PESHAWAR: Noted musician and singer Mutrib Mashukhel has established an academy for teaching intricacies of rabab playing at Achini Chowk on Ring Road in Peshawar to save the oldest musical instrument from being extinct.
Irfan Khalil, a local leader of ANP, performed the launching ceremony of the academy. Music lovers and locals attended the event.
Mr Mashukhel had opened a rabab academy on Nasir Bagh Road in 2002 where he used to train young students but had to close it down due to some unfavouable conditions.
Addressing the gathering, Mr Khalil said that his party had great regard for music, art and literature and wanted to safeguard traditional musical instruments including rabab. He said that Pakhtuns could not think of hujra without rabab.
“The new rabab academy in the area will help young aspirants to learn the king instrument (Rabab) and will also safeguard traditional Pashto music,” said Mr Khalil. He said that rabab had become their cultural identity.
Marwan Geetu, a student of arts and design department at University of Peshawar, told this scribe that he loved traditional Pashto music and had wished since long to formally learn rabab playing.
He said that he and his three colleagues had already taken admissions with Mutrib Ustad. “A rababist, poet and folk singer, Mutrib Ustad is the best choice. I hope I will learn rabab to safeguard a tradition,” he added.
Mutrib Mashukhel, 67, a popular rabab maestro and poet, said that he had played rabab for over five decades but regretted that young generation had little knowledge about the value of their indigenous culture and music.
“I am compelled to launch Pakhtun Rabab Academy in the city to save the oldest musical instrument from being extinct as now-a-days people depend mostly on electronic musical instruments. I will impart training to all those, who wish to learn this wonderful string instrument,” he added.
Mr Mashukhel said that several young students had approached him a few months ago to transfer his skill of rabab playing to them at a proper place.
He said that he would charge Rs500 fee per month from well off students and may increase it, depending on their taste and frequency.
The musician said that formal classes at the academy would be launched from next week.
“If I find that a student cannot afford my fee, he may attend my teaching session without paying any fee but punctuality and frequency cannot be comprised. I have groomed up around 200 rabab players informally in different times,” he added.
In addition to a seasoned instrumentalist, Mr Mashukhel is also a poet and had published his first Pashto poetry titled ‘Lal Pa Eero Kay’ (A pearl in the ash) 10 years ago.
He said that music and poetry were inseparable and he had been born with both. “I don’t need any support except public appreciation. Rabab can never die if locals continue loving traditional Pashto music,” he added.
Later, the rabab maestro played some fine tunes and sang ghazals of Rahman Baba, Hamza Baba, Khatir Afridi and a few of his own poems in his velvety voice. Nazeer Ustad, a mangey (pitcher) player, accompanied him for quite some time. -DN
BY SHER ALAM SHINWARI
THE PASHTUN TIMES