The Weekend Leader – Kashmiri music: an instrument of integration
The music is deeply rooted in the living paradise of Kashmir. It signifies its cultural glories and not just as a means of entertainment and recreation, but as a central part of the heritage. His divine music is like food for the soul – born in congregations of saints and Sufis who would overtake the physical world in the metaphysical through music.
It’s a gift of nature – heard through the winds in the trees, the calm of the countryside, the willow orchards and the nuances of Chinar through the seasons. Trees in Kashmir have given artists a natural sense of rhythm; it is said that with the changing atmosphere and moods of the valley, the wind carries emotions as it passes through a variety of trees, paving the way for music only real artists can hear.
Kashmir also has a history of traditional musical instruments like Tumbaknar, Sarang, Rabab, Noet, Nai, Santoor, Sitar, Saz-e-Kashmir, etc. with unique sound, importance and reason. They were given a central place in Bollywood films like “Fitoor”, “Haider” and “Raazi”.
Lately, many music studios have sprung up in Kashmir. Kashmiri music is gaining popularity among the general public as artists from all over India are interested in Kashmiri folk music and language. Again, just like at the start of the Bollywood era, artists are choosing Kashmir as their video shooting destination. Perhaps this is the new beginning, the renewal of Kashmiri music and culture that we have been waiting for.
AR Music Studios, a Mumbai-based music label, aims to rekindle the timeless appeal of music by blending traditional melody with modern demands. The founder, known by a popular Kashmiri song “Harmukh Bartal”, Jaan Nissar Lone of Baramulla in North Kashmir created waves in Bollywood for his strong point, Sufi tradition meets modern acoustics. Their Sufi hit soundtrack “Allah Teri Kya Shaan Hai” was even voted Best Sufi Song of the Year by the Mirchi Music Awards! He has established himself as a Bollywood music director, producer and singer, having recently composed music and performed for the hit OTT series ‘The Family Man’ Season-1.
Jaan Nissar also took a hands-on initiative, a live project like Coke Studio, the first of its kind in Kashmir where Kashmiri singers will sing in Kashmir with guest artists from South Asian countries to create fusions with languages ââlike Pashto. , Persian, etc. .
These upcoming studios inspire the new generation to choose music as their profession. Many Kashmiri music composers collaborate with non-Kashmiri singers across India and are internationally acclaimed. Some of these songs are ‘Peer Myanio’, ‘Khodaya’, ‘Jugni- Az Rouz Saane’, ‘Rouvmut Dildar’, ‘Katyu Chukh Nundbaane’, ‘Salaam e Wazwane’, ‘Maenzi Raath’, all sung by foreigners, who barely understand the language but are quite passionate learners!
Kashmir being a Dardic language hardly resembles any other Indian language in terms of accent, intonation, vocabulary, etc., but young artists do not shy away from this language barrier.
Rani Hazarika, from the famous Hazarika dynasty of Assam singers, sang songs from Kashmir: âSalaam e Wazwaneâ (a tribute to Wazwan, the cuisine of Kashmir), âMaenzi Raathâ and âKatyu Chukh Nund baaneâ, among others.
Richa Sharma, a famous singer of Bollywood music and devotion is also seeking to popularize Kashmir and the Sufi genre that has its soul in the Kashmir Valley. Her latest album ‘Mere Ali Maula’ shows Kashmir’s true identity, scenic beauty and spiritual transcendence.
A huge valley singing sensation, Mehmeet Syed, who topped the charts as a teenager since making her music debut in 2004 with her first Kashmiri musical ‘Chulhama Roshay Roshay’ is working with an international group to create a fusion of Kashmiri and foreign music. She made a name for herself performing concerts in cities across the United States, Australia, New Zealand and the Middle East. She is ready to give Kashmiri music a new global appearance.
Certain Kashmiri songs with their contemporary interpretation and Hindi translations have taken Bollywood and non-Kashmiri artists by storm. They have been appreciated all over the world. The perfect example is Vibha Saraf’s hit song ‘Khanmoj Koor’ for the film ‘Raazi’, whose Hindi interpretation is written by Gulzar, and won him an IIFA and Zee Cine award in 2019. Due of the fame of the song, even the Telugu film industry is looking for songs in Kashmir for its films!
Few local artists have also been recognized on the national scene. Vocalist Rasiq Imtiyaz Khan’s solo song Kashmiri âLolanâ was released by Zee Music Company, one of the country’s top labels.
Another artist, known as âArijit Singh and Bryan Adams of Kashmirâ, Ishfaq Kawa of Bandipora District has redefined Kashmir music in recent years, carving out a distinct niche for himself without receiving any formal musical training. His latest album was highly regarded on online platforms with his biggest hit ‘Nund Bani’ surpassing 7.3 million views on YouTube alone. And now he’s ready to make his Bollywood debut!
Music composer Amit Kilam (Band – Indian Ocean) who has composed music for various blockbusters including ‘Black Friday’, ‘Swaraj’, ‘Peepli Live’, ‘Masaan’ and ‘Satyagraha’, also joins the brigade to bring music from the valley in the limelight. He explores old folk musicians and young rap artists from Kashmir to bring them together under one roof.
Few of the valley artists are doing their part to help young people discover their glorious roots. Harkishan Singh Sanam, a young Sikh in his twenties from the Tral region of southern Kashmir, opened a music academy to teach children the nuances and style of Sufi and Bollywood music from Kashmir, while simultaneously working on her debut album recorded in cashmere – a unique blend of Punjabi – Kashmiri music.
With the improvement of the situation at J&K and the mark of inclusive leadership of the Prime Minister changing the direction of the winds in the Union territory, there is a real interest among people in participating in artistic activities as they plan to development and a better quality of life. The music of this “Heaven on Earth” expressed human tendencies, feelings and passions with its universal appeal and soul enlightening ability and it must be propagated and preserved at all costs – IANS