Garima Sudhan visits legendary Kashmiri singer and musician Ghulam Nabi Doolwal’s native Kishtwar to unearth his journey and transformation into Janbaaz Kishtwari. The result is an informative essay and travelogue that intimates readers with Doolwal’s legacy as a singer, musician, poet and writer—in a piece that reflects on his enduring impact on his Kishtwar, a place that remembers him all too fondly. While focused on unravelling the personal history that created the public figure of Doolwal as Janbaaz Kishtwari, Sudhan’s essay sheds light on a collective history—set in motion by his musical stature—that the writer gathers here by taking us on an excursion through his place of residence. The memorial-as-essay is interlaced with quotes from several interviews conducted by Garima, and aimed at explaining Ghulam Nabi Doolwal’s importance and significance in the lives of those who knew him and heard him sing. While shedding light on his musical work with the Chalant, the Ghazal, and the Naat, Garima Sudhan pays equal attention to his work as a writer and a poet, and as a teacher and champion of Kashmiri music.
MUSIC FEATURE: A Song by Kristina Jacobsen Inspired by Ather Zia’s Poem “i. will. cross.” + Exclusive Interview with the Two Professors
In a rare and unprecedented instance, two professors from two different cultures meet at the crossroads of verse and song to produce a creative collaboration around the themes of Indigeneity, marginality, war, colonization, and erasure. The result is an adaptation of Professor Ather Zia’s poem “i. will. cross.” into a song composed and performed by Professor Kristina Jacobsen. Along with Kristina Jacobsen’s song recording (mixed and mastered by Drake Hardin), we reproduce Ather Zia’s poem as well as a recorded recitation by the poet (republished from Sapiens via CC BY-ND 4.0), followed by an exclusive Q&A with the two professors and a list of relevant links for those interested in their extensive work.
As we come to the end of this difficult year and enter the new one, Inverse Journal has asked its contributors to participate in a collective piece where they share—with our readers and their fellow contributors—the one book and/or the one song that stayed with them throughout the year or during a considerable part of it. Below are entries from some of our contributors who responded to the online survey and shared their picks for this 2021 as it passes by. In a human world where catastrophe and devastation also wreak their havoc on meaning-making and signification, one imagines that books and songs are imbued with a restorative and restructuring power—with both operating within and outside of human time. It with this thought in mind that Inverse Journal presents a limited selection of such books and songs curated and picked by some of the same contributors who make this space possible.
Star Argentine pianist Martha Argerich performs Prokofiev’s third piano concerto with the French Radio Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of conductor Myung-Whun Chung. Also on the programme is Prokofiev’s Ballet Suites from Romeo and Juliet.
Kashmir Music Live reviews SXR’s long-awaited album titled Shalakh. The review includes commentary on many of the songs featured on the album, with discussions on the stylistic and thematic elements that shape this major release by the Kashmiri Hip Hop artist.
Kashmir Music Live (KML) returns to Inverse Journal with a long due review of one of the most lyrically dynamic and musically diverse songs from the corpus of Kashmiri Hip Hop. Here is KML’s review of the song “Safarnama” by emerging Kashmiri Hip Hop artist Qafilah.
In this extensive interview, Zeeshaan Nabi—vocalist and multi-instrumentalist for the band Ramooz—discusses his latest solo release (Almeeshaan), his work as an independent musician and the virtues and struggles of working as an artist in the emerging contemporary Kashmiri music scene. Nabi further elaborates on his creative process, the subject-matter that shapes his music, and his varying roles as a solo artist, founding band member, studio producer, teacher, and musician driven by the need to constantly experiment and innovate in his evolving artistic practice. Accompanied by a variety of photographs, videos and media, this interview, a first of its kind, is the result of 22 questions emailed to the artist. It represents the dedicated standard at which Inverse Journal wishes to engage with the work of artists, creatives, and academics from multiple fields and backgrounds.
Revisiting PSYCHO (Prod.by Prophecy – SOS ft. SXR & Imaad) — A Kashmiri Hip Hop Review by Amjad Majid
Exactly one year after its release, Amjad Majid revisits one of the most iconic songs from Kashmiri Hip Hop, with a music video that gathered some of the primary figures and the younger generations who developed and expanded the genre, and continue to do so to this very day.
On a symbolic date such as this one, Kashmir Music Live and Amjad Majid present their review of Ahmer’s “Inqalab” EP that arrived in the aftermath of August 5, 2019—as a creative and artistic response to the conditions imposed on an entire Kashmiri population. In rebelling against the unmaking of a specific history, this timely musical release made a history of its own. In this joint review, Kashmir Music Live and Majid revisit the EP and discuss how that happened and the place that this singular musical work holds in the world of contemporary Kashmiri music.
Amjad Majid presents three live performances by Kashmiri music collective Gaekhir Republik that rescue the soul from the constructed time imposed on a subject confined to an equally constructed space, far removed from the Kashmir whose memory we struggle to keep palpitant. In the process, Majid addresses larger questions regarding contemporary Kashmiri music, locating Gaekhir Republik’s performances and musical style within developing notions of such music that this young generation of musicians is shaping along with their peers in the nascent contemporary Kashmiri music scene.
Ali Saffudin brings us his latest installment—three lakefront songs performed and recorded live on the shores of Srinagar’s most visited water body.
After the release of his album (Shalakh) and the music video for the title track by the same name, SXR returns with the music video for Faasley, the fourth track from this latest collection of songs. Faasley is an emotionally charged Hip Hop ballad delivered as a solemn ode to remembrance in the face of estrangement, separation, distance, and loss.
Earlier this year, an Instagram channel called “Kashmir Music Live” catapulted itself onto the contemporary Kashmiri music scene with original and unprecedented commentary and critiques on new music releases. KML identifies itself as “documenting Koshur music” and sets its purpose “to create a community of people in Kashmir that are passionate about music and are willing to give the musicians the credit they deserve.” Here, Kashmir Music Live presents its top 10 tracks of 2020 from the contemporary Kashmiri music scene with commentary on each of the 10 songs.
The Values of Independent Hip-Hop in the Post-Golden Era: Hip-Hop’s Rebels (2019, Palgrave Macmillan) — by Christopher Vito
Utilizing a mixed-methods approach, this book uncovers the historical trajectory of U.S. independent hip-hop in the post-golden era, seeking to understand its complex relationship to mainstream hip-hop culture and U.S. culture more generally. Christopher Vito analyzes the lyrics of indie hip-hop albums from 2000-2013 to uncover the dominant ideologies of independent artists regarding race, class, gender, sexual orientation, and social change. These analyses inform interviews with members of the indie hip-hop community to explore the meanings that they associate with the culture today, how technological and media changes impact the boundaries between independent and major, and whether and how this shapes their engagement with oppositional consciousness. Ultimately, this book aims to understand the complex and contradictory cultural politics of independent hip-hop in the contemporary age.