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Kashmiri folk musician Aabha Hanjura showcases notes from her land

Updated on: 27 March,2023 07:28 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Sonia Lulla |

Kashmiri folk musician Aabha Hanjura on exploring the sounds reminiscent of North India synonymous with her childhood

Kashmiri folk musician Aabha Hanjura showcases notes from her land

Kashmiri folk musician Aabha Hanjura

Indian Idol 2 finalist Aabha Hanjura’s latest single marks the final one in her Sufistication album. After having already delivered acclaimed numbers like Sahibo in the acoustic and unplugged EP, the Kashmiri folk musician aspired to present “folk music from different parts” of India. “Having grown up in Jammu, I’ve been influenced by Dogri folk music, and wanted to explore the folk music of Himachal and Uttarakhand. Before the separation, there was one belt in the region, and that’s where the folklores trace back to.”

Speaking of her latest song, she says, “Hikduye gadbad is a happy and naughty song about a girl from the hills. It has a percussive yet soulful vibe, and we had a lot of fun shooting a colourful video for it. The songs have stories that correlate to the people who belong to the region.”

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She describes the music from the belt as one that’s “influenced by and derived from the ragas”. “String instruments play a big role in defining the sonic identity of music from this region. As you move from one place to another, there is a difference in the kind of music that you hear. The Kashmiri sarangi, which is different from the sarangi we usually hear, is dominant in Kashmir. The santoor covers a range of notes that define the softness synonymous with music of the mountains. Across Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Kashmir, music dominated by melody and soft percussive elements, is prominent.” 

Skilled at revisiting folk music, Hanjura says her strength lies in studying the song she is set to revisit. “If I am trying to do something new with something that exists and hasn’t been written by me, I have to [learn the song] completely. Artistes can make [folk music] relevant and fresh. In my case, I try to understand what a song is attempting to say, and then add my personality to it.”

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