Despite a lack of adequate representation in mainstream music and pop culture, there is no denying that our folk music and a wide array of musical instruments remain unrivaled in terms of their soulful and sufi-esque abilities.
Pakistani folk music or classical music, especially the kind that is played locally and not commercially can be quite breathtaking and since we have such a variety of regional languages, stories, and cultures, it just adds to the depth of our musical identities. The fusion of contemporary western culture and our own classic eastern vibes is no new phenomena, however, we’re about to discuss something that is literally one of a kind.
A new fusion musical instrument called the Shurtidaan! This unique eastern take on the classical guitar is the first of it’s kind and was invented by local musician Masood Alam. The instrument can be aptly described as a cross between a classic acoustic guitar and an Indian Sarod which is basically a cousin of the Sitar.
The new invention was showcased via a video on YouTube titled, “Shurtidaan| First Eastern Classical Guitar of Pakistan” and has garnered only positive reviews and comments as of now. The name of this unique instrument comes from two eastern classical musical terms, “Shurti” which means microtones and “Daan”, both combined make Shurtidaan an instrument that contains multiple microtones.
While it is frankly quite amazing that we are witnessing a sort of revival of original attempts to revive our musical scene, it would be incorrect to say that this is the first fusion instrument ever made. Others have ventured forth into the world of inventions, but not all have been successful or remembered.
To see a successful example, however, one need not venture beyond our own border where Grammy Award-winning musician, Vishwa Mohan Bhatt came up with the ingenious amalgamation of the Hawaiian guitar and the traditional Indian Veena to bring to this world, the Mohan Veena.
That being said, what’s so unique and beautiful about Pakistan’s newest instrument is the fact that all in all it is a very clear and simple one. While Alam is its creator, it has been molded and carved by Zafar Sahab and as per the YouTube video, Waseem Abbas has the honor of being the first musician to become a Shurtidaan player.
The first time you hear the sharp yet calming melody of the Shurtidaan you could almost mistake it for a sitar, however, once you listen to it you realize that there are additional deep undertones to the music which invite the listener to uncover the mystery behind this instrument.
During the video, the creators delve deeper into how the hybrid instrument was made and to the trained ear and music enthusiasts, this is simply the beginning as we are not yet aware of the infinite possibilities we can achieve with it.
Perhaps the best part about this new invention is that it represents a unique moment in history where our local talent is coming forward to show their skill and dedication to presenting their contribution to the country’s musical heritage.