The word ‘jugni’ has become a part of music vocabulary, a testament to the legacy of Alam Lohar.
Lohar, whose 31st death anniversary is being commemorated this week, is considered to be one of the leading icons of folk music in Pakistan, and has sung Waris Shah’s folk tale Heer in 36 different ways. Alam died in an accident on July 3, 1979 and was laid to rest in Lala Musa. Alam Lohar’s childhood was spent singing Sufi poetry at local gatherings in his village. Gradually he emerged as a great singer who managed to hold his audience captive.
Alam Lohar’s legacy continues through his son Arif Lohar, who has kept both the chimta and jugni alive.
Remembering his father, Arif told Express News, “‘Jugni’ is my father’s discovery. Except for the first ten days of Muharram, he dedicated all his time to music which is a world record in itself.”
Arif, whose rendition of “Jugni” is also extremely popular says, “I wish some organisation or hall would be named after him.”
The younger Lohar spoke at length about his father’s trademark instrument, the chimta. Introduced as a unique musical instrument, the chimta soon became the identity of both father and son.
Alam Lohar was gifted with a melodic voice and hit high notes with a varying pitch, but his memorable performances with a chimta became his trademark. Alam did not solely rely on the works of Sufi poets and composed the lyrics for many of his own songs.
However, Arif Lohar is often forced to do impromptu performances at airports with the chimta.
“The chimta is not a weapon,” he says. “But since 9/11, I face difficulties in getting it cleared by airport security and sometimes have to convince the foreign staff that it is an instrument by doing a live performance at the airport.”
Many music enthusiasts have been curious about the meaning of ‘jugni’. Arif explained what the word means to him, “Jugni is the conscience of one’s soul. Jugni is a message of peace across the globe.”
Arif, who has worked in a few Lollywood movies, is making a comeback after a decade. “I’m playing the male lead opposite Saima in Syed Noor’s film Jugni Nachdi Ae,” he told Express News.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 3rd, 2010.