Music as an art form is unique and unparalleled the soothing sound of which evokes thousands of emotions and thoughts. The propensity to music has remained pivotal in each culture for thousands and thousands of years. It has shaped thoughts, perceptions, cultures and even history through its impact.
Kashmir is a treasure trove of artists, some well- known and others, hidden gems; who have never failed to mesmerize the world. In addition to the geographical location of Kashmir, its sophisticated and unique cultural blend makes it stand out from the rest.
Kashmir has extraordinarily rich and diverse music traditions which unfortunately, dwindled for a few years but eventually, the youth started bringing up a wellspring of ideas into the musical culture, by the fusion of a bit of Kashmiri and a bit of western genres; forming an enchanting melody which without a glimmer of doubt leaves indelible marks in the hearts of masses. However, whilst the footsteps of those who have trodden the path before are certainly daunting; the young musicians are thriving to preserve and foster the folk music of Kashmir and indeed, the traditional music is coming to the fore. One such example is of a concert that was organized in 2013. The German embassy hosted a concert ‘Ehsaas- E- Kashmir’ in one of the Mughal gardens, Shalimar; where the melodies of Habba Khatoon and Beethoven revived the culture. Some great personalities and a mass audience attended the concert. Rustom Sapori, often hailed as one of the greatest singers of Kashmir, and his troupe absolutely enthralled the audience with their unbelievably amazing performance using Kashmiri folk instruments like Saraengh (Saranghi), Rabaab and the percussion instrument, Nout . The concert was live-telecasted to more than 150 countries.
Another example is of Noor Mohammed Shah, a music enthusiast who has enchanted people with his melodious voice. Almost two years back, his music video with rabab at its heart , earned him collosal admiration. He sings with the belief that his songs will resonate and keep his art alive, as each note blended in rhythm will pass on mountain to mountain, telling a tale of an artist who survived the test of time.
Yet another talented musician, Mohammad Muneem Nazir has carved a niche for himself in a famous music band ‘Alif’ and has enormously inspired people with his remarkable compositions. Moreover, he has won numerous accolades like the Dada Saheb Phalke Award for the single “Lalanawath”.
Such commendable, outstanding, incredible, Rustom Saporis, Noor Mohammads and Mohammad Muneems keep on enriching the musical traditions of Kashmir. Music is a corner stone of our cultural integrity and traditionally rich musical events foster a sense of loyalty towards this art form which can go a long way in preserving them.
Qunain Mushtaq Rather