New CD Features Kashmiri Folk Music

U.S.-based nonprofit Funkar International preserves and promotes Kashmiri folk arts, with a special focus on folk music. Its latest recording is “Maenzraath [Night of Henna]—Kashmiri Wedding Songs,” a collection including devotional songs, love songs and poetry.

CD cover, from 1941 Kashmiri marriage contract (

In keeping with the title, a number of the songs feature henna-themed lyrics like those of Track Number 8:

Make way for the henna bowl,
Let’s color our hands with henna
The night is full of desire
Henna is from the heavens

Recorded in Srinagar, Kashmir, and featuring singers Manzoor Shah, Gul Akhtar, Hasina Akhtar and Mahnaaz performing the kind of music often heard in the informal setting of a Kashmiri wedding, “Maenzraath” includes vanvun—somber supplications to God sung by women to bless and protect the couple—as well as more upbeat songs accompanied by tumbakhnaer (traditional Kashmiri drum).

Listen to audio samples, see pictures of the recording session, and browse through the CD booklet online, where it is available for purchase.

April 25, 2007
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