June 6, 2020 11:13 pm

Mixing Old Melody with New Melancholy: Meet Kashmir’s Fresh Folksingers

Post-2010 Kashmir saw many youngsters making guitars fashionable to sing tunes as tribute to their homeland. Today, many of them have come of age while striking the musical notes with their niche audience.

 Jyotsna Bharti

AT a time when youngsters elsewhere are de-rooting themselves and trying westerns, many new-age Kashmiri musicians and singers are popularising their roots.

Following footsteps of their forefathers, they’re finding solace in Rabab, pleasures in poetries and life in mountains, irrespective of the trauma they went through in their lives.

Many of them have already emerged as reckoning musicians and singers outside their home.

Mohammad Muneem

As new-age folksinger, Mohammad Muneem carries Kashmir with him and on his stage. Sporting a signature embroidery shawl, he uses all the traditional musical instruments to describe various shades of Kashmir.

During his live performances, the singer behind the famous band Alif is known to abruptly halt his song midway to ask the audience if the song felt incomplete. That way, he draws his audience’s attention towards the sudden emptiness of the half-widows and mothers of the disappeared persons of Kashmir.

As a widely liked Kashmiri folksinger, Muneem is known for collaborating with various Kashmir-based artists. “Let’s go beyond hate,” the folksinger said in one of his media talks. “We’re all capable of being kind and giving.”

Pragnya Wakhlu

As someone who uses English and Kashmiri as a medium of her musical storytelling, Pragnya Wakhlu focuses on the valley’s striking countenance and culture.

Coming across as someone who strikes the effortless chord with her audience, Pragnya shows the world the beauty and resilience of Kashmir.

Ithe pethe kahwe chai khushboo chu travaa

Tithye pethe aisi paizi ruth ruth vartavun

Badaam konge tay aele khashkhash

Ikvat milith karan tim kamaal

Byun byun ruzith chu gachaan lurapar

Ikvat saimtave fulraitav poshe ver

(In the same way, Kahwa (Kashmiri tea) spreads it’s a fragrance to all around

Could we all spread the fragrance of our words/actions to those around us?

The mixture of almonds,saffron and elaichi

When they come together create a wonder!

There is no strength in separation

If we all come together, we blossom like a garden of flowers)

Yawar Abdal

Using the celebrated words of legendary poets—Mirza Ghalib, Mahjoor, and Amir Khusrow, this fresh-faced folksinger from Kashmir sings love and harmony.

He shot to fame in 2017, the year he released his first single, Tamanna on YouTube. The song drawn from the poetry of three poets became an instant hit.

With the fusion of Urdu, Persian and Kashmiri, Yawar is creating a different genre of music which, many say, is likely to become a cult in future.

Winit Tickoo

Have you ever found the home in music? If no, then wait till you listen Winit Tickoo.

Winit is a Kashmiri who is currently based in Mumbai. He and his music are devoted to Kashmir. “I’m keener to reach out to my people and I want to write for them first, then everybody else,” he said in an interview.

Winit has his own beautiful way of music where he mixes Sufi with Rock.

Ali Saffudin

Ali Saffudin is the name of a musician who has used his music as his weapon and way to show the angst and despair.

Growing up in a situation when the valley was going through pain and blood, Ali found an escape for his emotions through his musical expression.


The band infused with Urdu and Kashmiri poetry was formed in 2010, when the lead vocalists, Kahlid Ahamed and Mir Kashif Iqbal, the Srinagar-natives, came together after realising their love and passion for Sufi music.

There’s yearning for home in their songs—depicting home, peace and soothing. The band has performed widely and is deeply loved.

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