Sufyan Malik Young Kashmiri plays the rabab back into the limelight.

Srinagar: Sufyan Malik’s 45-second video finds receptive new audiences for the fading soul of the region’s folk music. A 19-year-old Srinagar boy, enabled by social media platforms, is infusing new life into what is considered the soul of Kashmir’s folk music — the rabab, a long-necked lute. Sufyan Malik’s 45-second video, shot on a mobile phone against the backdrop of the heavy snowfall witnessed on November 3, has stormed the internet, with over 4 lakh views and counting. “I came for a short vacation to Kashmir. As my parents left home in the morning, my friend and I decided to shoot the video with snowfall as the backdrop. Initially, I played it for my friends in Pune, to show them snow. To my surprise, the tune of a local song, ‘Janaat-e-Kashmir’, on the rabab, became an instant rage on Internet,” Malik, a student of engineering at Pune’s MIT College, told The Hindu. Malik shot the video 18 times because his hands and fingers turned cold in the cold weather. “There was no electricity to warm my hands. I had to match the speed. It was hard to play three beats down and one beat up. Finally, we did it,” said Malik, a resident of Srinagar’s Nowshera area.
The effort paid off as the video attracted 1.54 lakh views on Twitter in just a couple of days, with more views on Facebook and Instagram in the weeks that followed. “Snow and the rabab probably reflect our identity. People felt an immediate connection. I have pledged to play the rabab all my life. I will do my Masters in composition to enable the survival of the rabab,” said Malik, son of a doctor mother and a hotelier, Wahid Malik, who support their son’s efforts. Seen in many variants across central Asia, the rabab arrived in Kashmir from Afghanistan many centuries ago. “Compared to the seven strings of the Afghan rabab, the Kashmiri version has 22 strings, with two strings crafted out of goat gut through an elaborate process. It’s these two strings that create its mesmerising echo,” Malik said.
Extracted from http://www.thehindu.com (By Peerzada Ashiq, Srinagar)

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