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A five-women group strives to preserve Sufi music in Occupied Kashmir

A five-women group strives to preserve Sufi music in Occupied Kashmir

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A group of Kashmiri women is trying to save the dwindling musical genre of Sufiyan Musiqi in the north Indian region of Jammu and Kashmir.

The members of Yemberzel usually sing the poetry of Kashmir's famous Sufi saint Sheikh ul Alam as well as poets like Lal Ded, Haba Khatoon, and others.

What Happened: About five years ago,  22-year old Irfana Yousaf Beigh caught interest in Sufiyana music from her classical musician father Mohammad Yousuf,  in the small village of  Ganastan in North Kashmir’s Bandipora district. She was fascinated by the traditional instruments and the songs that were compositions of Sufi saints. She was sent to a master musician and expert, Ustad Mohammad Yakoub Sheikh for music lessons. Watching her performance on Doordarshan, India’s public broadcaster, Gulshan Lateef also joined her, followed by some friends in the village. Together they formed an all-girls group called Yemberzal, which means the first flower that grows in Kashmir after a long, harsh winter. 

The Response: People have lauded the bravery and passion of these girls for saving a dying music genre in a territory ravaged by violence.

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