Lohar a trendsetter in folklore
GUJRAT - Muhammad Alam Lohar was a prominent Punjabi folk music singer of Pakistan.He died in 1979 in an accident.He is also credited with popularising the term and song Jugni.Alam Lohar was born in the small village of Aach Goach in Gujrat district, in Punjab in a family of blacksmiths.
He was gifted with a melodious voice and began singing as a child.
He developed a new style of singing the Punjabi Vaar, an epic or folk tale.
He is famous for his rendition of Waris Shahs Heer, which he has memorised in 36 styles and forms.
He recorded his first album at the age of 13 and has outsold all other singers in Pakistan (verified in records kept with HMV Pakistan 1979).In his childhood he used to read Sufiana Kalaams, Punjabi stories and participate as a young child in local elderly gatherings.Out of the rural background rose a great singer that could influence his audience with elements of joy peace, happiness and sadness.
He started going to festivals and gatherings on regular basis and with these performances he rose to become one of the most listened singers in South Asia.
In 1970s, it was the Queens Jubilee event in the UK and there was a singing competition between all the Commonwealth Countries in which Alam won the award of best performance and was also presented with a gold medal award.
Throughout the period of 1930s and until his passing away in 1979, he has dominated folk singing in Pakistan and been a major singer in Punjabi and Sufi singing throughout the entire world.In many rural villages the local traditional people have called him 'Sher-e-Punjab or 'Heerah.
With his God-gifted voice and singing in difficult high and low pitches, he made a unique impression in singing with his Chimta.Other than being a famous singer, Alam Lohar was also a great poet and wrote many of his songs.
He also had another quality that he used books of Sufi saints and stories and brought them in song format which gave his songs a great lyrical content which could make people cry and joy at the same time.
The word 'Jugni was his creation and he created this term from reading many Sufi writings and represented this word as a spiritual feeling of ones experience of the world.
Furthermore, he was the pioneer of introducing the writings of Saiful Malook and Mirza Shabaan in song format.
Alam Lohar had another quality that he could sing all night long and sometimes without music.In rural Punjab, he used to sing from village to village and without any modern music technology.
Later, he organised a full-fledged theatre with a complete orchestra.
His troupe toured all over Punjab for religious and seasonal festivals and was one of the first Pakistani as well as South Asian singers to sing internationally in almost all the countries.
Alam died in an accident near Sham ki Bhaitiyan on July 3, 1979.
He laid to rest in Lala Musa.He was given the Pride of Performance award in 1979 by General Ziaul Haq and had also received numerous awards.He is a pioneer in cultural and folk style singing.He set a benchmark and many Punjabi and other folk singers have greatly been influenced from him.
Therefore he has left a great legacy of a unique style of singing which is still followed in Pakistan by Punjabi as well as other folk singers.One of the greatest singers of all time: he is seen and remembered through his son Arif Lohar who has continued in the same tradition.
His famous songs are Dharti Panj Daryavan Di, Dil wala dukhra nahin kisse noon sunayee da, Saiful Malook, Qissa Hazrat Yousaf, Mar ke modha hauly jaye sorry akh gaye, Bol mitti diya bawiya, Jugni, Mirza, Qissa Karbala, Kalam Baba Bulley Shah, Sohni Mahiwal and others.
Curtsey:The Nation: 25 Aug 2011