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Coke Studio made a Kashmiri Rebel an Sensation

The music of Pakistan is an amalgamation of diverse elements from different regions – South Asia, Central Asia, Middle East and indeed the influence of contemporary Western music in our increasingly globalized world.

Coke Studio since its inception has delved into this rich history and created a unique form of fusion, a fusion that transcends borders and embeds itself in our consciousness with the depth and richness of its harmony. To commemorate Coke Studio’s decade long journey, the producers, Zohaib Kazi and Ali Hamza, initiated a laudable venture, called Coke Studio Explorer. This segment not only delivers soul-stirring music, but also communicates moving stories. This addition to the regular Coke Studio showcases explores and celebrates untapped talent and unheard voices from the vast cultural and musical repertoire of Pakistan. The series will feature five sets of musicians from different regions.

Coke Studio’s Explorer is already a hit with in the country. Songs like Pareek, Naseebya and Faqeera are already internet sensation. Recently, Coke Studio Explorer has released another song, ‘Ha Gulo’ along with its backstory video on its official YouTube Channel.  A rendition of the famous song Ha Gulo, by Kashmiri poet Ghulam Ahmad Mahjoor, sung by Altaf Ahmad Mir’s band Qasmir which helped Mir shoot to fame. The song has become the first Kashmiri song to make it to Coke Studio Pakistan. Mir leads the band called ‘Qasamir’. He has been associated with Radio Pakistan as a broadcaster for several years. He is currently a master craftsman of Kashmiri crafts.

Altaf Ahmad Mir was only 22 years old when he left his home in Anantnag in Indian Occupied Kashmir. He crossed the border into Pakistan to become a rebel to fight against Indian atrocities in his home. That was in 1990. Now, 28 years later, Mir’s voice has preceded him back to Kashmir. Altaf Ahmad Mir chose Muzaffarabad as his home in Pakistan and began working with an NGO where boys were taught chain stitching.

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It was in Muzaffarabad that Mir set up his band, Qasamir. When Coke Studio Explorer began hunting for fresh talent in Pakistan, Mir found the break he had been waiting for.

Mir’s brother Javeed Ahmad said, “He was an expert chain stitch artisan. He was inclined towards music from childhood”.  Over the past 28 years, Mir’s family has tried their best to see their son return home to Kashmir. But that was not possible. For Mir’s brother though, his newfound fame is almost as if he has returned home. Here is the song.

Altaf Mir’s emotion-packed vocals are anchored by the gentle Sarangi, the pulsating Tumbaknaer and the iconic Garha. An effortless mix of traditional and electronic, get ready to groove to this song.Mir is the main vocalist, Ghulam Muhammad Dar will play the Sarangi, the traditional Tumbaknari will be played by Saifuddin Shah and the Garha will be played by Manzoor Ahmad Khan.


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