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April 02, 2020 00:00:00 |

Kashmir’s songs

A 19th century American poet, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, said about music that it is a universal language. After more than a century there is concord among poets, linguists, artists and even scientists and social scientists who believe that language and music bear many interrelations. Music and language are important elements of social and cultural heritage.Jammu and Kashmir offers a medley of folk musicwith markedvariations. There is a repertoire of folk songs like songs shared by farmers typically uttered during harvest seasons.Then there are traditional songs sung on social occasions like marriage ceremonies and festivals. Like language, the folk music has to battle it out with emerging popular culture. However, it is far worse for the music as new genreskeep addingthereby pushing the folklore to obscurity and de-recognition. In languages, for instance Kashmiri and Urdu languages spoken by the majority have to compete with English as the latter continues to grow in its popularity. There are no new or foreign languages to pose the challenge. But for the musicevery now and then there is an array of instrumental music and songsthat are fast gaining wider acceptance and appreciation. While the young who are now more inclined to counter-culture trends, it has always been difficult to make light, classical (sufiyana) and folk music popular among them. The audience has always been a set and rigid group. Like the languages, the weight of folk and traditional music has been pushed on to few cultural academies and institutions. Despite the efforts by Radio Kashmir, DDK Srinagar, J&K Academy of Art, Culture and Languages, Songs and Drama Division (J&K) and a number of non-governmental initiatives, the question whether it is enough remains ambiguous and unanswered. The number of Kashmiri songs is waning like their popularity with just few songs sung on rare exercises on culture and traditions that only select group can identify with. Relatively large number of folk songs is still to be heard by people all over Jammu and Kashmir. In younger population, there is larger acceptance ofalien culture. While the youth memorize and can recall entire songs representing the popular non-native culture, a handful can recallcompletely a single Kashmiri song.So it also raises the question of identity as some youth fail to identify with their own set of traditions and culture. Like songs, many artists, composers, musicians and their accompanists face the threat of being pushed to anonymity if not the extinction.The promotion of music and culture has to open up to a wider audienceand not just a handful of connoisseurs.

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April 02, 2020 00:00:00 |

Kashmir’s songs

              

A 19th century American poet, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, said about music that it is a universal language. After more than a century there is concord among poets, linguists, artists and even scientists and social scientists who believe that language and music bear many interrelations. Music and language are important elements of social and cultural heritage.Jammu and Kashmir offers a medley of folk musicwith markedvariations. There is a repertoire of folk songs like songs shared by farmers typically uttered during harvest seasons.Then there are traditional songs sung on social occasions like marriage ceremonies and festivals. Like language, the folk music has to battle it out with emerging popular culture. However, it is far worse for the music as new genreskeep addingthereby pushing the folklore to obscurity and de-recognition. In languages, for instance Kashmiri and Urdu languages spoken by the majority have to compete with English as the latter continues to grow in its popularity. There are no new or foreign languages to pose the challenge. But for the musicevery now and then there is an array of instrumental music and songsthat are fast gaining wider acceptance and appreciation. While the young who are now more inclined to counter-culture trends, it has always been difficult to make light, classical (sufiyana) and folk music popular among them. The audience has always been a set and rigid group. Like the languages, the weight of folk and traditional music has been pushed on to few cultural academies and institutions. Despite the efforts by Radio Kashmir, DDK Srinagar, J&K Academy of Art, Culture and Languages, Songs and Drama Division (J&K) and a number of non-governmental initiatives, the question whether it is enough remains ambiguous and unanswered. The number of Kashmiri songs is waning like their popularity with just few songs sung on rare exercises on culture and traditions that only select group can identify with. Relatively large number of folk songs is still to be heard by people all over Jammu and Kashmir. In younger population, there is larger acceptance ofalien culture. While the youth memorize and can recall entire songs representing the popular non-native culture, a handful can recallcompletely a single Kashmiri song.So it also raises the question of identity as some youth fail to identify with their own set of traditions and culture. Like songs, many artists, composers, musicians and their accompanists face the threat of being pushed to anonymity if not the extinction.The promotion of music and culture has to open up to a wider audienceand not just a handful of connoisseurs.

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