Kasmir’s greatest Sufi Singer Remembered

Kashmiri singers and musicians will play a tribute concert to the memory of Kashmir’s greatest Sufi singer at his Srinagar on March 24th.

Padnma Shree Ghulam Mohammad Saznawaz, who died last month at 73, was considered Kashmir’s last living master of Kashmiri Sufiyana music, a classical genre steeped in Sufi mysticism. He was Kashmir’s only Panjhatheyari, a musician who had mastered all five instruments in the Sufiyana orchestra: the tabla, saz-e-Kashmir, santoor, sitar and madham. He attained a level of mastery that few musicians of his calibre – if any – could achieve, Saznawaz’s admirers said.ghulam saznawaz

Saznawaz was a recipient of the Padma Shree– India’s fourth-highest civilian award for contributions to the arts, science and other fields– as well as other awards. He died of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) at Shri Maharaja Hari Singh Hospital in Srinagar on February 13th.

For 35 years, Ghulam Mohammad Saznawaz worked as a staff artist at the All India Radio station in Srinagar. In 2011, he founded the Saznawaz Sufiyana Training Institute, which offers budding musicians free tutelage.

“His remarkable service to Sufi music will be remembered for a long time. He was a music legend and it is almost impossible to fill the vacuum he left behind,” popular Sufi singer Qaiser Nizami told local media.

“The death of the maestro is a great loss to Sufi music in Kashmir. His contribution would be remembered for a long time,” said Khalid Bashir Ahmed, secretary of the Jammu and Kashmir Academy of Arts, Culture and Languages.

Born in Srinagar’s Dana Mazar area on August 1st, 1940, Saznawaz learned to play Sufiana music from his father, Mohammad Ramzan Saznawaz, an ustaad (master) who in turn, had been taught by his own father and uncles who were ustaads as well, according to local media.

Like his father, grandfather and granduncles, Saznawaz was revered as an ustaad, but he eschewed the honorific, according to his grandson Kaiser Mustaq Saznawaz. “He was down-to-earth in nature and would often request his students not call him ustaad but just address him by name,” Kaiser.

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Posted by on March 19, 2014. Filed under Breaking News,Kashmir,Music. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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