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Waai music originated in Sindh, about 300 years ago during the time of the great Sufi saint
Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai. The recitation of the Bhitai’s mystic poetry is called Waai. The Waai’s
are collected in Dastaans (narratives) known as Risalo, which means “message.” Waai are
composed in 30 surs, and one of the narrations is about the seven Queens of Sindhi folklore
who have been given the status of royalty in “Shah Jo Risalo.” Their elaborate form is a metaphor
for an extremely spiritual life.

These songs, sung by a group of highly trained fakirs, are allegorical in nature.
The fakirs sing these songs with soulfulness and pain narrating our soul’s
evolution and its true yearnings through the stories and journeys of these seven
chief female characters. It requires deep knowledge and understanding of Bhitai’s
poetry and philosophy to be able to emote its profound meaning.

Waai is an extraordinarily distinctive music form. The Waai performers render a unique
fakiri hue to the Waai poetry. The fakirs of Bhitai perform Waai on Thursday nights –
Jumme ki Raat – the night before Jummah, Friday. This ritual is observed even today.

The artists who perform Waai are descendants of those fakirs who learned Waai
directly from Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai during its formative years, some of whom
migrated to Gujarat. This knowledge was passed on from generation to generation orally.
In Gujarat, only four artists remain who can perform Waai: Meetha Khan, Sumar Kadu,
Sarif Jat, Bhachaya Jat. They come from Bagadiya village of Banni grasslands, Kachchh.
They belong to the Jat community – the traditional nomadic pastoralists,
also known as ‘Maldhari’ locally.

The piece you hear is “Sur Karyal,” a poem that cites philosophical metaphors via the lives and characteristics of various birds.


  • Voice and Dhmbhuro - Mithakhan Jat
  • Voice and Dhmbhuro - Shumar Jat
  • Voice - Sarif Jat
  • Voice - Bhachaya Jat
  • Special Thanks to Bharmal Sanjot (Kala Varso Trust)