A Prized Punjabi Folk Song (At A Performance)

The history of folk music is ageless.  Every country is distinct and rich with its own exclusive folk music.  When I look back at my childhood – it encompasses picturesque memories of family weddings where expressions of joy and jubilation were shown by including continuous sessions of singing.  Traditional folk music was the highlight.  Old songs, with no known composers, repeatedly got the whole marriage scene swinging, accompanied by the beat of the dholki (Indian drum).  On the floor, in a sitting position opposite to the dholki player – the ‘spoon-holder’ capitalized upon the festive continuity by beating the metal spoon on the wooden surface of the drum.  As a side-effect – indulgent parents, grand-parents, uncles, aunts, cousins, friends, kids – everyone danced to the “roots” music.


Shawah nee Lacchi is a typical Punjabi wedding folk song, I fondly remember my mother singing the song in her full-throated voice.  My aunts and cousins supported her to the hilt.  She told me that she had learnt the same from her mother.  There were reasons for Lacchi’s resounding popularity.  Legend has it: Lacchi was a nautch girl – dancing girl in the habit of alluring an unending stream of men friends through her profession.




Shawah! Ne Lachhi tere bandh na baney,
Bandh na baney,
Bandh na baney,
Mundey mar gaye,
Kamaiyan kardey,
Ne Lachhi tere bandh na baney.


Lachhi!  Your wrist-bands surpass the possibilities of ever getting made.  This is due to the fact that since your tastes are costly, men’s earnings will never be enough for the type of jewellery you want.


Shawah! Ne Lachhi puchey mundeyan kolon,
Mundeyan kolon,
Mundeyan kolon,
Gorey raang nu,
Dupata kerra sajda,
Lachhi puchey mundeyan kolon.


Lachhi is teasingly asking her men-friends, what colour of (attire) will suit her fair complexion.


Shawah! Ne mundeyan ney sach akheya,
Sach akheya,
Sach akheya,
Ne gorey rang nu,
Dupata kala sajda,
Mundeyan ney sach akheya.


The men-friends reply in truth to Lachhi and tell her that black is the colour which will suit her fair complexion.


Shawah! Ne Lachhieye puardey hathihey,
Puardey hathihey,
Puardey hathihey,
Jithey jawen, puardey pawen,
Lachhieye puardey hathihey.


O, Lachhi – you are really a trouble-maker because wherever you go – you are creating a commotion with your behaviour.


Shawah! Ne maja dudh
Pe lai Lachhieye,
Pe lai Lachhieye,
Ne vajan maran,
Gawandian dey mundey,
Ne maja dudh pe lai Lachhieye.


Come, O Lachhi.  Come and drink buffaloes’ milk – implore all men of neighbourhood to Lachhi.


Shawah – In a liberal sense, Shawah can be explained as a Hurrah! 

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