Punjabi Tappe - Tappa from the folk tradition

Following are my favorite tappe videos.  But before those, let me just provide some background on the importance of folk music and specifically some information on punjabi folk music and tappe.

Importance of Folk Music

Folk music is considered important for many reasons, both historically and culturally. Some of the key reasons include:
  • Cultural Identity: Folk music has been used as a way to preserve the cultural identity of a group of people. It often reflects the traditions, beliefs, and experiences of a particular community, and can serve as a way to connect people to their heritage.
  • Social Commentary: Folk music has a long history of being used to comment on social and political issues. Many folk songs address important topics such as poverty, war, and human rights, and serve as a way for people to voice their concerns and protest against injustices.
  • Historical Significance: Folk music can provide insight into the history and cultural traditions of a particular time and place. Many folk songs have been passed down orally from generation to generation, and they can serve as a way to understand the experiences and perspectives of people in the past.
  • Emotional Connection: Folk music often has a simple and straightforward musical structure that allows people to connect with the lyrics and emotions expressed in the songs. This emotional connection can be particularly powerful in live performances, where people can come together to sing and experience the music together.
  • Musical Diversity: Folk music encompasses a wide range of musical styles and traditions from different parts of the world. This musical diversity helps to preserve unique cultural traditions and adds to the overall richness and diversity of global music.
In short, folk music has the power to connect people to their cultural roots, express important social and political issues, provide a historical record, evoke emotional responses, and add to the diversity of global music.

Pubjabi Folk Music and Tappe

Punjabi folk music is a rich and diverse musical tradition that has its roots in the Punjab region of India and Pakistan. It is known for its lively and upbeat rhythms, as well as its use of traditional instruments such as the dhol, dholak, sarangi, and algoza.

'Tappa' (plural is tappe) is believed to be originated from musical talent of Ghulam Nabi Shori, i.e. Shori Miyan after getting influenced by folk music of Punjab and Sindh. It is supposed that Tappa is originally, the folk song of camel-drivers of Punjab-Sindh region, so it contains the lyrics in Punjabi language. Basically the lyrical content depicts the love and sorrow of separation of Hir and Ranjha or any lovers. Raags expressing romance, light mood or pathos such as Khamaj, Kafi, Bhairavi, Jhinjhoti, Tilang, Sindhura, Des, and Taals such as Punjabi, Pashto, Sitarkhani are popularly practiced for Tappa. 

Tappe are characterized by its fast, rhythmic beat and intricate melodic patterns. The lyrics of tappe often tell stories or express emotions, and the songs are typically sung in a call-and-response style, with the lead singer improvising the melody and the chorus repeating the refrain. Usually the lyrics have three lines in the ABA pattern with the first and last line rhyming. These songs can be about romance, spirituality or just life in general. 

Tappe are often performed at festivals, religious ceremonies, and other special events, and they are considered an important part of Punjabi folk music culture. The songs can be accompanied by traditional instruments, as well as by more modern instruments such as the guitar and keyboard.

The classical tappas have evolved somewhat differently from the folk tradition.  I really like the folk tradition tappas. Punjabi Tappe in the folk tradition generally have three lines where lines 1 and 3 rhyme, and also generally are composed on the same tune.  They can also have four lines (see below). Also, generally there is no relation between one stanza and the other - they can be looked at as independent poems.

In recent years, tappe have become increasingly popular in the Punjabi music scene, and many contemporary musicians have incorporated elements of the genre into their music  (see Tappe by Yasir Hussain below). Despite this modernization, the tradition of tappe remains strong, the 3-line structure remains intact, and the songs continue to be an important part of Punjabi folk music culture.

Tappe by Jagjit Singh - Kothe te aa Maahiya 

Frolic and romantic teasing: 

Jagjit Singh Tappe Lyrics

Kothe te aa mahiya,
Milna taa millege,
Nai to khasmaa nu kha mahiya,
Ke leyna hai mitra to,
Milne to aa jawa,
Daar lagta hai chiitra to,
Tusi kale kale ho,
Kuch tee sharam karo,
Dhiya putra wale ho,
Aye sare dand paye kade ne,
Asi taanu chunge lagde,
Te sade dhiya put wadhde ne,
Ithe pyaar di puch koi na,
Tere nail nayui boolna,
Tere muh te much koi na,
Maja pyaar da chak langa,
Je tera hukm hoye,
Meh to dadi wi rakh langa
Bage which aaya kaaro,
Jado usii so jayye,
Tusi makhiya udaya karo,
Tusi rooj nahaya kaaro,
Makhiya to darde ho,
Gud thoda khaya karo
Eet pyaar di pawage,
Hum asi mil gaye ha,
Geet pyaar de gawa ge

Tappe by Ghulam Ali - Patna e ta mil maahiyaa 

(missing the beloved)


Patna e ta mil maahiyaa
mudattaan beet gaiyaan
tera dil e ke sil maahiyaa

If you want to agree then meet
its been years
do you have a heart or a stone?

tu charh gayi doli ni
kachhiye bolaan diye
saadi jindari roli ni

mere aas rodi vey
kali main reldi saan
kandeyaan sang jodi vey

hun mel naa hone ni
sukhi vas tu adiye
saanu umraan de rone ni

anhoni hoyi mahiyaa
veriyaan zulam keeta
mera dosh na koyi mahiyaa

mera maan gavaayaa ni
sajna da sang chhad ke
tere hath ki aayaa ni?

tere pyaar di saun mainu
Rabb mainu bhul jaave
bhul jaavaan je main tainu

Interesting to hear tappe sometimes in a qawwalli (around 22 minutes into):

Do zulfaan challe vey challe
Do zulfaan challe vey challe
Saara jag sohna he
mainde mahiye toon thale vey thale

Do naina nail deeyan
maithoo ki tareef theeve
teriyaan zulfaan valail deeyaan

Others with this: 

kothe te kalo mahiya 
chan pave nit chadhdaa 
sanu teri hi lo mahiya

do patri anara de
sadi gali lang mahiya
dukh tutan bimara de

kothe te kill mahiya
mudata beet gayiya 
tera dil aake sil mahiya

badi chandri javaani e
ik vaari mildi e
ve dende umraa nishaani e

Tappe by Yasir Hussain

Gallan Kar Ikrar Diyan, Gallan Kar Ikrar Diyan,
Main Seene Nal La Rakhiyan, Tasveeran Yar Diyan,
Main Seene Nal La Rakhiyan, Tasveeran Yar Diyan,

Hathan Vich Chale Mundiyan Ne,
Hathan Vich Chale Mundiyan Ne,
Ni Pata Laga Phone Utte,
Ni Gallan Gairan Nal Hondiyan Ne,

Tainu Russe Nu Manawange,
Tainu Russe Nu Manawange,
Je Fer Vi Na Tu Manya,
Ve Tere Kann Utte Lavange,

Kanni Kach Diyan Mundran Ne,
Kanni Kach Diyan Mundran Ne,
Ve Ishq Da Rog La Leya,
Ve Aje Chotiyan Umran Ne,

Ve Ajj Dhabe Utton Chah Peeti,
Ve Ajj Dhabe Utton Chah Peeti,
Ve Teriyan Main Mann Mann’ke,
Ainve Zindagi Tabah Kiti,

Atta Gun Diyan Go Goke,
Atta Gun Diyan Go Goke,
Ve Din Katte Tere Asre,
Ratan Katdi An Ro Roke,

Koi Battiyan Band Kariye,
Allah Vi Naraz Hunda,
Je Sajna Tu Tang Kariye,
Allah Vi Naraz Honda,
Je Sajna Tu Tang Kariye.


  1. "Patnaa" da maani labhda labhda aithay puhnchya. Ghulam ali sun rhya saan te ais lafz di samjh nahi aayi si.
    Wekhya ke bara hi maloomati warqa likhya je.

    Hun toun tuhada blog wi parhna shruu.

  2. anishkhan288@gmail.com