Shukriya album cover
Jah Nur Music JN99103
iTunes link
Sukhawat Ali Khan represents the family lineage of the 600-year-old Sham Chorasi traditional school of music, which was established during the reign of Emperor Akbar of India. His training in both classical raga and Sufi Qawwali singing began at the age of seven under his father, legendary Pakistani/Indian vocalist Ustad Salamat Ali Khan. A San Francisco Bay Area resident, Sukhawat teaches this musical style and performs concerts for dance and world music lovers everywhere. This CD, Shukriya (which means "thanks") is music so alive that it jumps right out at you. After many ensemble projects, Shukriya is Sukhawat's first recording done on his own terms....dancing with rhythm, passionate with feeling, and with a voice that comes straight from the heart.



The Shukriya Ensemble:

Sukhawat Ali Khan: Vocals, Harmonium, Djembe, Percussion
Baba Ken Okulolo: Bass
Gurdeep Singh Hira: Tabla, Dhol, Dholak, Dhad, Harmonium on "Bhangra Piyar"
Robert Halim Friedman: Electric guitars, Additional vocals, Percussion, Organ on "Ajameri"
Sachiko Kanenobu: Additional vocals, Percussion, "Chopri Chori" vocals, "Barapar" chorus, Acoustic guitar on "Ajameria"
Vakila Marjo ter Veld: Additional vocals, Percussion
Maxx Zweers: Addional vocal in "Ajameri" chorus
Recorded at Screaming Lizards Studio - Petaluma, CA, February - April 2007
Mastering, Engineering, and Musical Editorial: André Zweers
Mixing Engineer: Judith Kirschner (kudos for being a 2007 Grammy® nominee)
Produced by: Sachiko Kanenobu and Robert Halim Friedman
Executive Producer: Robert Halim Friedman
Art Director: Vakila Marjo ter Veld
Design/Project Coordinator: Howard L. Morris
Graphics: Robin Livingston, Ursa Minor Arts & Media
Liner Notes & Studio Photos: Robert Halim Friedman
Front cover photo: Ravi Anand - used by permission
Tipping hat photo: Ryan Lely, Three House MultiMedia
Back cover photo: VinaBlue - used by permission
Management Consultant: Howard "Bo" Sapper at Extrordinare Media
It is a blessing for us all to bring the spirit of my father into the Shukriya recording. We are so very close with him. Special thanks to Ustad Salamat Ali Khan and Razia Begum (my father and mother), Anirudh Vaze, Tomiko Yabumoto, Sachiko, Halimji and Vakilaji, Jeannie and Bert Salzman, Conrad Praetzel, Prassana, and the Zweers family and all of my ancestors, family and friends.
The Songs:
MUSTAFA is a prayer for humanity dedicated to the Prophet Mohammed (peace & blessings be upon him). The lyrics implore him to "Bless us and help us keep our honor. Your dignity is the highest in the universe, so please, make this world happy. You can do it!" (sung in Urdu)
BARAPAR: "This whole world is one ship floating in the ocean of the universe. Please take us safely to the shore." We are praying in this song for the planet to stay alive and well so that all living things have a future. At the break, Sukhawat sings, "This planet is our mother. We all are brother and sister. Love is hope for humankind. Love will keep us alive." (sung in Ordu, English and Farsi)
CHORI CHORI is about playful courtship and romance, where love takes you by surprise. It's where your heart is stolen in love so that , unknowingly, you fall in love. You've already lost your heart, you just weren't aware of it. (sung in Punjabi)
TARANA is a meditative song with no real words. In fact, the words are made up - in praise of God - invented by Hazrat Amir Khusrou, the Sufi saint and poet of the 16th century. He integrated the older, classic Drupad style of singing with the Khayal ("imagination") song style, which has more freedom and a sweeter rhythm. (sung in tabla rhythm language)
NATNARAYANI (Part 1) is a raga derived from a composition by Ustad Salamat Ali Khan (1934-2001), father of Sukhawat. Indian ragas use a certain scale at a certain time with a particular feeling. In India, the belief is that some ragas were brought to us by deities such as Ram, Sita, Shiva, Krishna, Hanuman, etc. Natnarayani is a very meditative, relaxing raga, the kind of raga used for centuries as a way for people to relieve tension. It is therapeutic for humankind. (sung in Hindi)
NATNARAYANI (part 2) is a more beat driven continuation of the first part, with a chorus that means, "Please hear us, Holy One, our hearts call out to you. Please listen." (sung in Hindi)
BHANGRA PIYAR is music from the Punjab, and it means dancing and singing at the same time. The Punjab is a furtile region, partly in Pakistan and partly in India, where most of the population are farmers. When the crops are good, folks celebrate their abundance, both with marriages (since everyone's got more money) and harvest parties. The big drum - the Dhol - is traditional from the days before amplification. Even today, the religious and nationalistic differences melt away when the Bhangra starts up. Everybody joins together to dance and sing. (sung in Punjabi)
AJAMERI is a lively, romantic song for all Lovers. The lyrics entice the Beloved: "Please come, I wait for you with open arms. You are my life, please come into my dreams. You are my life, please come into my heart." (sung in Urdu)
FASANA is a Ghazal - a sonnet form of poetry - and it always has meditative, mystical and romantic elements in it. This song says that without the Presence of the Beloved, life is incomplete: "If you are with me, I can live whole, not torn between the fiction and reality of my life. I long for you, Beloved. Without your Divine Life, my own life is nothing." (sung in Urdu/Ghazal)
All songs composed by Sukhawat Ali Khan
© 2007 Jah Nur Music (BMI)
Arranged by Sukhawat Ali Khan and Sachiko Kanenobu

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Last updated February 25, 2013.
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