Home Wedding songs “A Breath of Fresh Air”: Meet Noor Mohammad Bhat, whose soothing santur...

“A Breath of Fresh Air”: Meet Noor Mohammad Bhat, whose soothing santur ragas replace folk songs at Kashmiri weddings


Have you ever attended a wedding in Kashmir and savored “wazwaan” against the backdrop of a “santoor” show? If the answer is no, then give Noor Mohammad Bhat aka “Sahil Santoor” a chance to perform at the next wedding in your home.

While his performance will surely double the flavor of wazwaan, many locals now prefer Sahil santoor to traditional folk music, especially during “baraat” and “nikah” ceremonies.

His performance, mainly at large weddings celebrated in large wedding halls, where he sings sweet tunes of Kashmiri and Bollywood folk songs in addition to Indian classical music, leaves the guests spellbound.

Sahil said he came up with the idea of ​​introducing santoor into Kashmir weddings after people complained that the new musicians were too loud.

“Today some new bands are playing at weddings and traditional bands are also using loudspeakers. Sometimes I would hear customers complaining that the music was good but too loud. Sometimes neighbors also complained and others thought traditional music was only good for “mehndi raat”. Therefore, I got the idea to play only Santoor and so far the response has been overwhelming, ”Sahil told the Kashmir Monitor.

He said he has been playing santour at weddings for four years now.

“Although I have been playing santoor for about eight years, I started playing at weddings four years ago. With each passing year, I gain more acceptance. This season, I have participated in about ten weddings, mainly baraat and nikah ceremonies, and I am also invited to VIP receptions, ”he said.

Sahil, who resides in Batpora near Gopalpora in Budgam District, said he was first introduced to Sufiyana music by Ustad Mohammad Ismail Bhat and is now pursuing a performing arts degree at the University of Kashmir (KU).

“I first learned to play ‘Saaz-e-Kashmir’, which is played during Sufiyana music, in the Sufiyana classes of Ustad Mohammad Ismail Bhat. I was also introduced to Santoor there, but now I am learning from my mentor Adil Tibetbakal at KU where I am pursuing a Performing Arts degree with a specialization in ‘Santoor Indian Classical’. Fortunately, I received good support from my parents as my father also played ‘shahnai’, ”he said.

Adil Bhat, a guest who heard Sahil’s performance at a recent wedding, said his tunes were “like a breath of fresh air”.

“I love Kashmiri music and we were all blown away by Sahil’s performance at a ‘baraat’. It was so calming and like a breath of fresh air. We had never seen a santo show at a wedding and were happy to know that it was becoming popular. Although I still think our folk music is suitable for “meanz raat” ceremonies, we should try Sahil Santoor at a “baraat” function or a large nikah ceremony attended by a large number of guests in addition to the married, ”Bhat told the Kashmir Monitor.

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