Sometime last year, I just heard strains of "Allah Hoo" in the promos of the movie Khuda Ke Liye. Those were enough to convince me to buy the disc and to this date the haunting voice behind Allah Hoo plays in my car almost daily. Unfortunately, the CD did not carry any credits for the music, but after a little bit of hunting, I came across the man behind the song - a voice so great that I was left wondering to this day how was I unaware of him till recently.
The voice in the song belongs a man called Zahur Ahmed, better known as Sain Zahur. He is an absolute illliterate, but it is said that he knows more than 10,000 songs. Most of us are familar with Sufi verses due to the likes of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Abida Parveen, Wadali Brothers or more recently through Rabbi Shergill or Junoon. But that's not his what is so special about him. What makes him special that he sings those Sufi verses as they were perhaps sung by the real Sufis - the wandering minstrels who roamed all over the subcontinent, an ektara in hand singing in praise of their Murshid. He ladies and gentleman
is the Real McCoy. His voice is unlike that of the classical trained Sufi singers that we know - he sings the way the songs were really sung.
He won the BBC's "Voice of the Year - 2006" purely on word of mouth - He hadn't cut a record to date. He learnt his music at the Dargah of Baba BUlleh Shah of all people, and has wandered from dargah to dargah since he was young boy. His attire is those of the Sufis of old, with ghungroos on his feet and tassels around his ektara - dancing his way into a trance. Hear him - for he is the voice of the great men themselves.