Pakistani folk music

Music of Pakistan
Specific forms
Religious music
Traditional music
Media and performance
Music awards Lux Style Awards
Hum Awards
Pakistan Media Awards
Music festivals All Pakistan Music Conference
Lahore Music Meet
Music media
Nationalistic and patriotic songs
National anthem Qaumi Taranah
Regional music
Local forms
Related areas

Folk music of Pakistan includes the traditional forms of Balochi, Pashto, Punjabi, Brahui and Sindhi folk songs and music. Pakistani folk songs include "Abeeti" (a love song sung by young women), "Allah Hoo" (a Muslim lullaby) and "Ashoor Jan" (a patriotic love song) and Jugni folk songs. Folktales include the epic love stories of lovers like Heer Ranjha, Sohni Mahiwal, Sassui Punnhun and Mirza Sahiban. Then, over the years as time went by, folk songs and folk music were developed by the people based on these folktales.

Badala (or Sandara) is a historically significant form of Pashto folk music that focuses on local romance, epics, folktales, fables, local heroes and historical events. Badala also includes Pashto translations of epics and romances from Arabic and Persian cultures.

Major folk singers


The Sindhi kafi is an indigenous musical form of Sindh and Punjab, Pakistan. The word kafi, is of Ararbic origin, used in the sense of "final" or "enough" in the expression “Allah Kafi”, which means, “God Almighty is Supreme”. Thus the kafi is a devotional form of music composed in a particular form derived from a mixture of classical, semi-classical, and light music forms (specifically, the khayal, tappa, thumri, and geet). The mystic poetry of the Sufi saints is usually sung in this mode.

There is a Punjabi variant of kafi singing. Like Sindhi kafi, the mood and the theme of Punjabi Kafi may also be termed as secular and humanistic. In their Kafis, Shah Hussain (16th century) and Bulleh Shah (18th century) have adopted a strategy to communicate their thoughts, serving the humanity in a powerful and effective way. The satirical tone of these kafis, sometimes, depicts true picture of political situations and social conditions of their own days.

The Sindhi kafi is short, simple, and lucid in composition and tone. Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai, a renowned Sufi saint and mystic poet of Sindh (d. 1752), contributed considerably to the development of the Sindhi kafi, writing many verses and composing tunes which he named “The Sur of Shah Latif”. His tunes are still popular.

The late Zahida Parveen was a master of kafi singing. Her daughter, Shahida Parveen, possesses her mother's command of the form and her devotional urge. Yet today's trends, and perhaps necessity, have led her away from kafis and towards the geet, the ghazal, semi-classical and folk forms. Abida Parveen is another renowned kafi singer of Sindh, but she, too, sings in many other genres.

See also


  1., Profile of Alam Lohar on website, Retrieved 19 June 2016
  2., Pathanay Khan's Pride of Performance Award info and profile on The Express Tribune newspaper, Published 9 March 2016, Retrieved 19 June 2016
  3., India honours Abida Parveen with lifetime achievement award, Dawn newspaper, Published 9 Oct 2012, Retrieved 19 June 2016
  4., Profile of Ghulam Ali on website, Retrieved 19 June 2016
  5., Surriya Khanum performing in Coke Studio, Pakistan, videoclip on YouTube, Retrieved 19 June 2016
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