26 Oct 17 /Thursday

Sufiyana Mausiqi is the classical music of Kashmir, the cradle of Sufism in South Asia. It is a choral, spiritual style of music in which a group of musicians sing and play various instruments simultaneously. A Sufiana ensemble comprises four to seven people and sometimes even more. A group leader sings the main lines of the song and usually plays either a santoor or a saz-i-Kashmir. The songs are a mixture of Persian and Kashmiri Sufi poems, the hymns of Sufi mystics. Though the language seems almost foreign sometimes and is hard to keep up with, it is the rich, sonorous voices of the singers and the beautiful pieces of music that keep listeners captivated until the performance ends. A product of cultural intermingling, this form of music is believed to have come to Kashmir from Persia (Iran) around 500 years ago. The impact of Central Asia and particularly of Persia on Kashmir’s art and culture has always been evident in the cuisines, architecture and handicrafts of Kashmir. Likewise, Kashmiri music too has imbibed and retained many aspects of Persian music. Despite this influence, the Kashmiri Sufiyana Mausiqi is unique and not found anywhere else. Besides santoor and saz-i-Kashmir, other music instruments used in Sufiyana Mausiqi are the Kashmiri sehtar, a long necked stringed instrument played with a wire plectrum called mezrab; the rabab, a short-necked lute, which when plucked produces a very thick sound and the Indian tabla, which is the only percussion instrument used in Sufiyana Mausiqi. Tabla, in fact, has replaced the wasul or dhokra, a two-sided drum that was used earlier and is now virtually extinct.The gharanas of Sufiyana Mausiqi in Kashmir have inherited this music from their ancestors. It’s something that is passed down from one generation to the next. Sufiyana Mausiqi has gradually faded away from the social and cultural life of Kashmir.There is a need to take collective efforts to preserve the rich Kashmiri music from sinking into oblivion and involve next generation in it.

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