Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Traditional Pashto Folk Song (Tappay)

Pashto Tapey Part 1


Pashto Tapey Part 2


What is Tappa:


Tappa is the oldest and most popular genre of the Pashto poetry. It is liked very much by the Pushtoons of all ages irrespective of their age and sex. Countless Tappas have been added by unknown poets and are sung with unsurpassed popularity. Lyrically, the Tappa is a composition of two unequal meters, in which the first line is shorter than the succeeding one, yet it reflects all human feelings and aspirations elegantly. Be it laborers, peasants, or women, everyone’s sentiments find expression in the Tappa.

It is also common among the Pashtoons that a boy of school would sing it, the elders in their hujrahs, the women in their home and Godar alike. It is the only song sung in the time of grief and on the occasion of marriage. In music it is sung with the traditional Pashto musical instrument 'Rabab' and 'Mangay'. Tappa has upto 16 different models of harmony. Nowaday it is being sung with full orchestra. Tappa is the song, which used to be sung without musical instruments but musicians have composed different compositions for it. In mountains and in the deserts, it is still sung without some instruments. In these places, some times is sung with the melody of flute. In hujrah it's sung with Rabab and Sittar and the beating of a water pot. Among the different tunes of Tappa, the tone of teerah, Peshawar, Bannu and Qandahar is popular. A new tone has recently been created by the famous Pashto singer. Haroon Badshah. A part from the Indian notation, it has its own Pashto andante-- Mughalai. COURTESY: Pashto Music - Prof. Dr. Raj Wali Shah Khattak Excerpts from Sheikh Aziz's 'The Richness of It All'

Tappa (Landay) is a form of folk poetry and consist of couplets; the first one consists of nine syllables and the second thirteen. This format of poetry is described by some to consist of one and one half verses. The author of such couplets is generally unknown. Some of them have names of authors or national figures and heroes attached. Tappay are started with a fond opening word of ‘ya qurban’, meaning respect to the listener or the subject. Tappey are sung with loud melodious voice and could be accompanied by Mangay, Tabla, Tambal, Baja or sitar. Tappey are generally sung over weddings, celebrations or just to tide over the long winter nights. In weddings ceremonies it might have the form of two-person duet presented by male and female singers or two male singers. Tappa covers all forms of Pashtoon life; love, passion, anger, hate, wars, history, heroes and villains. The love for environment, flower, cities and mountains is contained in many. Pakhtoon loves his cities with reverence and are commonly noted in the verses. The rugged Pakhtoon terrain from Chitral to Chaman and Amu to Abasin is the source of inspiration in the form of Tappa and is a therapy for the soul of the inhabitants of these mountains and valleys.

The expatriate and natives alike often miss Peshawar, Kabul, Qandahar, Ningrahar, Chaman, Mardan, Swat, Bajaur, Nowshera, Karapa and Tirah. Tappey covers them all. There is sufficient coverage of the beauty of the Landmark Mountains like Khyber, Tahtarra, Malakand, Tirah and Elam. Separation is pain; reunion a joyful event and happening. Islam the religion of the Pashtoon tribes is noted in many, others reveal his reverence to spiritual leaders of the past like Pir baba and Kaka sahib. Pashtoon are fond of fragrant flowers like Kashmali, rose and Chambeli to mention a few. He compares the beauty of his love without devotion to a flower without fragrance.

The beloved has to have wafa or heart felt devotion, she is mentioned with great reverence and respect, her lips are red, face ruby white and eyes, clear, shining, full of passion and beautiful like the flower of Nargis (narcissus). Her hairs are long and consist of jet-black locks often compared to day and night. Some Tappay describe the face of the beloved as Roohani as Islam and the hair as pagan as Kafiristan. Pashtoon lover is always dreaming and imagining, he never has a chance to marry the girl of his dreams. It is satisfying to dream and imagine seeing her fetching the water in the water pitcher (Mangai) from the water bank (Gudar) or well. The Jewish Rabbi historian noted this commonality between Pakhtoons and Jews by reading the frequent mention of water bank and wells in our folk poetry. He noted the same in the Israelites, like Moses, Jacob and many others who fell in love with their wives by the water holes, wells and fountains.

Tappey covers the constant struggle of the Pashtoon with nature, the harsh weather, and droughts. With all those wars, struggle for existence and survival I wonder how Adam Khan and Durkhanai pulled a love affair, so successful to be remembered for generations. Tohmat, Badnami (bad reputation) bugs the lover constantly. Sohbat, the unending love talk of lovers is the state of bless, longed for in many verses. Beltoon the other fellow who has the same love interest is a hateful soul. He is smart and can get across to the family of the girl some how and gets away with it. He is Waham and Waswasa and the extreme fear of being accepted by the family and the beloved. The fond neglect or Makeiz exhibited by the beloved does not allay the fear either or remedy the situation. The beloved is not trust worthy she may fall for the talk of the Beiltoon who is like Latoo, a bird that changes his tone frequently to attract his own kind in the forest. ‘Tapoosai Tor Kargha’ the crow is an ugly bird which at times brings bad news, by repeatedly crowing in front of the house. The ‘ka ka’ of the crow inspires aw and fear of loss. COURTESY: Tappa by Rahmat Shah

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