The following is a guest post from Vishala and Kamakshi Khurrana of The Sound Space.
Music has the ability to trigger emotional and physiological responses in the listener. A sound that has a touch of familiarity along with the excitement of newness is bound to appeal to most. And that is exactly what “Pasoori” has managed to do! “Pasoori” – a punjabi word that broadly translates to ‘conflict’ or a ‘mess’ is essentially a love song, which has various political and social undertones. But the reason why it is such a raging global hit, is because it blends popular sounds from starkly different cultures across the globe. The opening, which is a series of rhythmic claps – almost sounds like the European flamenco, while the beats bring in a more reggae feel. Infact, singer Ali Sethi has coined the term “ragaton” which is a combination of the Indian Raga – or framework of notes and Reggaeton.
The use of the ‘Rubab’ which is traditionally an Afghani instrument adds to this already brilliant combination, the cultural flavour that we cannot resist. The Rubab, with its melodious sound, found its way from Afghanistan to Kashmir and then to Punjab. Used in various countries like Iran, Turkey, Pakistan and Azerbaijan, with minor differences of course, it has a sound that immediately transports you to an earthy, serene realm.
Interestingly, the Rubab also has some roots in spirituality and religion. It is the first instrument ever to be used in the Sikh Religion. It is said that Bhai Mardana, the companion of the first guru, Guru Nanak, used the rubab to play whenever Guru Nanak sang a shabad. Many references to the rubab have been made by sufi poets in their poetry as well and features in many classical and folk renditions of these regions. No wonder then, that it has an instantly appealing sound that leaves you spellbound.
This beautiful piece of music, that has taken the world by storm, has skillfully brought together so many distinct sounds from around the world.
It takes a song like “Pasoori”, every now and then, to remind ourselves that music truly transcends all boundaries.