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The Kashmir valley – a land of divine natural beauty, combined religions, beliefs, and cultures. The valley is a land of rich cultural heritage, the most notable example of this heritage is the BHARATA NATYA SHASTRA- an ancient encyclopedic treatise originated in the valley of Kashmir, this SHASTRA has highly influenced dance, songs, and literary traditions in India. Kashmiri culture has a rich musical heritage that one can see and listen to in present times also.
The union territory is divided into three divisions, and they all represent a different and kind of its own rhythm of songs, the Jammu division’s Music is closer to north Indian music, the Kashmir valley’s Music is similar of Central Asian music, and Ladakhi music is similar as the music of Tibet.
Also spelled as Laddi Shah or Ladi Shah, a traditional and humorous folk singing genre of the Kashmir valley, mostly sung by males while wandering from one place to another. It is usually sung in Kashmiri or Koshur Language, Ladishah is a way of folk entertainment with the equal purpose of addressing or conveying messages about Political, Social, and Cultural issues. In this folk singing act, the singer literally acts as a communicator, who is conveying his message to the people. Ladishah is performed with a traditional instrument, known as – dhukar an instrument consisting of two metal rods, an artist can perform with or without it.
A form of folk singing, mostly sung by women, wanwun means “CHORUS”, Is performed by Kashmiri people before certain rituals like Marriages. The folk lore is sung on a fixed beat, with the same tune and a spoken word type rhythm, but depending on the event, the singing women use emphasis, metaphor, alliteration, and simile.
One of the most popular forms of traditional music, Chakri is performed with instruments like the chimta, the rubab, the harmonium, the sarangi , the geger, and the tumbaknaer. Chakri is a traditional responsorial song form, in earlier times, it was used to tell fairy tale stories or some famous love stories like Laila-Majnun. It is performed by both Hindu and Muslim Kashmiris.
An ancient form of singing, practiced by Kashmiri Pandits is called HENZAE. Its archaic features suggest it as the oldest form of folk singing in the valley of Kashmir.
The classical Music of the valley is called SUFIANA KALAM. This genre of music is performed along with a hundred-stringed instrument known and called as the santoor, this genre uses its own ragas also known as maqam and some other instruments are the Kashmiri saz, the wasool, the dokra, and the setar.
Music in the Jammu division is mainly sung in the Dogri language and traditional folk songs in Dogri are known as “BHAKH”.
The traditional music of LADAKH includes instruments like DAMAN, PIWANNG, and SURNA. The Tibetan music form usually involves religious chanting in the Tibetan or Sanskrit language, the chants are complex and performed as an integral part of the religion.
You can let us know about your favorite music and songs in the comment section below, and any suggestions/comments/thoughts/advice/mistakes about this post or our work are always welcomed, you can share your thoughts and pour your heart out in the comment section.
For any other queries or information about the valley of Kashmir, you can check out our other posts at thekashmirvalley.com
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Written by Muba Noor
Feature Image Photographer : Umer Qadir