Kashmir has a deep rooted connection with music, especially Sufi music, as many Sufis were born here while many traveled from Iran to Kashmir which gave birth to Sufi music.
The people of the valley mainly focused on traditional music like Ladishah, Sufiana Kalam, Chakri and Ruff to showcase their feelings.
But now, in the digital age, the valley sees a new breed of young singers who write their own lyrics and make their own compositions, bringing revolution and change to artists’ lives.
Without a music industry of their own, young and energetic Kashmir singers and musicians use social media, especially YouTube, to reach wider audiences and earn a living.
With the use of internet, there are vibes that Kashmir might have its own music industry in times to come.
India time features some new age Kashmiri singers who have brought about a transformation in the field of music in a conflict-ridden valley.
Khan, 29, known as young Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, was born in the remote Karnah tehsil, located in Kupwara district, north Kashmir.
His euphonious voice and powerful stage presence made him one of the most beloved singers and performers in Jammu and Kashmir.
His expansive exploration, careful attention to convoluted detail in both note and expression, make his singing reasonably delightful. He mainly sings in various languages like Urdu, Punjabi, Pahari and Kashmir.
Khan is an ardent follower of singer and songwriter Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. He is known for songs like Kali Kali Zulfuo Ke, Gham Kha Gaya, Aap Baithe Hai Balin Pe Meri and others.
He tried his hand at resurrecting some famous songs of the NFAK legend which are widely appreciated and loved by the audience.
Khan has created his own YouTube channel which has 355,000 subscribers. He is reaching out to his audience through his official channel with new songs.
Bukhari, 32, is a sensation when it comes to musical composition. He is a popular name as a music director who also set up his studio in Mumbai.
Bukhari composed the beautiful lyrics by local lyricist Mashkoor Shad who hails from Karnah, Kupwara.
“Our writers are equally knowledgeable and talented. They just need a good platform to show off their talent,” he said.
He has over 209,000 subscribers on his YouTube page and has posted over 87 videos so far.
A native of downtown Srinagar, 27-year-old Abdal is popular for his two songs among others, one – “Tamanna” and the other “Yumbarzaloo”. Both are a hit on social media.
These songs have always been performed first when Abdal takes the stage for a live concert in Kashmir or outside UT.
Although the song of Tamanna is a mixture of poems by three poets, the Kashmiri poet Mehjoor, Mirza Ghalib and Ameeri Khusrow, while the Yumbarzaloo was written by the Kashmiri poet. Sunayana Kachroo.
In 2010, he came to Pune for his studies and started singing in his colleges which was appreciated by fellow students and motivated him to choose music as his career option. Later, he chooses music and is now much sought after by young people.
Muhammad Muneem Nazir
Born in 1983 and raised in Srinagar, Mohammad Muneem Nazir’s voice is referred to as “power” because it is full of energy. Listeners called her singing out of the box.
Nazir is a poet-songwriter and co-founder of the live music group Alif.
He is known for writing powerful lyrics to Kashmiri songs like Lalnawath, Umeed and Hosh Ha.
The 39-year-old singer has also written about the conflict in Kashmir in which he attempted to portray the pain of the people of the valley during times of conflict. He also sang for the Bollywood film Laila Majnu (2018).
Many call him Arjit Singh of Kashmir due to his soulful voice.
Hailing from Bandipora district in northern Kashmir, Ishfaq had escaped to Hyderabad to work as a waiter where luck turned.
He spent his childhood singing publicly but was unable to continue due to poverty caused by violence and chaos. In 2015, when he sang unexpectedly, on demand, while working as a waiter in a hotel, luck smiled on him. He returned to Kashmir and started exploring it as a career.
Ishfaq became known for his composed and written song “Nundi Bani” dedicated to all mothers who lost their sons. This song brought Kashmiris to tears and has been viewed 9.7 million times. He has over 476,000 subscribers on YouTube.
Nargis said she became a star during the COVID lockdown in 2020.
“2020 was the breakthrough year for me. During the Covid-19 lockdown, I started sharing my little singing clips on social media. I got a warm response from people. My music started reaching out to people like Ali Sethi, Ali Zafar and other Bollywood celebrities who reposted my videos and their warm appreciation changed my journey in music career,” she said.
The raging response intensified when Bollywood actress Sushmita Sen reacted to Khatoon’s post with “Ufff! @nargisKhatoon I love you!”.
After Sen, celebrities like Shanker-Ehsaan-Loy enjoyed his voice during an Instagram Live broadcast. She can also be seen doing various live performances for her fans.
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