Last surviving Sarangi player seeks to preserve dying art in Pakistan

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One language that unites people of all cultures is the reverberating sound of music. Be it a piano, a guitar, a violin or the beating of drums – the musical hums are a single language echoing emotion and stories without words.

In the historic city of Lahore, Pakistan, resides Zohaib Hassan, the country’s most prominent and probably the only surviving sarangi players.

Hassan belongs to the seventh generation in his family with mastery over the 300-year-old tradition of sarangi playing. The Amritsari household in India is the birth place of the instrument.

Losing popularity

Despite the sarangi’s unique and vibrant tunes, the tradition is losing its popularity. As a result, the tradition is dying out.

According to Hassan, the Amritsari house is a “worldwide famous sarangi house for the reason that we know the four finger technique.” He explains that not many are familiar with this technique due to its level of difficulty.

Hassan says that the three-finger technique is one that is used most commonly and around the world. He also explained that his elders have set different melodies, known as raags, which are played during certain times of the day.

Lack of competition

Hassan laments that lack of sarangi players in the country is leading to a lack of competition. “It’s such a pity that I have no competition in the country. A competition always increases your path of success.”

“Today, sarangi is a dying instrument. We need to save this art,” Hassan added.