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Bhajan Sopori

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Biography

Bhajan Sopori (born 1948 in Srinagar, Kashmir) is an instrumentalist. He is a player of , an ancient stringed musical instrument.

Sopori hails from Sopore in Kashmir Valley and traces his lineage to ancient Santoor experts. He belongs to the Sufiana gharana of Indian classical music. His family has played santoor for over six generations. His first public performance was at a conference organised by Prayag Sangeet Samiti & the University of Allahabad when he was 10 years old. Sopori’s son Abhay Rustum Sopori is also a santoor player. Both father and son have given several performances together.

Pandit Bhajan Sopori has taught music at Washington University, US. His performances have been broadcast in India and seen by both cultural associations there and by audiences in countries such as Belgium, Egypt, England, Germany, Norway, Syria and the USA. Pandit Sopori, considered as the cultural link between Jammu and Kashmir and rest of India, also runs a music academy called SaMaPa (Sopori Academy for Music and Performing Arts), which is actively involved in promoting Indian classical music. SaMaPa is involved in promoting music with jail inmates, with the objective of using music for healing the prisoners and creating an emotional bond between the society & the prisoners. The academy has trained several musicians and revived old instruments. It was presented the state government dogri award in 2011.

Sopori was awarded the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 1993 and the Padma Shri in 2004. In 2009 he was honoured with the Baba Allaudin Khan Award. He was also awarded the M N Mathur award in 2011 for his contribution to Indian classical music.

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