The Indian subcontinent has been blessed with a diverse and beautiful musical legacy. It has produced geniuses who left a lasting impression on the culture and traditions of the people living in this region and beyond. Writers and reformists like Kabir, Nanak, Meerabai and Amir Khusroe have penned some of the most enchanting verses of all time.
Whether Carnatic or Qawwali, classical music is truly magical — but it is hard to come by in this day and age. Fortunately, some music lovers have started reviving the legacy using new media so as to reach out to millennial fans.
So if you have an ear for traditional or folk music, follow these YouTube channels to catch the best of Indian and Pakistan tunes:
1. Kabir Project: Ajab Shahar
Inspired by the mystical poetry of Kabir, filmmaker Shabnam Virmani decided to explore his influence on the social, political and religious culture in different parts of India, promoting the folk artists who have been singing Kabir’s songs for decades.
Her YouTube channel also offers an insight into the philosophy and works of Kabir through conversations held with fellow thinkers. Check it out to delve deeper into Kabir’s mellifluous world.
2. Darbar Festival
Indian classical music has so much to offer but it’s takers have dwindled over time. However, an annual Indian classical music festival in London brings together renowned musicians and artists from Hindustani and Carnatic traditions.
The Darbar Festival YouTube channel has a bank of these performances that are viewed and loved by people both in India and overseas. Visit the channel to enjoy classical performances by the likes of Pandit Jasraj, Anoushka Shankar, and Shubha Mudgal.
3. The Dream Journey
You don’t have to look too far to connect with the Sufi and Qawwali culture. While you might have heard some twisted versions of Sufi and Qawwali through Bollywood music or rock concerts in India, for the true traditional experience check out The Dream Journey.
An initiative by young Qawwali-lovers of Pakistan, it documents the country’s best Qawwals as they travel through remote areas and revel in their music. This channel has received a lot of love from Indians too.
A group of seven Canadian-American musicians and singers led by Tahir Faridi Qawwal, Fanna-Fi-Allah shows that the love for Sufi and Qawwali crosses all boundaries and continents.
The group is founded by Tahir Faridi, who learned music from some of the most prominent Indian and Pakistani Qawwals. They now continue to perform in different parts of the world and bring people closer to this pure art form.
The contribution of these YouTube channels and groups towards our musical legacy is immense. Here’s hoping that more such channels emerge, and more young millennials encourage and support them.
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