Punjab is the largest province of Pakistan in terms of population. That is why Punjabi language and culture dominate country’s cultural portrait. However, after the independence, Pakistan needed things to unite the various ethnic and cultural groups into becoming one nation. Hence the state promoted the use of Urdu to represent a shared national culture of Pakistan.
People of Punjab adapted Urdu and with the integration of Urdu and Punjabi, Northern Indian migrant’s culture and the culture of people of Punjab, a very beautiful new cultural landscape was born. A part of this cultural landscape is Pakistani Music.
Today Punjabi songs come in a variety of flavors. There are the traditional Punjabi Bhangra songs, but then there are also Pakistani Punjabi movie songs, Pakistani Punjabi pop, Pakistani Punjabi Rock and Punjabi Sufi Songs.
Similar experiments were done in India; however Indian Punjabi songs are limited to the Indian Punjabi speaking regions. Until or unless they are part of some major Hindi movie, they usually don’t get that much popularity on national level.
There are some basic characteristics of Punjabi songs that make them different from Indian Punjabi music and the Punjabi Rap and Rock from the UK. Pakistani Punjabi songs rely a lot more on the poetry than music. The poetic influence of the Urdu language can be seen and observed on Pakistani Punjabi songs easily. The traditional pattern of Urdu Poetry is used to write the lyrics of songs, but the cultural elements of Punjab are also present and cannot be ignored easily.
Another characteristic of Pakistani Punjabi songs is that the voice of the singer is more prominent than the sound of musical instruments. Madam Noor Jahan, one of the most prominent female singers of South Asia, was the first to introduce this trend where the melody of flute and the vocal lead take over the music. Later on, the modern Pakistani Punjabi Songs follow the traditional folk styles of Punjabi music and dhool has regained the prominence once again even in the Punjabi Rock and Punjabi Pop songs.
Since the culture of Punjab is shared between India, Pakistan and now you can say that UK’s Punjabi community also shares the same cultural background. There is so much that these cultures share and borrow from each other, the music has no boundaries and it does not understand the rivalry between India and Pakistan. It is shared and cherished across the border and the songs of Punjab are enjoyed across the globe by the Punjabi and non-Punjabi South Asians.