Saturday, February 20, 2016

Raag Yaman Kalyan - Ustad Gulab Afridi on Rabab

Our musical journey in 2015 also took us to Peshawar in the hunt for a rabab player. Six of us with a common love for the sound of strings set of on a cold winter morning from Islamabad with a car packed with cameras and sound recording equipment and major plans. However we were to first stop for a delicious lunch of chapli kebabs and pulao at Khyber bazar and then proceed to meet up with the understated Ustad Gulab Afridi. After all serious listening requires that there be no distractions of pangs of hunger.

Young Gulab is a pretty well known Pakistani musician. In fact he is a leading Rabab player and very popular in circles that care for the instrument. Gulab has earlier performed in several music videos including at Coke Studio as well is in high demand with local listeners and practitioners.

Ustad Gulab Afridi with Murad Afridi on tabla
Video credit: Mahera Omar
The Dream Journey sessions

As you will note in the video above his playing was beautifully sensitive and reflects a maturity often found with years of practice and a patience that comes with age. There appears no rush to try to impress and blow away the listener and to my ears that creates an even larger impact. He is accompanied on the tabla by his capable cousin Murad Afridi who helps to perfectly complete the team to two.

Listening to them in their hujra at their home in Peshawar in such an intimate setting made the experience extra special.

Ustad Gulab Afridi coaches students around the world on Skype

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