Srinagar, May 29: Soul-stirring performances by masters of “Sufiyana” and “Tchakri,” traditional devotional songs otherwise fading from the mainstream artform, were organised on Sunday evening by the “House of Ali Shah” at the Artisane, an art and cultural centre at Kunzer on the Gulmarg road, under the banner of “Dastaan-e-Bahaar.”
The musical performance was an homage to the families of artists in and around Kunzer who have been making wonderful carpets and shawls for many generations and garnering recognition for Kashmir. For many decades, two well-known Kashmiri craftsmen, Ghulam Muhammad, a carpet weaver, and Abdul Rasheed, a Kani shawl weaver, have shed light on the importance of devotional songs, particularly “Sufiyana Mausiki,” among the clan of Kashmiri artisans. They recall how such “mehfils,” featuring nightlong musical sessions, were a frequent fixture of the Valley’s “Karkhanas,” or weaving centres, and “would attract foreigners as well.”
“‘Sufiyana Kalam’ draws us in. “It’s a powerful tool for focusing and maintaining attention on meticulous details while weaving carpets and shawls,” Muhammad remarked.
Ustad Muhammad Yaqoob Sheikh, renowned for “Sufiyana Mausiki,” and Ghulam Ahmad Kachroo, known for “Tchakir,” traditional folk music, performed soul-stirring poetry and poems in an open-air setting, with candles to light up the evening, to pay honours to the families of Kashmir’s craftsmen.
On the occasion, Zareef Ahmad Zareef, a folk storyteller and poet, presented a poem on Kashmir to emphasise the richness of cultural variety. “It is commendable of the organisers to focus on the hands that have shaped Kashmir’s identity for centuries.” It’s nice to see the next generation of merchants repaying those who lay the groundwork for Kashmiri art. “More events recognising the hard work of artisans are needed,” Zareef remarked.