How did you start out in this field?
Ask me whatever your heart desires. I used to have a recurring dream as a child. In it a hand would protrude from a ‘darbar’ and gesture to me, enticing one of come towards it. This dream came to me for three years, every night. I was perplaxed as to what this dram meant and when I confided in others about it, they too confused me with their varied responses and explanations. There was a darvaish in our village that was very well known, and because other than this recurring dream I had, I was else under a lot of physical pain due to beatings from people who didn’t understand why I was having dreams, I went to him for help. He gave me a stick with a wire, which he said I should strum and recite ‘Allah Hoo’ whenever I felt scared. I did this from the age of 7 to 10, after which I went in search of the ‘darbar’ from which the hand used to come out in my dream.
At one place, a small child came up to me and said that a man was calling me. I asked him who he was and he said ‘don’t worry about me, the man has specifically said your name and told me to bring you to him’. The man I was taken to was the head of a darbar in that area. I realized instantly that is was the darbar the hand in my dream used to protrude from. I spent 3 years there. I used to strum the string on my stick and recite ‘Allah Hoo’ all them time while there. Slowly, I began singing and performing for the people there. I eventually moved to Kasoor. Daldar Bhatti was a college professor who was present while I was speaking at a darbar in Kasoor. He came to greet me, and heard my voice. He gave me a chit of paper and asked me to come and see him sometime.
Saeen Zahoor Allah Hoo
The next day I wondered what the chit might have written on it and asked some people to read it to me. They read it and smiled at me, asking me ‘don’t you know who gave you this chit?’ I said ‘no’. They told me that it was a man working at a local TV channel. I went to see him and at that time he was taking someone’s audition. He asked me to recite the same way I was doing so at the darbar he had heard me at. It was Haider Bulleh Shah’s Kalaam and I recited it. I liked the way I sounded at the studio. People started clapping unexpectedly and I fell silent. The man asked me why I was quiet and I could not answer. Everyone then told me that they clapped because they found my voice to be good and that I should be recorded. I then felt a little more confident.
Saeen Zahoor Nachna Painda Hai
Saeen Zahoor Rabba Ho
That was my first chance on TV. I was recorded and aired. I was called again for Naeem Bukhari’s program. I was interviewed, and sang. The third time I was at the TV statiosn for a recording, a colleague of Mr. Ayaz, General Secretary for Music, took me to him, asking him to listen to me. He was reluctant at first, because he listened to the likes of Mehdi Hassan and Noor Jehan. Syed Wajid Ali ws the President of Music, who was also present there convinced Mr. Ayaz to take a listen to me. I sang and he realized perhaps I could be successful after all. He gave me a chit and Rs. 500 telling me that I would be called in for a program, so I need to go shopping and change my image and clothes. I did that and came back to sing in front of him again. He then gave me a program and I continued coming and going for these music based programs on a regular basis. I worked and learnt for 10 years. I went on TV, Radio etc. I had my ‘ustads’ over the years also, with whom I performed and from whom I learnt.
Every drop leads to an ocean eventually and now I am successful.
How did you feel when you first performed on stage?
A man who can sing in a jungle, does not find it hard to do so on stage. It is hard for those who are being exposed to a life of entertainment for the first time. At ‘darbars’ we sand for people all day. I felt no apprehensions on stage at all.
What are you working on at present?
There are two Japanese Muslims who have been taught Sufi Kalaam, and they Invited me to Japan. I have travelled all over the world to perform. Of course money is important in life, and one does do things to earn it. I am most proud of work done with Muslims from around the world.
Where all have you travelled?
Everywhere possible. I went to the States four times, to England twice, seven times to Europe and Norway, as well as Dubai. I have also been to China, Japan, South Africa, France, Canada and many times to India.
Which one appealed to you the most?
All countries are beautiful, but I really love India, where Sufi Kalaam is most understood and respected. I also got a BBC award and was proud to be representing Pakistan in England.
Did you receive great love of the people in these countries you visited?
Yes, I received love in every country. Once again, India gave me the most love because they appreciate the kind of entertainment I offer. They also understand the truth and purity behind Sufi Kalaam. There is a lot of fusion everywhere else in the world nowadays, even in the genre of Kalaam.
How would you like people to remember you once you are gone?
It all about your faith. I would like to be remembered for the way I ‘lived’, with great faith.
What are your objectives?
Whatever Allah has in store for me, I am ready to accept. It is his will. My intentions should be clear. Nothing can happen without HIS will.
I know not who I am
I am neither a believer going to the mosque
Nor given to non-believing ways
Neither clean, nor unclean
Neither Moses not Pharoah
I know not who I am
I am neither among sinners nor among saints
Neither happy, nor unhappy
I belong neither to water not to earth
I am neither fire, not air
I know not who I am
(From All Things Pakistan’s post on rediscovering Bulleh Shah)
Saeen Zahoor Songs List
- Toomba (Coke Studio Season 2)
- Allah Hoo
- Nachna Painda Hai
- Tere Ishq Nachaya
- Ek Alif (Coke Studio Season 2)
- Allah Hu (Coke Studio Season 6)
- Rabba Ho (Coke Studio Season 6)