Allah Ditta Loney Wala was born in a village Loney Wala near Chiniot in Punjab in 1957. His father’s name was Mian Santa Khan who had three sons, Santa being the eldest. Allah Ditta’s father wanted Allah Ditta to become a doctor and serve the community of the village and heighten the name of their community. Allah Ditta did make his village’s name known to the world but in a different capacity; by becoming a folk singer of repute. Allah Ditta was admitted in a Government School where he started singing in ‘Bazm-e-Adab’. His teachers were astonished by listening to a delightful, sweet and tuneful voice which was a gift of God. The school started preparing him to take part at district and provincial levels in music competitions. Allah Ditta did not disappoint his teachers and won laurels at all forums. Village Loney wala therefore became a household name. Proper training: Seeing Alah Ditta’s talent and passion for singing, his teacher Mr. Nizami referred him to Mian Issa, a famous classical music teacher in Okara. Since Mian Issa was in his advance age, he referred Allah Ditta to his son Mian Talib Hussain who then gave proper tutelage to Allah Ditta Loney Wala for some time. Both teacher and student flourished with this relationship and student’s talent got polished in no time. The student learnt the basic trait of classical music, a quality visible in his folk singing subsequently. It was time to tie a knot now. Allah Ditta got married and had five children; three sons and two daughters. The eldest of the siblings Zaheer Abbas Loney Wala is programmes producer at Radio Pakistan, Lahore and also hosts programmes at some private TV channels. The second son Waseem Abbas is a successful businessman in London. The youngest son Nadeem Abbas is a successful folk singer like his father whose first song ‘Bismillah Karaan’ brought his fame overnight at par with his father. Allah Ditta’s first album that contained songs such as ‘Shaaman Pei Gaiaan’, ‘Ticketaan Do Lei Lei’ and ‘Main Cham Cham Nachdi Phiraan’ etc. became super hit, the moment these songs were released. Seeing Allah Ditta’s talent and passion for singing, his teacher Nizami referred him to Mian Issa, a famous classical music teacher in Okara. Since Mian Issa was in his old age, he in turn referred Allah Ditta to his son Mian Talib Hussain who then gave proper tutelage to Allah Ditta Lonay Wala for some time. Both teacher and student flourished with this relationship and so the student’s talent was polished in no time. The student learnt the basic trait of classical music, a quality visible in his folk singing subsequently “Allah Ditta Lonay Wala is considered amongst one of the best Punjabi/Saraiki folk singer at par with Mansoor Ali Malangi. He is very well known for his high pitched voice and the way he manipulates and plays with his voice. Even the families of musicians who have inherited music from generation to generation and have knowledge of music, respect Allah Ditta Lonay wala for his artistic style of singing. He has a unique way of taking his voice up to a very high level, which is his specialty. He is a very nice man in person with humbleness visible on his face and in his conversation. He has sung a large number of very beautiful songs.” Listening to his songs ‘Lei Chal Vei Sahnu Naal Vei Punla’ and ‘Sohne Rang Di Dachi’ confirms the above comments made by Waqa, Allah Ditta’s fan. Despite Allah Ditta’s advancing age, his voice can float on top notes easily. His vocals are on thinner side and makes him sing most difficult of ‘taans’ easily. Invariably a ‘dohra’precedes the main song before the rhythm starts. One can check this style in the song ‘Tere Hijr VichRiwaan Kurlawaan, Sajan Pardesia’. The song ‘Jei Tun Likhian Naseeban Vich Judaiyan Jhole Da Gilla Kyun Kariye’ has a story pictured on a village girl waiting for his beloved in a car on the roadside who ultimately ditches her. Another song worth mentioning is ‘Allah Dewey Menu Aidian Taufiqan Wangaan Dhole Nu Mul Lei Lei’. It is a catchy number. I liked another song rendered by Allah Ditta Loney wala in PTV’s programme ‘Raat Gaye’ which was ‘Dholey Tei Saadi Yaarian’ also appreciated by host Wasi Shah and guest senior journalist Mujeeb ur Rehman Shami very much. It indicates that urbanites too have started finding this form of singing attractive; rhythmic, lyrical and full throat singing. Another video ‘Do Do Thaan Tei Pyar Vi Change Honde Nahi’ shows the story of a man running two loves at the time. The song is a lesson that such a situation creates tension among all concerned parties. Allah Ditta Loney wala has also sung religious songs also. His narration and singing of ‘Waqea Karbala’ (story of Karbala) is viral on social media. Through his songs Allah Ditta Lone Wala is spreading the Punjabi culture with his voice and poetry. He showed his performance in many national and international shows and earned a great name. Allah Ditta Lonay Wala gave a new colour to Punjabi music. One of Allah Ditta’s fans/friends Shamsi from Germany comments “Mostly Allah Ditta sings songs by lyricists Hayat Bhatti and Abad Tameemi. He started to sing in a circus in the beginning of year 1970… and then he recorded cassettes for Rehmat Gramophone Company, Faisalabad. Now he is a very famous singer of Pakistan Punjabi folk music.” Allah Ditta Lonay Wala was conferred upon with President of Pakistan’s award ‘Pride of Performance’ followed by other awards. Lately he was given ‘Pride of Punjab’ award by Punjab Institute of Languages, Arts and Culture. The writer is an award-winning musician and author. He Tweets at @amjadparvez and can be reached at email@example.com Published in Daily Times, October 16th 2017.