Srinagar: Folk singer Noor Mohammad Shah would once sing door-to-door and at Sufi shrines of Kashmir valley. Later, he became a household name in Kashmir after one of his videos became viral on YouTube.
As his popularity grew, Shah started to feature in music videos and became a social media star. His interviews would appear in both print and electronic media and Shah was also regularly invited to government and private functions.
However, due to successive lockdowns, Shah can now again be found singing door-to-door as he says he was unable to find much work of late.
“Thank God! I had become very popular and was doing a lot of work some time back. I was invited to programmes on television and also other government and private functions. But, of late I did not get much work. Now, I sometimes go to houses randomly like before where I sing a song or two. As I had a lot of work before, I had stopped singing like this but for the sake of ‘nafs’, I have to do this,” Shah told The Kashmir Monitor.
He said he was hopeful that he will get work again after the easing of Covid lockdown. “Now, things are looking better than before and I am hopeful I will get opportunities to perform like before,” he said.
Shah, who hails from Handwara in Kupwara district, said he will continue to perform Sufi songs only and play ‘rabab’ – a traditional musical instrument.
“I started singing as a child. I had once sung at the house of a Sufi saint in my village. When people heard me, they said there is ‘roohaniyat’ (spirituality) in my voice and that is when I decided to become a singer. I later started playing rabab for the troupe of folk singer GM Shah. I have gone through tough times before too but I will not stop singing. Sufi music is divine and I sing for God. I will continue to sing Sufi songs in my style,” he said.
Incidentally, several artists’ groups in the recent past have urged the government to release an economic package in their favor as they had been left with no work due to the Covid lockdown.