Pakistani folk music

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Music of Pakistan
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Specific forms
Religious music
Ethnic music
Other music
Media and performance
Music awards Hum Awards
Lux Style Awards
Nigar Awards
Pakistan Media Awards
ARY Film Awards
Music charts Patari Haftanama
Music festivals All Pakistan Music Conference
Lahore Music Meet
Lok Virsa Mela
Music mediaMagazines



Nationalistic and patriotic songs
National anthem Qaumi Taranah
Regional music
  • Azad Jammu & Kashmir
  • Balochistan
  • Tribal Areas
  • Gilgit-Baltistan
  • Islamabad Capital Territory
  • Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
  • Punjab
  • Sindh

Major folk singers

Malika Pukhraj Pakistani singer

Malika Pukhraj (1912–2004) was a highly popular Ghazal and folk singer of Pakistan. She was generally known as "Malika", meaning "The Queen", publicly. She was extremely popular for her rendition of Hafeez Jalandhri's nazm song, Abhi tau main jawan hoon, which is enjoyed by millions not only in Pakistan, but also in India. Others among her popular numbers were Lo phir basant aaii, Quli Qutub's Piya baaj piyala piya jaey na, and Faiz Ahmed Faiz's Mere qatil mere dildar mere paas raho.

Kashmiri language language of South Asia

Kashmiri or Koshur is a language from the Dardic subgroup of Indo-Aryan languages and it is spoken primarily by the Kashmiris in the Kashmir Valley and Chenab Valley of Jammu and Kashmir.

Tufail Niazi was a Pakistani folk singer whose songs include "Saada Chirryan Da Chamba Ae," "Akhiyaan Lagiyaan Jawaab Na Daindian," "Layee Beqadran Naal Yaari, Tay Tut Gai Tarak Karkey" and "Mein Nai Jana Kheriyan De Naal." He used to perform regularly on Pakistan Television (PTV) and Radio Pakistan.



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.

Sindhi language Indo-Aryan language spoken in South Asia

Sindhi is an Indo-Aryan language of the historical Sindh region in the northern part of the Indian subcontinent, spoken by the Sindhi people. It is the official language of the Pakistani province of Sindh. In India, Sindhi is one of the scheduled languages officially recognized by the central government, though Sindhi is not an official language of any of the states in India.

Kafi classical form of Sufi poetry

Kafi, Sindhi:ڪافي) Urdu کافی is a classical form of Sufi poetry, mostly in Punjabi and Sindhi languages and originating from the Punjab and Sindh regions of South Asia. Some well-known Kafi poets are Baba Farid, Bulleh Shah, Shah Hussain, Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai, Sachal Sarmast and Khwaja Ghulam Farid. This poetry style has also lent itself to the Kafi genre of singing, popular throughout South Asia, especially Pakistan, Bangladesh and India. Over the years, both Kafi poetry and its rendition have experienced rapid growth phases as various poets and vocalists added their own influences to the form, creating a rich and varied poetic form, yet through it all it remained centered on the dialogue between the Soul and the Creator, symbolized by the murid (disciple) and his Murshid (Master), and often by lover and his Beloved.

Punjab, Pakistan Province in Pakistan

Punjab is Pakistan's second largest province by area, after Balochistan, and it is the most populated province, with an estimated population of 110,012,442 as of 2017. Forming the bulk of the transnational Punjab region, it is bordered by the Pakistan provinces of Sindh, Balochistan, and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the enclave of Islamabad, and Azad Kashmir. It also shares borders with the Indian states of Punjab, Rajasthan and Jammu and Kashmir. The provincial capital of Punjab is the city of Lahore, a cultural, historical, economic and cosmopolitan centre of Pakistan where the country's cinema industry, and much of its fashion industry, are based.


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.

Bulleh Shah 18th-century Punjabi philosopher and poet

Syed Abdullah Shah Qadri(Shahmukhi), ਸਈਅਦ ਅਬਦੁੱਲਾ ਸ਼ਾਹ ਕਾਦਰੀ (Gurmukhi); 1680–1757) popularly known as Bulleh Shah, was a Mughal-era Punjabi Islamic philosopher and Sufi poet. His first spiritual teacher was Shah Inayat Qadiri, a Sufi murshid of Lahore.

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.

Zahida Parveen is an Indian actress. She is most known for playing Badi in Thief of Baghdad, the evil Yashodhara Masi in Yahaaan Main Ghar Ghar Kheli and Gayatri Scindia in Punar Vivah. She is based in Jaipur, and was last playing the role of Gulguli in the popular serial Ghulam.

Abida Parveen Pakistani singer

Abida Parveen, is a Pakistani Sufi Muslim singer, composer and musician. Her singing and music has earned her many accolades, and she has been dubbed as the 'Queen of Sufi music'. She is also a painter and entrepreneur.

See also

Related Research Articles

Pakistan is home to many dozens of languages spoken as first languages. Five languages have more than 10 million speakers each in Pakistan – Punjabi, Pashto, Sindhi, Saraiki and Urdu. Almost all of Pakistan's languages belong to the Indo-Iranian group of the Indo-European language family.

Music of Pakistan

The Music of Pakistan includes diverse elements ranging from music from various parts of South Asia as well as Central Asian, Middle Eastern, and modern-day Western popular music influences. With these multiple influences, a distinctive Pakistani sound has emerged.

Sufi rock/ Sufi folk rock is a subgenre of rock music that combines rock with classical Islamic sufi music traditions. It emerged in the early 1990s and became widely popular in the late 1990s in India, Pakistan and Turkey. The term "sufi rock" was coined in 1993 by writer Nadeem F. Paracha to define the Pakistani band Junoon, who pioneered the process of fusing conventional rock music with folk sufi music and imagery.

Saraiki literature

Saraiki literature is the literature of the Saraiki language of Pakistani Punjab.

Madho Lal Hussain Pakistani writer, Punjabi writer

Shah Hussain was a 16th century Punjabi Sufi poet who is regarded as a pioneer of the Kafi form of Punjabi poetry. Hussain's love for a Hindu boy named "Madho" has resulted in them being referred to as a single person with the composite name of "Madho Lal Hussain".

Sindhi music

Music from Sindh province is sung in Sindhi, and is generally performed in either the "Baits" or "Waee" styles. The Baits style is vocal music in Sanhoon or Graham. Waee instrumental music is performed in a variety of ways using a string instrument. Waee, also known as Kafi, is found in the surrounding areas of Balochistan, Punjab, and Kutch.

Pathanay Khan Pakistani singer

Pathanay Khan was a legendary Saraiki folk singer from Pakistan. He mostly sang Kafis or Ghazals, usually drawing on the Sufi poetry of Khwaja Ghulam Farid and Shah Hussain. He was born in 1926 in the village Basti Tambu Wali, situated in the heart of the Thal Desert, several miles from Kot Addu, (Punjab).

Saraiki culture

Saraiki culture is the culture of the Saraiki people, residing in Pakistan and outside Pakistan.

The provincial languages of Pakistan are a set of languages that are spoken and used in the fourProvinces of Pakistan. However, provincial languages have no official status in Pakistan, except Sindhi in Sindh, given the fact that Urdu and English are the official languages of the country. Shown below are the main languages of each the provinces:

Sanam Marvi is a Pakistani folk and sufi singer. She sings in Sindhi, Punjabi and Balochi languages.

Surriya Khanum also spelled as Suraiya Khanum is a veteran Pakistani folk and classical singer from the Punjab. She is also known for her soulful performances and singing Sufi music on Pakistan Television and other TV channels.


  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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