• Sheikh Muhammad Yaqoob teaches Sufi music to Kashmiri Muslim girls.
  • Began teaching young Kashmiris in a bid to preserve the Sufi musical tradition of the picturesque Himalayan region.
  • Sheikh faced opposition from both neighbours and soldiers and had to move the classes to a new location four times.

 

Kashmiri Muslim girls play Sufi music under the tutelage of music teacher, Muhammad Yaqoob Sheikh, on the outskirts of Srinagar. (PARVAIZ BUKHARI / AFP)

 

Thousands of people in the Muslim-majority region follow Sufism, a mystical branch of Islam whose adherents seek spiritual communion through music and dance . The songs, which use the lyrics of old Kashmiri- and Persian-language devotional poetry, date back to the 15th century. But they have evolved as a uniquely male tradition, sung by men and handed down through the male line of the family. (PARVAIZ BUKHARI / AFP)

 

Sheikh began teaching young Kashmiris in a bid to preserve the Sufi musical tradition of the picturesque Himalayan region, which has been divided between India and Pakistan since partition but is claimed by both countries. (PARVAIZ BUKHARI / AFP)

 

Over the years, political tensions have eroded Indian Kashmir’s rich musical heritage. When an armed uprising against Indian rule broke out in 1989, public performances by artists suddenly stopped and cinema halls were closed and transformed into camps for government forces. (PARVAIZ BUKHARI / AFP)

 

On the Pakistan side of the border, Sufi music is thriving in the form known as Sufi Rock, in which the original lyrics are sung to electric guitar tracks and traditional tabla beats. The form has seen a recent revival with the advent of Coke Studio, a television show which features live music performances. (PARVAIZ BUKHARI / AFP)

 

Kashmiri Muslim girls play instruments and sing Sufi music under the tutelage of music teacher, Muhammad Yaqoob Sheikh, on the outskirts of Srinagar. (PARVAIZ BUKHARI / AFP)

 

Sheikh faced opposition from both neighbours and soldiers and had to move the classes to a new location four times. Now he has trained nearly 50 Kashmiri women – although only a small minority continue to perform after marriage. (PARVAIZ BUKHARI / AFP)

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