Afghani-Punjabi fusion music? Sounds good in theory…

Few of us are probably well versed in Afghani music, unless you’re in close proximity to a sizeable Afghani population, or unless you have Afghani friends. I don’t know if I’ve ever heard any, except maybe in independent films. (On a side note, how many Afghanis even consider themselves Afghani instead of Pashtun, Tajik, Hazara, etc.?)

Soon, we’ll be able to hear an Afghani-Punjabi fusion album…

JawidSharif_Kahkashan_F.jpgAmritsars [sic] playing host to two Afghan singers who are shooting for an Afghani-Punjabi music fusion album. Ariana Sayeed, a London-based Afghan female singer along with Germany-based Afghani singer Javed Sharief arrived here to shoot the first Indo-Afghan music album. The album titled Second Chance contains four songs, two of which are duets in Afghani and Punjabi sung by Javed Shareif and Holland-based Punjabi singer Balli Kalsi. [link]

In theory, this sounds like it could be really interesting, even for those who normally dislike fusion music. I bet folk music from the two regions, mixed, would be beautiful. However, a quick glance at Balli Kalsi, and a glimpse into the artists’ intent shows that this album, which may have had potential in someone else’s hands, is more likely to just be offensive to the intended audience.

I went to Afghanistan twice. I did not shoot there because this type of work is not possible to do there. I have shot in Germany and Holland also. But here, work is very good, said Javed. With this fusion album, the duo aims to change the conservative thinking of the common people in Afghanistan. [link]

Dear Balli Kalsi, Ariana Sayeed, and Javed Sharief: flaunting what one person finds offensive, in their face, isn’t likely to “change” their “thinking.” Oh, the conceit of “modern” folks never ceases to amaze. Assuming that a conservative attitude is backwards, and that dressing “modernly” makes one “modern” (whatever that is) is so tiring. I’ve never seen a fruitful conversation (much less anyone’s thinking change) through condemnations.

In a different interview though, Sayeed mentioned a different goal for the album:

She said the aim of the Farsi-Punjabi music album was for a change and peace in Afghanistan, besides urging people involved in violence to live and let live. [link]

Now, I do support this goal. And since I’ve already been so critical of their prior messages, I’ll refrain from commenting on the realistic chances of a music album bringing about peace (I’m sure you have your opinions, anyway). On a hopeful note, and to give the singers the benefit of the doubt, if they’re able to actually capture the feelings of the people of Afghanistan, and channel the people’s desire for peace (not the singers’ own desires to fashion the country according to their own design)… then this album could potentially be great… and hey, maybe even spark some conversation or contribute to positive action.

If you have an affinity to pain, you could actually watch the only video Balli Kalsi has on youtube:

YouTube Preview Image

Jawid Sharif’s is almost as painful, though more because of its schizophrenic nature. I couldn’t imbed it, but you can view it here.

We can count on the album having one thing for sure, regardless of the innovative ethnic background of this team– random blonde tourists featured in the video. I have to admit, it’s unsettling but interesting to see blonde women being exoticized… like one of those teenage movies where you wake up and you’re in the body of the high school girl who’s always given you a hard time (and who you subsequently despised).


bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark
tabs-top


19 Responses to “Afghani-Punjabi fusion music? Sounds good in theory…”

  1. sizzle says:

    blondes have always been exoticized, at least in american pop culture. it's weird, they're part of the norm, but then they have an entire subculture all unto themselves, all the way back to marilyn monroe's "gentlemen prefer blondes."

    anyways, persian music is like listening to finger nails on chalkboards. so, who cars.

  2. sizzle says:

    blondes have always been exoticized, at least in american pop culture. it’s weird, they’re part of the norm, but then they have an entire subculture all unto themselves, all the way back to marilyn monroe’s “gentlemen prefer blondes.”

    anyways, persian music is like listening to finger nails on chalkboards. so, who cars.

  3. Singh says:

    Not sure what an Afghani-Punjabi fusion pop CD has to do with the "Langar Hall" ? :

    Not trying to be Taliban, just saying.

  4. Reema says:

    Dear Singh,

    Our "About" page states:

    This is a space dedicated to the experiences, reflections, and interests of a diverse group of young individuals – tied together by our common and varied identities as Sikhs in the diaspora.

    Like the many conversations that take place in langar halls around the globe, our blog posts will sweep across a gamut of topics from Gurbani and Seva to Bhangra and Politics. We challenge ourselves to address the myriad of issues we face as individuals and as a community through a progressive lens, and reserve the right to rant, muse, and humor.(emphasis added)

  5. Singh says:

    Not sure what an Afghani-Punjabi fusion pop CD has to do with the “Langar Hall” ? :\

    Not trying to be Taliban, just saying.

  6. Reema says:

    Dear Singh,

    Our “About” page states:

    This is a space dedicated to the experiences, reflections, and interests of a diverse group of young individuals tied together by our common and varied identities as Sikhs in the diaspora.

    Like the many conversations that take place in langar halls around the globe, our blog posts will sweep across a gamut of topics from Gurbani and Seva to Bhangra and Politics. We challenge ourselves to address the myriad of issues we face as individuals and as a community through a progressive lens, and reserve the right to rant, muse, and humor.(emphasis added)

  7. Jag says:

    Dear Balli Kalsi, Ariana Sayeed, and Javed Sharief: flaunting what one person finds offensive, in their face, isn’t likely to “change” their “thinking.” Oh, the conceit of “modern” folks never ceases to amaze. Assuming that a conservative attitude is backwards, and that dressing “modernly” makes one “modern” (whatever that is) is so tiring. I’ve never seen a fruitful conversation (much less anyone’s thinking change) through condemnations.

    'Conceit of modern folks'?

    Where do you draw the line? How do you challenge backward thinking without confronting it directly? How do you challenge backwardness that results in things like female foeticide, doemstic violence, the oppression of women forced to stay in abusive marriages by in-laws, honour based violence, without directly condemning it? Why are 'conservatives' accorded the kind of respect they don't accord to those who object to the suffering and intolerance their conservatism causes?

    Sorry Reema, but this kind of fear of offending 'conservatives' is exactly why so much badness flourishes in the world. I'm amazed that a progressive blog can castigate someone for saying what these singers said, and I'm glad that for all our problems, Amritsar and Punjab is a free enough society for them to express themselves in their music videos compared to Kabul.

    And by the way, the Afghan people love music and film. It's just that 'conservatives' who wish to impose their life-denying morality on the masses frighten them into denying their free expression and culture.

  8. P.Singh says:

    Jag,

    I seriously doubt Reema was according any respect to systems of belief and/or tradition that promote female foeticide, domestic violence, the oppression of women, or honor-based violence. Similarly, I do not see her arguing for why we must refrain from offending 'conservatives', as you term it.

    Rather, I read her post as pointing out the very real conceit (yes, I see it as conceit as well), of some, that adopting a western look with western concepts of morality is somehow 'modern' as opposed to more traditional ideas, all of which are necessarily 'backward' – that somehow, adopting western mores is clearly the more enlightened path.

    I have had my fair share of run-ins with such enlightened paragons of modernity. Apparently, my ability to comfortably discuss issues ranging from politics to art, to sex was not nearly enough to counter-balance my adherence to particular, traditional Sikh values. My turban and beard alone may have relegated me to the 'conservative' and 'backward' camp.

    I have a feeling that this proposed music video is going to challenge 'conservative' Afghan thinking largely by way of mini-skirts and bollywood-esque dancing – Yay modernity!

  9. P.Singh says:

    Please note, I'm not dismissing the problems that exist in our culture, or those in Afghani culture (or European culture for that matter); those problem aspects of culture, tradition need to be addressed head-on.

    However, I see little value in the wholesale adoption of one culture over another. Not to mention, the smug, self-righteousness of those championing 'modern' values and frowning upon those holding on to their traditions and culture/religion, becomes a little wearing after a while.

  10. Jag says:

    Dear Balli Kalsi, Ariana Sayeed, and Javed Sharief: flaunting what one person finds offensive, in their face, isnt likely to change their thinking. Oh, the conceit of modern folks never ceases to amaze. Assuming that a conservative attitude is backwards, and that dressing modernly makes one modern (whatever that is) is so tiring. Ive never seen a fruitful conversation (much less anyones thinking change) through condemnations.

    ‘Conceit of modern folks’?

    Where do you draw the line? How do you challenge backward thinking without confronting it directly? How do you challenge backwardness that results in things like female foeticide, doemstic violence, the oppression of women forced to stay in abusive marriages by in-laws, honour based violence, without directly condemning it? Why are ‘conservatives’ accorded the kind of respect they don’t accord to those who object to the suffering and intolerance their conservatism causes?

    Sorry Reema, but this kind of fear of offending ‘conservatives’ is exactly why so much badness flourishes in the world. I’m amazed that a progressive blog can castigate someone for saying what these singers said, and I’m glad that for all our problems, Amritsar and Punjab is a free enough society for them to express themselves in their music videos compared to Kabul.

    And by the way, the Afghan people love music and film. It’s just that ‘conservatives’ who wish to impose their life-denying morality on the masses frighten them into denying their free expression and culture.

  11. P.Singh says:

    Jag,

    I seriously doubt Reema was according any respect to systems of belief and/or tradition that promote female foeticide, domestic violence, the oppression of women, or honor-based violence. Similarly, I do not see her arguing for why we must refrain from offending ‘conservatives’, as you term it.

    Rather, I read her post as pointing out the very real conceit (yes, I see it as conceit as well), of some, that adopting a western look with western concepts of morality is somehow ‘modern’ as opposed to more traditional ideas, all of which are necessarily ‘backward’ – that somehow, adopting western mores is clearly the more enlightened path.

    I have had my fair share of run-ins with such enlightened paragons of modernity. Apparently, my ability to comfortably discuss issues ranging from politics to art, to sex was not nearly enough to counter-balance my adherence to particular, traditional Sikh values. My turban and beard alone may have relegated me to the ‘conservative’ and ‘backward’ camp.

    I have a feeling that this proposed music video is going to challenge ‘conservative’ Afghan thinking largely by way of mini-skirts and bollywood-esque dancing – Yay modernity!

  12. P.Singh says:

    Please note, I’m not dismissing the problems that exist in our culture, or those in Afghani culture (or European culture for that matter); those problem aspects of culture, tradition need to be addressed head-on.

    However, I see little value in the wholesale adoption of one culture over another. Not to mention, the smug, self-righteousness of those championing ‘modern’ values and frowning upon those holding on to their traditions and culture/religion, becomes a little wearing after a while.

  13. Reema says:

    Thank you P. Singh, that's exactly what I meant.

    Why are ‘conservatives’ accorded the kind of respect they don’t accord to those who object to the suffering and intolerance their conservatism causes?

    Sorry Reema, but this kind of fear of offending ‘conservatives’ is exactly why so much badness flourishes in the world.

    Jag, you seem to be equating ‘conservative’ with repressive ideology, while the singers talk about some kind of conservatism that they assume the vast majority of Afghanis embrace (without identifying the substance of the ideology at all).

    In addition to what P. Singh said, sometimes one's claim for being "modern" is even more superficial. I've seen folks who claim to embrace modernity through things like western dress look down on people who hold on to traditions, even just on the surface, without any attempt to look below the surface; the people in western dress may still embrace caste while people dressing in a salwar kameez might be far more egalitarian and open to change. Yet the person wearing jeans will arrogantly look down from his/her viewpoint of false, self-proclaimed modernity upon someone who wishes to hold on to socially healthy traditions (I'm not referring to sex-selective abortion, dowry, or other harmful traditions). If you haven't seen this phenomenon, I assure you, it exists.

    What do they mean by "conservative"? I have no idea what the singers mean. The people of Afghanistan certainly haven't had the opportunity to express their political or social opinions recently, as far as I know (one fascinating exception).

    I’m glad that for all our problems, Amritsar and Punjab is a free enough society for them to express themselves in their music videos compared to Kabul.

    I'm glad they're able to express themselves in Amritsar too. I just hope that their expression involves more than 'yay! miniskirts!'

  14. Reema says:

    Thank you P. Singh, that’s exactly what I meant.

    Why are conservatives accorded the kind of respect they dont accord to those who object to the suffering and intolerance their conservatism causes?

    Sorry Reema, but this kind of fear of offending conservatives is exactly why so much badness flourishes in the world.

    Jag, you seem to be equating conservative with repressive ideology, while the singers talk about some kind of conservatism that they assume the vast majority of Afghanis embrace (without identifying the substance of the ideology at all).

    In addition to what P. Singh said, sometimes one’s claim for being “modern” is even more superficial. I’ve seen folks who claim to embrace modernity through things like western dress look down on people who hold on to traditions, even just on the surface, without any attempt to look below the surface; the people in western dress may still embrace caste while people dressing in a salwar kameez might be far more egalitarian and open to change. Yet the person wearing jeans will arrogantly look down from his/her viewpoint of false, self-proclaimed modernity upon someone who wishes to hold on to socially healthy traditions (I’m not referring to sex-selective abortion, dowry, or other harmful traditions). If you haven’t seen this phenomenon, I assure you, it exists.

    What do they mean by “conservative”? I have no idea what the singers mean. The people of Afghanistan certainly haven’t had the opportunity to express their political or social opinions recently, as far as I know (one fascinating exception).

    Im glad that for all our problems, Amritsar and Punjab is a free enough society for them to express themselves in their music videos compared to Kabul.

    I’m glad they’re able to express themselves in Amritsar too. I just hope that their expression involves more than ‘yay! miniskirts!’

  15. baingandabhartha says:

    I dont know about y'all but but Kalsi's singing has really offended my sensibilities. what a @#$% mo%$!

  16. baingandabhartha says:

    I dont know about y’all but but Kalsi’s singing has really offended my sensibilities. what a @#$% mo%$!

  17. sum1 special says:

    [quote comment="3060"]I dont know about y'all but but Kalsi's singing has really offended my sensibilities. what a @#$% mo%$![/quote]

    hello dear….what are your sensibilities…what is wrong with balli's singing. do u look around urself? have u seen what is going on? you people come & stamp your opinion on someone. but have you thought about it? have you heard him singing? & have you heard other singing( i am not offending anyone)& do u ever listen to the lyrics or just move your head around with the sound of music instruments? u really need to listen to the rap music that is feat in most of the songs today. & please watch some of NRI singers video. & by NRI singer you sure know who am i talking about. i dont need to name the singer.

  18. sum1 special says:

    [quote comment=”3060″]I dont know about y’all but but Kalsi’s singing has really offended my sensibilities. what a @#$% mo%$![/quote]
    hello dear….what are your sensibilities…what is wrong with balli’s singing. do u look around urself? have u seen what is going on? you people come & stamp your opinion on someone. but have you thought about it? have you heard him singing? & have you heard other singing( i am not offending anyone)& do u ever listen to the lyrics or just move your head around with the sound of music instruments? u really need to listen to the rap music that is feat in most of the songs today. & please watch some of NRI singers video. & by NRI singer you sure know who am i talking about. i dont need to name the singer.

  19. I think Afghani-Punjabi fusion music will sound good. That’s sounds good that Afghani and Punjabi music will combine together to make an interesting fusion. I think people will love to listen to the fusion