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A video of the musical session with folk music artists in Hunza, a valley located in the mountains of the Karakoram in Pakistan. Please click “CC” for closed captioning and translation.

Last summer, Nosher Ali Khan (Harvard College ’23) traveled to Hunza, a valley within the mountains of Karakoram in Pakistan — a place where poetry and music have created a strong identity within its people. There, he met with folk music artists and listened to their music, developing a project to film their music and share it with the world.

“As a Hunzukutz myself, I was always aware of and fascinated by the enormous influence our music has in our daily life and how it shapes our identity,” said Khan. “I left Hunza when I was a kid. Music was the connection to my roots — it reminded me of my home in the Himalayas. So, this past summer I returned with a commitment to share the beauty and energy of our music with the world. I’m excited to share the first episode of our web-series “Khimor-e-Maraka,” documenting the Bazmi folk music of Hunza.”

The performance captures the energy of the music, and how it lifts the atmosphere of the room. “Hunza’s folk music is unique in the sense that the performers merely initiate a performance. Within a few seconds into a performance, the distinction between the audience and performers fades away, and everyone equally participates in the show,” said Khan.

“This form is colloquially known as bazm. These bazms have played a significant historic role as resistance poetry to the monarchy system in Hunza, and contemporarily as revolutionary anthems in light of the lack of political representation in the region. In the last few years, bazm has emerged as the most popular music form in Hunza, owing to its energetic and passionate nature.”

Above, view the first music video in Khan’s web series, and stay tuned for new videos.