Radio Mirchi’s ‘Corridor 983’: Playing the iconic Turkish March on Santoor

Srinagar: As part of the ‘Corridor 983’ series to promote Kashmiri musicians, Radio Mirchi (RM) 98.3 FM on Saturday premiered another musical composition: iconic Turkish march blended with Snow. The video featured Umer Majeed, a Santoor player and Furqaan Baba beating the Kashmiri pitcher (Not).

Baba’s band F₹K with his members Iqbal Shah and Numan Baba were featured in the first episode of the series while Umer has hit the platform for the first time.

Umer, a 19 year-old 12th standard student of Government Boys Higher Secondary School, Mujgund has grown up listening to his father Abdul Majeed Malla playing Santoor. “He has taught me how to play it,” he says adding “But he wants me to complete my studies before making it big.”

However, Umer’s passion for music kept growing and he would be approached by people to play Santoor. In September 2013, he played Santoor in Zubin Mehta’s (Indian-origin orchestral conductor and musical director) concert in Kashmir in September 2013.

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In 2017, his video of playing Pakistan’s National Anthem on Santoor went viral on the internet. Later, he would be seen playing a café’s which lead him to RM’s Corridor 983.

“I once played at Winterfell Café. Kamran Sir there had given my number to Anees Sir from RM. They called me to the office recently,” he recalls.

Anees Zargar, Programmer at RM had suggested him to play a fusion of Turkish March and Snow. “I had the theme of God Father, Game of Thrones and many other instrumentals to present. Anees Sir asked me to play Turkish March on Santoor,” says Majeed.

The Turkish march has originally been written by a classical composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Majeed says he had no clue of what it was however, he had heard the name, Mozart. “When I searched the internet, I found that the Turkish March is only played on the keyboard. This is for the first time that it was going to be played on Santoor with the fusion of Matka (pitcher),” he says.

For two months, he says, he dedicated all his time practicing the Turkish March on Santoor. He, however, still thinks it has a scope for betterment.

“Santoor and guitar would not have been the best choice. Not (pitcher) brings in a traditional touch,” he adds.

The session with RM had raised his hopes. “The platform is different. I am more confident about playing music. After I finish my studies, I will focus on my music,” he says.

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Asked if his association with Zubin Mehta concert and playing Pakistan’s National Anthem in Kashmir has raised any fingers on him, he says, “Artists are free. It was my work, my passion. I cannot be associated with anything based on what I perform.”

He hopes to inspire more youth from Kashmir by playing a fusion of any music on Kashmiri traditional instruments.

“Playing different music on traditional instruments will bring the young generation closer to their roots. The way Game of Thrones instrumental was appreciated only suggests that we need to grab the attention of youth through what they like,” says Umer.

Next in line for Corridor 983 series are artists: Nargis Khatoon, Ambreen Hakani and Harkishan Singh Sanam.

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