‘It feels good’: Kashmir folk singer’s rise from dusty street to music star

Noor Mohammad Shah had always happily lived a life of obscurity. Born in a small village in the conflict-ridden state of Kashmir in India, Shah had been introduced to the mystical world of Sufi music as a child and for decades since had made a meagre but fulfilling living singing traditional songs and performing on his rabab, a lute-like music instrument, at weddings and village festivals.

Yet it was a chance encounter between Shah and a group of young men, who happened to pass by as the god-fearing musician was playing his instrument on a dusty street corner, that would propel him into becoming one of Kashmir’s most famous modern rabab musicians.

That day, the men asked Shah to perform for them, and as he leaned against a car wheel and began to sing, in his raw and soft voice, a traditional Sufi song of lost love and cups of wine, one of the group filmed it on their phone and uploaded it to YouTube.

Read more