Folk from the Land of Jaisindhar
You return to those lines, and they hold the song in place.
That’s what a song is mostly.
The songs of Jalal Khan possess such captivating powers. This eminent artist is from Barmer who is carrying forward his family tradition of folk music. He has been learning and performing music from a very young age. He plays the harmonium along with singing. He was studying till 10th standard and after that, he learnt music.
He sings songs of love and betrayal, birth and death. He says, “Such is the juxtapose of artists. We delve into anomalies.”
A father of two young girls, Jalal Khan sang a beautiful song blessing for a young girl/ daughter.
Baisa mahare laad ka Ghana
Baisa mahare footra Ghana
(My daughter is adorable and loving.
She is very beautiful)
Mamosa mamera dese hai
Kakosa kariya dese hai
(Maternal uncle would give lots of gifts,
Paternal uncle would gift a camel)
Telling more about the song he mentions how the emotions and love for a daughter are beautifully portrayed in this folk piece. No wonder that artists, who render these beautiful lyrics day in and day out, get influenced by their spirit too. He says, “I see my daughters and I think that I am not able to give them all that deserve. Folk musicians struggle for a living. This is a hard reality. I am sending them to school now, but I don’t know till when I would be able to take care of them. It makes me sad sometimes.”
Jalal Khan is from Jaisindhar village in Jaisalmer, Rajasthan. He has been following the tradition of singing his folk from the very beginning. He says that they after taking birth their parent’s hand over them with different instruments and thus they learn them without any formal training. Such is the music of Jaisalmer, embedded in its golden sand dunes and engraved in every stone of the majestic living fort-city. Manganiyaar communities like that of Jalal Khan have kept their tradition alive through all these years through Guru-Shishya parampara, (teacher-disciple tradition). They have been entertaining the royal families since generations and their contribution to musical history is as vast as the Thar desert itself. The elegant use of poetry and numerous metaphors is what makes them different. Every nook and corner of Jaisalmer is filled with several Jalal Khans who are trying to carve a niche with their individual uniqueness.
His voice is jewelled with the gems of semi-classical tone. He sands us another beautiful song to cover his melancholy with a big and warm smile. This was the song of welcome. Such is the warmth of the Manganiyaar tribes. Perhaps, such is the life of these artists who translate their pain into beautiful folk songs.
Thana kehdi karada manvare re
Mahra mithiya mehmaan ghar aaveya
They revo to randhana shiya laapsi
Thana Chadtana Chodmo chaand re
(How should I please my guests
My beloved guests have come home
If you stay, then I’ll make sweet
But don’t make me panic like growing moon)
This beautiful song also talks about the warm welcoming culture of Rajasthan. Jalal Khan puts this in his melodious voice and sings other songs of royalty, bravery, love and pain. His songs touch a chord strongly. They reach where they are supposed to.
The music is infinite, and the possibilities of his melodies are endless. The music itself is so vast that it cannot be confined to a textbook and standardized, as there are no set standards for learning music which is imbibed in his blood through generations. India is known for its colours and various layers of culture and the culture of Jaisalmer is rich enough with harmonious melodies promulgating in unforgettable renditions. He sings all kind of songs and all the ragas, amongst which is favourite is Kalyan raag which is the mother of all six the ragas. Jalal has performed almost everywhere in the country in most of the major cities. He wishes to go out of the country and spread the invaluableness of his culture in the world. He wants to make his country proud. He dreams of taking his community and the talent in them to the world and uplift them.
He also sings Sufi and hopes that his songs of prayers reach the one. Someday, he will shower his love and kindness upon him, he says with a great belief.
He calls himself blessed to have performed all across the country. But when it comes to making a living, the struggle still exists. It is not easy. Money is an issue, an impediment. But the hope is that people will find them someday on the internet; that someone will notice them, and launch them.
He will always sing. Whether it’ll give us anything or not. But you do few things because you are born to do that. Music is that for us, Jalal says.