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Tribute to our music creators | Art & Culture


Two Pakistani singers, Zarsanga and Sain Zahoor, have been nominated for this year’s Aga Khan Music Awards. A grand ceremony will take place in Oman by the end of October where the winners will share a $500,000 prize as well as professional development opportunities.

The Aga Khan Award for Architecture is much better known in the Muslim world than the Music Award. The Music Award, a triennial event, was instituted in 2018. It recognizes outstanding music creativity, promise and entrepreneurship in societies around the world where Muslims have a significant presence. These opportunities include commissions for the creation of new works; recording and artist management contracts; support for pilot education initiatives; and technical or curatorial advice for music archiving, preservation and dissemination projects.

The Indian and Afghan recipients of the award are known and it can be concluded that the others must also have made solid contributions to earn their place on the list. However, their contributions to music and the reference used by the Aga Khan Award Committee are not known.

“The Aga Khan Music Awards reflect His Highness the Aga Khan’s belief that music can serve as a cultural anchor, deepening a sense of community, identity and heritage while simultaneously reaching people in powerful ways. from diverse backgrounds. In naming the winners, the jury expressed its desire to support as many outstanding nominees as possible from the geographically and culturally diverse pool of nearly 400 nominations at a time when musicians and music educators are in dire need. While contributing to the preservation and continued development of musical heritage, many winners rely on the power of music to raise awareness of social and environmental issues,” reads a press release.

The Pakistani winners of the Aga Khan Music Awards 2022 are Zarsanga and Sain Zahoor. Zarsanga, a singer from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, is known as the queen of Pashtun folklore for her career-long devotion to the orally transmitted traditional music of the Pashtun tribes. She belongs to a nomadic tribe called Kutanree. The Kutan people roam the Pashtun regions of Punjab and Sindh. Some of them travel to Afghanistan and stay there in the summer and return to Punjab and Sindh in the winter. Some of Zarsanga’s most famous numbers are: Da Bangriwal Pa Choli Ma Za (his first song on the radio), Zma Da Khro Jamo Yara, Rasha Mama Zwi From, Zma Da Ghrono Pana Yara and Kht Me Zanzéri De.

Sain Zahoor is a Punjabi musician who has always practiced the chanting of Sufi poetry at shrines and festivals. Its song is often accompanied by an ecstatic dance. Recently he collapsed while performing in Britain. However, he is better now and on the road to recovery.

Zarsanga, a singer from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, is known as the queen of Pashtun folklore for her career-long devotion to the orally transmitted traditional music of the Pashtun tribes. She belongs to a nomadic tribe called Kutanree. Kutan tribes roam the Pashtun region of Punjab and Sindh.

From India, Zakir Hussain has been nominated for a special lifetime achievement award in recognition of his highly visible model of enlightened cross-cultural musicality which has elevated the status of picture both in India and around the world through countless artistic collaborations, concert tours, commissions, recordings and film scores. Dilshad Khan, tenth generation sarangi player of a hereditary lineage from Rajasthan expands the language of sarangi in film music and through innovative cross-cultural collaborative projects. Asin Khan Langa, a sarangi player, singer, composer and community activist from the hereditary Langa musical community of Rajasthan, performer of Sufi poetry, on traditional and newly composed melodies.

Daud Khan Sadozai of Afghanistan is one of the leading representatives of the Afghan rubab for a major impact on the preservation, development and dissemination of Afghan music around the world.

From Iran, Golshan Ensemble, a four-woman group that performs traditional Iranian music with a contemporary sound, was nominated.

Seyyed Mohammad Musavi and Mahoor Institute are also Iranian. The latter is the founder and longtime director of the Mahoor Institute of Culture and Arts. He is well known for his seminal contributions to the development of Iranian music and musicology. Yasamin Shah Hosseini, also from Iran, is a leading young master of the ‘oud who reinvents the place of this instrument in Iranian music through his innovative compositions and improvisations.

Zulkifli and Bur’am are from Indonesia. They were honored for revitalizing Acehnese song traditions. Peni Candra Rini, composer, improviser, singer and educator, is also from Indonesia. He was selected for his knowledge of traditional Indonesian performing arts.

Soumik Datta was nominated for Great Britain. He is a sarod player who fuses classical Hindustani music with pop, rock, electro and movie soundtracks to raise awareness of pressing social issues including climate change, refugees and mental health.

The other laureates are: Coumbane Mint Ely Warakane from Mauritania, Yahya Hussein Abdallah from Tanzania and Afel Bocoum from Mali.

The main jury of the Aga Khan Music Awards also named Musallam al-Kathiry the winner of a special award for excellence in the service of Omani musical heritage. He is a music researcher, artistic director, performer and composer from Muscat, Sultanate of Oman, and has made significant contributions to the collection, documentation, preservation and dissemination of Omani music.

The main jury that selected the winners consisted of six eminent arts professionals from Azerbaijan, Bahrain, India, Turkey, Tunisia and the United States: HE Shaikha Hala Bint Mohammed Al Khalifa, Franghiz Ali-Zadeh , Divya Bhatia, Rachel Cooper, Yurdal Tokcan and Dafer Youssef.

The writer is a cultural critic based in Lahore.