Top 10 Folk Songs Pakistan: Lyrics and Culture

folk songs Pakistan

The lyrics of these Top 7 Folk Songs Pakistan convey tradition, speak to your soul and seem divinely inspired.  

Types of Pakistani folk songs

The meaning or definition of Pakistani folk songs is the poetry that originates in popular local culture, inside Pakistan.

There are 7 types of Pakistani Folk songs and music:-

  1. Punjabi Folk Songs
  2. Sindhi Traditional Songs
  3. Pushtu songs
  4. Kashmiri Songs
  5. Balochi Songs
  6. Chitrali Gilgiti Music
  7. In Urdu folks songs means Lok Geet. 

Why do people love Pakistani Folk Songs?

Folk songs are written by poets steeped in rural tradition with simple values of love, loyalty and nature. This makes them a perfect to heal a scarred soul.

For Example:-

  • ‘Changge howan yaar te har koi sarhda ai…’ ‘Tayon saara Shar meray naal larhda ai’

  • “If you have a beautiful beloved everyone gets jealous… (no-wonder) the whole city quarrels with me”

You can’t fake traditional popular lyrics like these. This comes from the heart of Pakistani sub-culture.

Spiritual Healing thorough Folk Songs

I want you all to feel their healing touch too.

The setting of each Pakistani song is at a different geographical location and it is imperative that you let your soul soar to that place, to really understand what the songs mean.

No ordinary man can write such beautiful words that express stark reality, so subtly.

These folks songs work for adults and children, both.

Punjabi Folk Songs Pakistan

As 58% of Pakistanis understand Punjabi, these Punjabi folk songs resonate to a wider audience.

Choice of Top Pakistani Folk and Cultural Songs

Let me go over my choice of  Pakistani folk song, that were hits long before the 1960’s and 1970’s folk songs media revolution.

These songs derive their strength from their folk song lyrics and the environment and you’d understand why.

My list of folk songs have be rehashed at Coke Studios Pakistan, so you’d enjoy them better.

Folk song suite by Vaughan Williams has nothing on this mega hit folk song playlist of Pakistan.

No piano is required for these folks songs, the lyrics and composition can be played on empty cans and still be popular with people.

Top 7 Folk Singers of Pakistan

  1. Ataullah Esakhelvi – Seraiki Singer
  2. Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan – Qawwali
  3. Abida Parveen – Sufi and Devotional Poetry
  4. Shaukat Ali – Punjabi Folk singing
  5. Reshma – Punjabi
  6. Allan Faqir – Sindhi Folk singing
  7. Alamgir – Bengali Folk songs

Top 10 Pakistani Traditional Songs List with Lyrics

These songs are still Pakistani folk songs.:-

  1. Ni Oothan Walay Turr Jaan Gay.. Ataullah Esakhelvi
  2. Kithay nain na joreen… Ali Sethi cover of Reshma
  3. Naina Day Aakay Laggay… Rizwan and Muazzam cover of Nusrat Fateh Ali
  4. Umran Lagyan… Asad Amanat Ali
  5. Bhit Ja Bhittai… Sindhi
  6. Dhoondo gay Agar Mulkon Mulkon… Abida Parveen
  7. Rasha Mama Zwey De Lewanay Day…Zarsanga Gul Panrra
  8. Wah Wah Jhulara – Chakwal Group Punjabi Song
  9. Moomal Rano by Faqir Juman Shah Sindhi Song
  10. Laila O Laila by Rostam Mir Lashari Balochi Song

Ni oothaan walay turr jaan gay…Ata Ullah Esakhelvi 

  • “Ni ishq de picchay na pao sassiyay (Don’t run after love Sassi…)
  • Ni tu chad dey ishq da khera (Drop this inconvenience of love…)
  • O Bari Nizami, ishq da roag awera (Oh, Bari Nizami, the wise say that the malaise of love is errant…)
  • Ni oothaan walay turr jawan ge (the camel herders will take off (from their temporary stop soon..,)
  • Fer labdi pherain ge haani (then you’ll desperately search for your mate…)
  • Ni sassiyay jaagdi raheen (Oh Sassi, keep aware…)
  • Raat aj de neend na maani (Don’t agree with sleep tonight)

The setting for this Pakistani song is the Thal desert of Punjab. Here there are endless miles of desolate and parched white sand with isolated villages. 

Kithay nain na joreen… Ali Sethi’s rendition of Reshma 

Nothing beats the real thing  by the queen Reshma herself.

Her deep, soulful voice that comes from spending a dispossessed life as a nomad, singing ballads for her people is un-match-able.

  • Kithay nain na Joreen, Meray jeende’yan tureen (Don’t take a liking to any other)
  • Menu jhallian bana kay aapay mann leye kinaray (You’ve found a way to stay busy while I am going crazy for you)
  • Din lang gye ne meray teri yaad de saharay (I hang on to your memory to my days)
  • Rona umraan da paa key, mera khoon na nachoreen (Don’t give me ever lasting grief ; don’t wring out my blood)
  • Tenu wasta e khuda,wagan watnu moreen (I swear by God, turn your (horse) reigns back to your home)

Naina De Akay lagay… Rizwan and Muazzam cover of Nusrat Fateh Ali

Taking nothing away from Muazzam, the dude did a fine job, but when the king hits the high notes, nothing compares. You can’t beat the Maestro himself. Salam to the King Nusrat Fateh Ali.

  • Ne Sayyon assan naina de akhay lagay (Dear friend, I am a captive of what (beauty) my eyes (have) seen) 
  • Sajan bin raataan hoyaan wadhyan (with my dear departed, my nights have grown longer)
  • Ranjha jogi, mai jogyani (If Ranjaha is a yogi, I am also a wandering yogi)
  • Pirhon tnaanwaan gaddyaan (this longing for you is like taut wire (cutting my flesh)

Aamay Bhashaili Rey… Alamgir

  • Aamay Bhashaili Rey, aamay doobaili rey (you have sent me adrift (in my boat); you might drown me)
  • Okook doriaar boojhi kool nai rey (the river seems endless, as if the shore would never appear)
  • Kool nai, keener nai ; nai kodoriaar paari (no borders; no shores, the rivers has is endless)
  • Shaabdhaanay chalayo maajhi, aamaar banga tore re (steer the boat carefully boatman, my boat is broken)
  • The river seems endless…

Imagine these magical words in a Bengali setting which massive rivers that swell from horizon to horizon in the monsoon season.

Bhit Ja Bhittai… Sindhi Folk by Rawaan

  • Go Bhittai, immerse yourself in divine light…
  • Go Bhitt Shah, immerse yourself in Divine light and all your dreams will come true and you’ll be at peace…

Umraan Langyan… Asad Amanat Ali

This is the rendition by Ali Sethi… not bad at all.

Written by Mazhar Tirmizi in 1973, a British-Indian, as an ode to his native Punjab and the pain of separation.

  • Umraan langyan Pabban Pahaar (My life has been spent anxious (on my toes))
  • Halay na wass oye kaaleya (Depression, don’t envelope me yet)
  • Surkh Gulaaban de mosam wich (in the season of red roses)
  • Phullan de rang Kalay (the roses seem dark)
  • Kamli kar ke chor ditto ee (you have forsaken me after making me fall madly in love with you)
  • Tay bethi kakch galyan de rolaan (now I sift through the chaff in the streets)
  • Ghulam Fareeda, mai taan dozakh sarsan (Ghulam Fareed, (I swear) I’d rather burn in hell)
  • Jai mai mukh mahee walon moraan (then turn my face away from my love)

Rasha Mama… Zarsanga Gul Panrra Pushto Folk

  • Ma Da De Watan Mou Zar, Mou Zar Ke (For this land I will sacrifice everything)
  • Wa Che Shah Zalmiyan Pa Ke Umar Terawina (Where the youth lives out its time)
  • Dera Meena Makra (Don’t love me so much)
  • Leewanay Ba Shi Mayana (or You will go Crazy)
  • Khalaq pa tiggo Banday Walee, Sahranay De Kaana (He throws stones at people, he is a vagabond)
  • Rasha Mama Zwey De Leewanay (See Uncle, your son is crazy)

Dhoondo Gay Agar Mulkon Mulkon… Abida Parveen

Immortalized by the ultimate sacrifice for her people by the eternal queen of Pakistani hearts Benazir Bhutto, Dhoondo Gay has become synonymous with the yearning for freedom for my people

  • Dhoondo Gay Agar Mulkon Mulkon, Milnay Ke nahi Nayaab Hain hum (You keep searching country after country; you will not find as rare as me)
  • Ab Dard bata, kuch too he bata, ab ye muamma hall na hua (Oh Pain, (come on) you go ahead and tell me, this perplexing question has yet to be solved)
  • Hum mai hai dil e be taab nihaan, ya aap dilay betaab hain hum (either there is a yearning heart within me, or I am the yearning heart myself)

Wah Wah Jhulara… Chakwal Group sufi song

The Jhulara is a frock or flowing robe. mentioned here is the elaborate dress of devotees who visit shrines.

  • ‘Wah Wah Jhulara Bhochhan da, laal wekhan aya’ “Wah Wah ke Husn Jawani, Jehra Char Deharay Aya” (Wow! My beloved has come see my flowing robe, Wow! How wonderful is this beauty of youth, which is fleeting)
  • My sweetheart breezed past me, oh yes; What made him shy? He didn’t call out to me.
  • I called out my beloved from across the river, He came running.
  • Such is the beauty of youth, which is fleeting.
  • My beloved is fond of flowers, I planted a garden of flowers in my courtyard (for him)
  • But my beloved didn’t come.

The setting of this song in rural Punjab and the attitude towards love and affinity is so vintage that you’d have to listen to it on repeat to get the real feel.

Don’t forget to watch the hand gestures of the group leader in their video. Amazing!

Moomal Rano by Fakir Juman Shah

The setting is rural Sindh and its folk love story of Rano the prince and Momal the enchanting beauty.

Story of Momal and Raano in Sindh

There are many versions of the folk story in the market but this is the closest to the original one I could get:

The king of Amarkot ( later day Umarkot), Hameer Soomro, along with his ministers, Rano Mahendra, Seenharro Dhamachanni and Daunro Batyanni, used to go for hunting in the far flung areas of Amarkot.

During their hunt, they came across a prince from a Himalayan kingdom, who had been robbed of his riches in his pursuit of a beautiful local princess, Momal.

The prince said that Momal live in Umerkot with her seven sisters. The sisters with their elaborate schemes and craftiness, kept prospective suitors away.

These friends chose to pursue Momal and her enchanting beauty. Momal’s chief schemer was Natir while the riddler was Soma. Well, Rano Mendhro braved all perils to reach the court of Momal and ask for her hand.

Their love grew from there, but the evil king Hameer forbade his prince Rano from courting her.

Rano stealthily continued the affair, but was caught by the king and jailed. Rano was released with the condition that he discontinues pursuing Momal, as the king himself was interested in pursuing the lady.

Rano would have none of that and continued a long distance relationship. One night, Rano snuck into the room of Momal to find her scheming sister in the bed. This put off Rano, and the relationship went south, hence forth.

Momal begged for his forgiveness and wander the streets as a destitute in her longing, but Rano never returned. Momal then jumped into the pier of fire for her beloved and Rano on hearing that followed suit.

End of story… Its a lot more romantic when Sindhi people narrate it

Translation of Momal Raano Song

This is the translation of the folk song. Rano is used in Sindhi folk to juxtapose Lord with beloved.

  • Oh Good Lord and Master (of mine),
  • Don’t be cross with me; don’t be cold and cross
  • Oh Rano, Stop the bickering
  • Pardon my failings dear Sodha (Rano),  
  • So I may find peace
  • I would even feed your camel fragrant sandalwood,
  • Come stay the night

Laila O Laila by Rostam Mir Lashari

The setting is Baluchistan and its endless, pristine expanse. In that wonderful setting you have love at first sight, with Laila.

  • Laila O Laila, exalted one
  • Laila O laila, Beautiful one
  • Come let me show delightful sights.
  • It’s been so long and you never returned…
  • I have lost my sight weeping for your return…
  • I would gladly give up my life for you.
  • The parting of your hair is so delightful…
  • It melts my heart just to see it.
  • Your gorgeous forehead ornament…
  • Has made me fall madly in love with you.
  • I would gladly give up my life for you.
  • Laila O Laila exalted one.
  • The reference to the head ornament, the expanse is true to the Balochi culture.

Then the western orchestra trying to sync violins with the ethnic instrument is just out of this world.

There could not have been a better native song.

Don’t miss the shimmy of the vocalist Mir Lashari in the beginning of the video. This is when you realize, the guy means what he is singing.

Pakistani Traditional Musical Instruments

  1. Tabla Dholak
  2. Flute Bansuri
  3. Rubab 4 String
  4. Alhoza
  5. Shehnai 
  6. Punjabi Dhol

Download Punjabi Folk Songs Pakistan mp3

To download these Punjabi folk songs in mp3, you’d have to

  • download YouTube down-loader and
  • mp3 converter.
  • or download directly from mp3skull website

If you are still not convinced regarding Pakistan’s superior music repertoire check this out.

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