At the very onset, I would like to state that it is heartening to know that the Lahore Music Festival invited a pakhawaj player for a solo performance and that I am grateful to the organizers for their initiatives.
Allah Lok studied with Ustad Inayat Khan, whom I tried to meet in 1997. Ustad Mohammad Hafiz Khan, the Talwandi gharana exponent, went to fetch the elderly Ustad in a cab at my behest. Sadly Inayat Khan had passed away merely a month before. Allah Lok has also taken lessons from the son of legendary Pakhawaj maestro, Baba Malang of Hoshiarpur, East Punjab who lived in Hyderabad, Sindh after the unfortunate partition of Punjab in 1947.
For more information on Allah Lok, please visit a very informative site www.sadarang.com
or read Saqib Razaq’s very informative interview of the Ustad at:
http://www.sadarang.com/Ustad%20Allah%20Lok.htm

Response to the solo played at LMF
The thaap is not there but the chaanti; the instrument is in a bad shape – the gatta’s seem to have been taken from a tabla; the hair cut  – styling of the gentleman playing the Harm-o-nium { 😉 } is appalling while the presence of Allah Lok is quite dignified; and now the rendition:
The first thing that he plays in the recording is a TihaitiT-katta gaddi-ghin dha-aa aa- x3 following with – (dha)-tiT tiT-take tiTkiT-tikta kai-tiT-kiT-tik take-e-ta gaddi-ghen dhat-tiT-kiT-dheTat dhat-tiT-kiT-dheTat (chartal) Duggan sequence which is a 6 plus a beat and half x 2 pattern (sum as a 9-beat cycle). He picks ups a Pakki-duggan sequence of the same and flounders – to cover up, he presses on the Pudda as if its not-being-in-tune has somehow caused the interruption. He starts again with the same chartal pattern in Pakki-duggan ending with a tiT-kata-gaddi-ghin dha tihai. He then plays duggan (that he seems to be using as a theka) sequence before starting an 18-beat chedd, which is also played in chartal:
dha-tiT-kiT-dhe   Tat-dha-tiT   kiT-dhe-Tat   dha-dha-tiT   dha-diN-dha-aa,
then the tihai
giddi-ghena   take-tiT-kiT-dhe-e   e-ta-giddi   ghena-dha-diN   dha.

His starting the chedd pattern after he has played the Duggan and Pakkiduggan patterns in the very beginning is revealing. In the old times, a master percussionist would play some very complex and scintillating uthaans to begin their solo before rendering some tantalizing sequence of chedd patterns. Allah Lok’s playing, I am afraid, does not do any justice to the legacy of pakhawaj-jori-tabla playing of Punjab, which is the oldest surviving system in South Asia.

At 7:00 min marker, he flounders yet again and this time he chooses to adjust the mic and then tune-the-drum as a mean to cover up. His restart is spirited but the material non-existent.

I am now curious to find out from whom and how much has he studied (this tala)? Perhaps Saqib can enlighten me in this regard. Is he merely inspired by a Matt-taal recording of Ustad Talib Hussain? I am also surprised to find that he does not have, apart from the 18-beat chedd, any other (more appropriate) 18-beat lagg, gatt or paran-s. He is basically playing Chartal here under the refuge of some basic math adjusting some mukaa-s – ‘d like to hear him play a full-length concert in Chartal though. I would ask of Allah Lok to kindly do further research and seek out traditional compositions – play them – Punjab and its people will be eternally grateful.

He seems to have played a little longer than the clip – is it available anywhere?
That he is one of the last Pakhawaj players in Pakistan is very sad – I had interviewed elders percussionists such as Ustad Tafu Khan in the 90’s – I am sure in collaboration with such maestros Pakhawaj (in West Punjab) can be revived again. I would be glad to help train a protégé or two – any takers..?

I also call upon the music enthusiasts, especially percussion buffs, to listen to the recording and, please, share your thoughts…