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Sain Zahoor


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The infamous attempts of the Taliban to eradicate music from the social and cultural landscape of Afghanisatan ended in happy failure, but their puritanical zeal still thrives in the region. All the more reason to celebrate the continued existence of various Pakistani and Afghani musical traditions which all owe their spiritual fire to the Sufi path of Islam.

Of these, the music of the qawwali is well known and documented throughout the world, but there is a more obscure breed of ‘street’ singers who still practise their art at the shrines and festivals of Pakistan and Northern India. Sain (or ‘Saeen’ or ‘Saiyan’) Zahoor is their king. Now aged 60, Zahoor started singing at the age of five. ‘I dreamt of a hand calling me to Baba Bulle Shah’s dargah (‘shrine’),’ he recalls. ‘There I met Ustad Sain Raunka Ali of Patiala. My first lessons in the Sufi kalams were under his guidance.’ The kalams are verses of poetry redolent with devotional love, which are sung with the passion and power needed to give listeners a chance of actually knowing the mystery of God. With his robes, beads, tightly bound turban and one string ektara lute, Saeen Zahoor delivers kalams by poets like Baba Bhulay Shah or Mian Muhammad Bakhsh, aka ‘The Rumi Of Kashmir’, with focused and flamboyant joy.


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  • lusbaba

    mee too! great! and please to meet you!

    20 Jun 2010 Reply
  • bella2607

    I am a great fan of Sain Zahoor and I love all of his music.

    1 Feb 2010 Reply

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