Ustad Noor Bakhsh

 Origins Series 

Ustad Noor Bakhsh by-Jan-Eric-Wendt-1365x2048
photo credit Jan Eric Wendt

Wednesday, September 25, 2024
The Sultan Room – 234 Starr Street, Brooklyn

Doors: 7 PM | Show: 8 PM

Tickets: Standing Advance: $25 | Seated Advance: $35 | Standing DOS: $30 | Seated DOS: $40

Member benefits apply

Member price – Standing Advance: $20 | Seated Advance: $28 | Standing DOS: $24 | Seated DOS: $32

Pakistan’s Ustad Noor Bakhsh is a master of the benju – a rare, keyed zither that’s unique to the Balochistan region of Pakistan. It’s a captivating, idiosyncratic instrument — based on an imported Japanese children’s toy, and electrified with a motorcycle battery — that Noor Bakhsh plays to devastating, virtuosic effect. A brilliant and soulful improvisor, Bakhsh’s marriage of melodic ornamentation and spare, electric grooves has been compared to Ali Farke Touré. and other West African guitar heroes. Noor Bakhsh’s repertoire is diverse and deep, reflecting Balochistan’s legacy as a centuries-old trading crossroads, drawing from Balochi folk songs, Persian and Arabic ghazals, South Asian ragas, Kurdish tunes, and his own experimental compositions.

Born into a nomadic family of pastoralists, and taught music by his father, Noor Bakhsh has been playing music since he was a child. Though he’s worked professionally as the accompanist of singer Sabzal Sami for decades, Noor Bakhsh came to the world’s attention as a soloist in 2022, at the age of 77 thanks to Pakistani anthropologist Daniyal Ahmed, who tracked Bakhsh down after watching him perform online. He persuaded him to record music and shoot new videos for the internet. The results went viral, paving the way for the release of Bakhsh’s 2022 debut solo album, Jingul; which Pitchfork praised as “the kind of music that leaves you grasping for the spiritual and indefinable, that burrows into your soul and glows there”.

The ORIGINS series features artists who delve into the folklore and roots of their respective culture’s music to tell the story of their origins, preserving and affirming cultural identities and legacies.

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