Funkar International brings singers for a musical evening


Srinagar: Funkaar International, an organisation dedicated to preserving and promoting the Kashmiri folk art, organised a music performance event called Naev Traye at Srinagar’s Winterfell Café on Sunday. The event was dedicated to the celebrated folk singers of Kashmir; and was graced by the Kashmiri diaspora scattered across the world.

Addressing the gathering, Asmat Ashai, director of the Funkar International, introduced the organizations work before the audience. “We intend to bring before everyone a collection of CDs, which itself is a repository of Kashmiri culture. The way Punjabi wedding songs are popular at the weddings, we want to bestow our Kashmiri children with Kashmiri wedding songs and Nikaahnama,” said Ashai.

The collection that Ashai offered encompasses every aspect of Kashmiri folk. From the recording of enchanting Rabab to the soulful track of Awraat-e-fatiha by a Palastinian singer. The collection speaks volume about the rich and diversified heritage of Kashmir.

Ashai told about how people around the world are showing interest in the Kashmiri language and the culture. “There are some songs in the album/CD that are sung by the non-Kashmiris who live in Chicago. This is a proud moment for us,” she said.

Along with the help of another Kashmiri woman, Ashai also proselytized the nursery rhymes into Kashmiri language so that the culture of Kashmir would reach to the children growing up in abroad. Rhymes like Johnny Johhny, Humpty Dumpty etc. are also incorporated in the CD by her.

The latter part of the event was taken over by the traditional Kashmiri singers like Bilal and Irfan and their students. Zeeshan, who did his masters in music from Australia and A.R Rehman’s Institute, played Santoor and engrossed the crowd with his performance.

Journalist Nazir Ganai played Rabab, which was gifted to him by Ashai that she brought all the way from Peshawar. Ganai dedicated his song that he played on the Rabab to his mentor, late Shujaat Bukhari, who was assassinated by gunmen on 14 June in Srinagar.

Uzma and Beenish, twin sisters from Kashmir, also performed at during the session.

Funkaar International strives to treasure the diversified forms of folk culture of the valley by experimenting with the music and keeping up with the contemporary genre of the music. The impact of this initiative is however, far reaching and praiseworthy.

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