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Seebalak and Saraswati Prakash Group: Thumri (tan singing)

from Songs of Hard Times: Up, Over & Through (1936​-​1982) by Various Artists



Performed by Seebalak (vocal) and the Saraswati Prakash Group and recorded by Alan Lomax and J.D. Elder at Penal, Trinidad, May 1962.


[Translation by Peter Manuel, who explains that "the enigmatic text to this song, as in most tan singing, is drawn from published verse anthologies obtained from India.]

O God, blessed is your court
Sadhus are sitting in the heat and the dust, having transcended the world.
Jesters and princes are gathered around you in your palace
[But meantime] the virtuous wife lacks even simple cotton cloth and only has dry and tasteless food.
Says Kabir, the fakir calls, everything is topsy-turvy,
Truth calls, to rush and strike the world, while people are trusting in lies.



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Alan Lomax Archive

Alan Lomax (1915–2002) was a documentarian, ethnologist, cultural activist, and arguably the foremost folklorist of the 20th century. Over his seven-decade career he collected thousands of audio recordings of folk and traditional music from around the US and the world, and dedicated himself to the pursuit of what he called "cultural equity." 100% of proceeds go to the Assoc. for Cultural Equity. ... more

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