Of Ghazals and Qawwalis


We had recently attended a local function called Ghazals and Qawwalis. To be frank, I have completely no idea what Ghazal nor Qawwali is, hence I decided to “Google” them (no wonder Google is my new best friend)!

A Ghazal is a form of poetic expression which comprises of between 4 to 10 two-line couplets. The beautiful part is that each couplet is an independent poem by itself. A unique characteristic of the ghazal is that the last word of the couplet has to be a rhyming word or a refrain (same word which is used repeatedly). The key themes of ghazals usually revolve around love, longing and separation.

A Qawwali is a form of devotional music which is popular mainly in Pakistan and India. The songs are mainly in Urdu or Punjabi, but there are also songs in local regional languages. The main themes of a qawwali are centred around man’s love and devotion for the Divine. A qawwali party, is a group of 8 to 9 men (typically) consisting of a lead singer, 1 to 2 side singers, 1 to 2 harmonium and percussion players.

I had expected that there will be some musical instruments being played at the function and had told Princess Y so. And off we went, excited to see something new. But to my surprise, there was only a man singing at the function we attended. I was slightly disappointed, as I thought that musical instruments would appeal more to Princess Y. But to my surprise, Princess Y sat quietly on my lap, and seemed to be listening intently for a good 3 to 4 songs. I was completely stunned, as the songs were sung in a language foreign to us, and  the tunes were of course not familiar to us. Anyway, I can only surmise that Princess Y really enjoys music, be it ghazals, evergreens or jazz! I made a mental note to search for ghazals on You Tube for Princess Y when we got home, and to gradually introduce her to more genres of music.

Below are some of the YouTube videos I found on ghazals and qawwalis:

If you would like to listen to more ghazals, check them out here! And for more qawwalis, listen to them here :)

Keen to purchase some great ghazal and qawwali music CDs? Check them out below!



I learnt that I should not only expose Princess Y to the varieties of music that I like, but in fact, to be more creative and adventurous in introducing all types of music in all types of languages, so that she can be the judge of what she likes, without any influence on my end.

Princess Y loves the keyboard (mainly because of this online piano program I got her), classical music and absolutely loves to sing and groove!

What types of music do your children enjoy? Is there any unconventional music that you can recommend, so our precious ones can have fun enjoying all types of music?


6 responses to “Of Ghazals and Qawwalis”

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