/ Rs 250
EARLY last year, ghazal maestro Pankaj Udhas had released ‘Dastkhat’, an album containing the poetry of the great Faiz Ahmed Faiz. On his latest collection ‘Khamoshi Ki Aawaz’, he continues with the mood of good poetry, but instead of focusing on one writer, he chooses a mix of both traditional and modern names.
If Faiz’s style uses complex Urdu words and metaphors, and is normally followed by only those with a deep knowledge of the language, the poetry on the new album is much simpler, and thus easier to relate to among the masses. With a blend of inter-related thoughts and contrasting concepts, the seven-track CD has poetry of the highest calibre. Besides ghazals by Jigar Moradabadi, Mirza Ghalib, Parveen Shakir and Ahmed Faraaz, ‘Khamoshi Ki Aawaz’ has one charming nazm by Ajay Pandey ‘Sahab’.
The songs have an easy listening feel, dominated by pleasant keyboards, violin, sarangi and bansuri. Though one initially feels there isn’t much variety in the structure of the compositions, the tunes take their time to grow on you. Once they do, you feel like hearing them repeatedly.
The album begins with Moradabadi’s popular ‘Saqi ki har nigaah bal kha ke pee gaya’, once rendered by Mohammed Rafi. The lines ‘Sarmasti-e-azal mujhe jab yaad aa gayi, duniya-e-aitbaar ko thukra ke pee gaya’ are truly impressive.
Ghalib’s ‘Koi umeed bar nahin aati’ runs into almost nine minutes, and is one of the album’s highlights. If Udhas sings ‘Maut ka ek din mo-ayeeyan hai, neend kyon raat bhar nahin aati’ on this ghazal, Faraaz’s ‘Kuchh na kisise bolenge’ has a related concept with ‘Neend toh kya aayegi Faraaz, maut aati toh so lenge’.
The album has other interesting examples of lines on the same subject. If Faraaz has another ghazal ‘Is se pehle ke bewafa ho jaaye, kyon na ae-dost hum judaa ho jaaye’, Parveen Shakir’s ‘Teri khushboo ka pata karti hai’ has the sher ‘Dil ko us raah pe chalna hi nahin, jo mujhko tujhse judaa karti hai’.
The late Shakir, one of the popular female poets of Pakistan, also pens ‘Sundar komal sapnon ki baaraat guzar gayee janan’. Sung and arranged like a dreamy ballad, this number grows after a few replays.
The album concludes with Ajay Pandey’s ‘Sahab’s nazm ‘Ajab ek paagal si ladki hai’, which has lyrics that inspire the album’s title. While the poet initially writes ‘Tumhein khamoshiyon mein kya meri aawaaz aati hai, Andheron mein abhi tak kya mera chehra chamakta hai’, he later says, ‘Seher se shaam tak jeevan mein itna shor rehta hai, Na woh khamoshiyan baaki na ab woh aahatein baaki’.
Throughout the album, Udhas sticks to straightforward singing, keeping the feel light. Appropriate accompaniment is provided by arranger Sameer Nichani, violin/ swarleen player Rajendra Singh Sodha, flautist Rakesh Chaurasia, guitarist Ankur Mukherjee, sarangi exponents Sabir Khan and Dilshad Khan, and percussionist Nirmal Pawar. Everyone keeps things simple, and that’s the strength of ‘Khamoshi Ki Aawaz’.
RATING SCALE: * Poor; ** Average; *** Good; **** Excellent; ***** Simply outstanding