Fuuse Mousiqi is delighted to announce the release of our first solo album by maestro sitar player Ashraf Sharif Khan Poonchwala.
South Asian classical music is a unique synthesis of Hindu and Muslim traditions. The expression of peace, devotion and love transcends distinctions of caste, creed, religion and language.
In Pakistan today, due to regressive and reactionary religious orthodoxy, modernization, apathy and lack of support for traditional classical music and its artists, it is becoming less and less viable for the keepers of this musical tradition to transmit the artform. Younger generations are discouraged from involving themselves in preserving and developing this tradition. Caught between the upheaval of globalised culture and the puritan anti-culturalism of religious fundamentalists, the rich and unique heritage of traditional music in Pakistan is in danger of extinction. This tragic loss is exacerbated by the disreputable status of music as a vocation in Pakistani society.
Ashraf Sharif Khan Poonchwala, son of legendary musical genius Ustad Sharif Khan Poonchwala, belongs to generations of exceptional musicians who have cherished the musical traditions of Pakistan and understood the significance of keeping this music alive. He is among the last of the remaining Pakistani maestros. With rigorous dedication to his art and a bountiful combination of discipline and creativity which forms the bedrock of transcendent musicianship, he is carrying the classical music traditions of Pakistan into the future.
Produced by Norwegian/Pakistani artist, music and filmmaker Deeyah, ‘Echoes of Indus’ by Ashraf Sharif Khan Poonchwala is the debut release from FUUSE MOUSIQI’s Traditional Music Heritage Album Series.
“Although threatened by conflict and chaos in society, music provides an expression of hope, and identity. Being a lifelong devotee and practitioner of this music, it is with great humility I pay my respects and honour the heritage of my forebearers through recording their art and songs to preserve and share their gift of music with new generations, so it will not be lost forever.” Deeyah explains and continues:
“Music can bridge the gulfs of segregation and fear. Music is a resonance that vibrates through our entire being. Music is the language of the soul, of the specific and the universal, of longing, of prayer, of identity and of home. Music has the ability to unify people, cultivating harmony not just within its own structures and forms, but also between the artist and the audience and those who listen and become unified in the rhythms and melodies. Music becomes a direct connection shared between everyone, secular and devout.”
Ashraf Sharif Khan Poonchwala’s Echoes Of Indus is released in late June 2013.
Artist: Ashraf Sharif Khan Poonchwala
(Sitar: Ashraf Sharif Khan Poonchwala. Tabla: Shahbaz Hussain)
Album: Echoes of Indus
Released by: Fuuse Mousiqi
Produced by: Deeyah
Ashraf Sharif Khan Poonchwala
Ashraf Sharif Khan Poonchwala is the worthy son of Pakistani Sitar maestro Ustad Muhammad Sharif Khan Poonchwala from the revered Poonch Gharana musical lineage. Ashraf was a child prodigy, whose immense talent in playing the sitar was first acknowledged by the response to a wondrous performance in Pakistan at the age of ten. After that, while continuing his studies with his father, he began to tour and perform, eventually receiving accolades such as the Khwaja-Khurshid-Anwar Award and the Hazrat-Amir-Khusro Award. Ashraf ‘s music combines an astounding technical proficiency with perfection in musical expression. The melodic beauty of his style, accentuated by his dynamic rhythmic development and the virtuoso technique create a unique style of his own. His music transcends regional boundaries, and is accessible to all.
“I believe music is the perfect expression of feeling,” Ashraf says. “In South Asian music, each musical mode, or “raag”, embodies a particular mood, a time of day, a season of the year. With each performance, my goal is to use the music and my instrument to capture the feeling which is in my heart and give it to the audience, so that they too can feel what I am feeling. When I am successful in this, the music seems to have a life of its own, and I am moved by it, just as I hope the listeners are.”
The tradition is fading in our cacaphonous times. Ashraf is one of the last remaining generations who received, practiced, performed and lived the intensely disciplined and musically vast artform of South Asian Classical Music passed from century to century. His playing grants us a connection to what was and will hopefully remain for generations to come, an ever-present resonance from the soil of Indus.
Fuuse is a social-purpose film, music and arts company, created by Norwegian/Pakistani film and music maker Deeyah. It is comprised of Fuuse Mousiqi, Fuuse Films and Fuuse Live. Fuuse embodies Deeyah’s mission and passion for supporting human rights through combining art, digital media and activism.
Fuuse creates projects that encourage engagement through art and culture in order to foster greater understanding and respect for each other as individuals and members of cultural groups.
For more info visit: www.fuuse.net and www.deeyah.com/about-deeyah/