Young Afghan rabab player wants folk music preserved for posterity

Published June 27, 2022
Young Afghan artist Mohammad Abbas Hairat practices at a music studio in Peshawar. — Dawn
Young Afghan artist Mohammad Abbas Hairat practices at a music studio in Peshawar. — Dawn

PESHAWARR: Mohammad Abbas Hairat, a young Afghan rabab player, has said that Pashto folk music should be preserved for future generations as it reflects aspirations of the Afghan people.

He told this scribe said that rabab being integral part of typical Pashto music orchestra should be preserved against onslaught of digital musical appliances. He said that he migrated to Pakistan along with his father about two months ago to formally launch his music career and resume studies.

Abbas Hairat, 10, has learnt playing the most difficult string instrument rabab and can play 20 to 30 popular folk tunes. He said that he learnt basics of rabab playing from his grandfather Kameen Gul Ustad when he was six-year-old.

He said that he went to a private school in Jalalabad when Kabul was taken over in August last year by the hardliners, who banned music and made life miserable for artists.

10-year-old Abbas migrated to Pakistan two months ago along with his father

“My father, a saxophone player, wanted to rejoin his music group with whom he had been affiliated since long. I too accompanied him, leaving behind all our family members as they did not have valid travelling documents,” said the young artist.

He left everyone struck with wonder when he was invited to perform in a private musical concert in Nowshera district recently. The video of his performance soon went viral and he made a stunning debut.

“I have set two goals, first to complete my education alongside music performance and second to play cricket. I am desirous. We Afghans should preserve folk music for our coming generations because it is reflective of our national aspirations and dreams signifying our cultural identity,” said Abbas Hairat.

He said that his maiden performance encouraged him to perform in public which would enable him to fetch enough money to meet his education expenses at least.

Inspired by noted Afghan rabab player, Humayun Sakhi, he said that he too would earn name and fame in playing rabab. He said that senior Afghan folk singer Naghma gifted a beautiful rabab to him and soon he would dedicate a video featuring popular Pashto folk song tune ‘Larh Sha Nangarhar Ta’ to her.

About future plans, Abbas Hairat said that he was busy in recording a few video albums for the upcoming Eid.

Published in Dawn, June 27th, 2022

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