Yesterday Today

A memory from childhood Hardy was talking about. This is a traditional Punjabi boli … any Punjabi would know it … Bari barsi. But wait a minute … would any Punjabi? He said he heard this at weddings when growing up, but didnt quite realize that this is quite central to Punjabi culture outside of the wedding circuit too.

The boli is a music-form which is somewhat unique to Punjab. In this form, the poem starts with one singer introducing the theme, and another singer completing it. The completion of the couplet would typically be different each time. Bari barsi is one of the most popular ones there are.

Bari barsi khatan gaya si, khat ke lyandi _____________

And the couplet is formed by rhyming with this line.

Translated this is about a man who has been away from home for 12 years (bari barsi) to earn money, and on his return he is asked what he earned. He tells what he has earned, which is different in every repetition, and a rhyming couplet is completed on the spot. This is extempore poetry, fun and lively, as things Punjabi are.

Heres the Bari Barsi, as you will see, lively and light-hearted at the wedding, the music you just couldnt miss at a Punjabi wedding, in the pre-DJ and the pre-techno days, from the leading ladies of Punjabi music.

 

Children today might not even know about this form, much like a lot of our tradition. Heres a presentation of Bari Barsi from Coke Studio … contemporary, and the music gets you raising your arms. A nice effort to bringing the heart of Punjab to a new generation.

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