“Kudi kendi baby pehlan Jaguar lelo, fer jina marzi pyaar lelo”
These are the kind of Punjabi songs blasting out loud on radio these days. Punjabi music, today, has become synonymous with Yo-Yo-ing, swag, and ‘Daddy ji de paise te aish.’
These are the songs that the country knows and identifies Punjab and Punjabi music with. And it is ironic given the rich cultural heritage and history of music that the land has to offer. Punjabi folk music needs no introduction but for the uninitiated, it beautifully captures an array of stories from the birth of a person, to the sorrow of death and the various experiences that one goes through in their lives.
Folk music usually consists of stories and fables or traditions that go on passing from generation to generation in the form of lyrical ballads. These songs are repeatedly sung till date and still have an undeniable charm to them.
All of us must have come across, some, if not all of these songs at least once in our lives; or must have heard our parents boasting about the bauble attached to ‘Unke zamane ke gaane’!
So, ditch the Yo Yo for a while and give the real music of Punjab a listen. Here’s our humble attempt at choosing a few songs for you to listen to:
1. Challa by Reshma
Legendary Pakistani singer, Reshma’s soulful voice is like no other. A folk classic, Challa touches the pain of separation of parents from their son.
2. Kale Rang Da Paranda by Surinder Kaur and Narinder Kaur
Called the Nightingale Of Punjab, Surinder Kaur has a lot of mesmerising songs to her credit. In this song sung with her sister, Narinder Kaur, a woman is demanding vanities from her lover in the most subtle way! The duo makes the song a lot more playful and impossible to forget.
3. Mera Laung Gawacha by Noor Jehan
Played in almost all weddings even to this day, we’re sure you’ve heard a lot of new-age versions of this song, but this one by Noor Jehan is definitely a classic.
4. Challa by Gurdas Maan
The glitter Gurdas Maan’s voice adds to any song is undeniable. Listen to him sing challa in his magical voice here:
5. Suhe Wey Cheere Waleya by Surinder and Parkash Kaur
Surinder Kaur and Parkash Kaur have never failed to create magic with their voices and this song is no different!
6. Bajre Da Sitta by Surinder and Parkash Kaur
Sitta means a piece of grain in Punjabi. And every grain of that crop became immortal in this particular number.
7. Chulle Agg Naa by Jagjit Singh
Jagjit Singh can never miss to kill you with kindness! Whatever genre he has ever sung in, he’s made us fall in love with him, over and over again, and this song holds no exception.
8. Kala Doriya by Surinder and Parkash Kaur
What do you do when you have a fight in the family? You beautifully capture it in a song! We love this one, no questions asked!
9. Chitta Kukkad by Musarrat Nazir
People back then were so much fun, calling names and coming up with the best ways to tease the bride, AND still managing to make the family senti. Listen to Musarrat Nazir singing Chitta Kukkad and doing just that, here:
10. Mirza by Jagjit Singh
The love story of Mirza and Sahiba has been immortalised through numerous folk songs and this one by Jagjit Singh is definitely a masterpiece.
11. Mathe Te Chamkan Waal by Musarat Nazir
One song that never gets missed on any Indian mehendi ceremony till date, this number is here to stay forever!
12. Latthe Di Chadar by Surinder Kaur
If you haven’t heard this song, please don’t read further. A wedding number which has passed on generation after generation, this is one of our personal favourites.
13. Ik Meri Ankh Kashni by Parkash Kaur
A woman praising her beauty and singing about dealing with in laws. Yes, we relate!
14. Tere Tille Ton by Kuldip Manak
This man needs no introduction in Punjabi folk music and has delivered some of the best songs of his time.
15. Batti Baal Ke by Noor Jehan
A turmoil of a woman waiting for her lover to come to her. No matter how old or new music is, some feelings never change, do they?
16. Sanu Nehar Wale Pul Te by Noor Jehan
Noor Jehan needs no introduction. If you’re secretly meeting your lover, this is one song you both are going to relate to!
17. Kaali Teri Gut by Asa Singh Mastana
Asa Singh Mastana has been a significant contributor to folk music and this song is one of his many known ones. For us, the charm of this song is still alive, and will always be.
18. Baba Ve Kala Maror by Jagmohan Kaur
Women have really helped spread folk music from generation to generation in Punjab. Here’s another melodious voice, Jagmohan Kaur.
19. Gori Diyan Jhanjran by Parkash Kaur
Parkash Kaur spreads her own brand of glitter through this song, talking about the charm of a woman’s trinkets and attire. Old fashioned, but apt till date!
20. Bhaande Kali Kara Lao by Rangila Jatt
If you thought folk music was not quirky, you need to listen to Rangila Jatt’s Bhaande kali kara lao!
21. Ni Aa Gaya Vanjara by Harcharan Grewal
Call out all the women who love to shop – any era, any place, and we unite! This song by Harcharan Grewal does just that.
22. Chukk Charkha by Wadali Brothers
Wadali Brothers is a familiar name now. You might have heard them recreate their magic on Coke Studio. Well, they were equally mesmerising back then too!
23. Das Main Ki Pyar Wichon Khatya by Yamla Jatt
Songs of love delivered with a little bit of taunts and a lot of humor, here’s Yamla Jatt for you:
24. Maye Ni Main Kinu Ankhan by Hamid Ali Bela
A very old song which defines your love for your mother, your mom is going to love this one by Hamid Ali Bela.
25. Damadum Mast Kalandar by Wadali Brothers
We’ve all heard the song a multiple times. Listen to the Wadali Brothers melodious version here:
26. Maye ni Main ik Shikra Yaar Banaya by Jagjit Singh
We’re pretty sure your parents would have heard this one. Shiv Kumar Batalvi’s words and Jagjit Singh’s magical voice, what’s not to love?
27. Bulla Ki Jaana Mein Kaunn by Rabbi Shergill
Rabbi Shergill made us revisit Bulleh Shah’s classic with his rendition of the song. And we approve!
28. Jugni by Alam Lohar
The Jugni you heard in Cocktail was inspired by this track. And we bet you did not know it was written by Alam Lohar, Arif Lohar’s father himself.
29. Ajj Din Chadeya by Hans Raj Hans
Get over with the one in Love Aaj Kal already! This was where it was originally inspired from.
30. Jugni by Rabbi Shergill
This man never misses a chance to impress us. This version of Jugni is a classic masterpiece of a recreated song which was originally a folk number.