Press Trust of india

‘Helping those who can’t afford to help themselves’: Kashmiri singer strikes chord of empathy      

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‘I view my work not just as a means to success and fame but also as a way to help others’

Srinagar: Every song he sings, every video he makes, every view he gets on YouTube is aimed at just one thing – helping those who can’t afford to help themselves. Baabarr Mudacer, one of Kashmir’s most high profile musicians, is a young man determined to be more than just about song.

The 26-year-old, whose music ranges from rap to soulful Sufi, said he views his work not just as a means to success and fame but also as a way to help others.

“I am just a bridge…  I give the account number of the family directly to the people willing to extend support. My only contribution is to verify their story and later make an appeal through my official YouTube channel,” he told PTI.

Mudacer, who counts Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and Bob Marley as his inspirations, dropped out of college in 2012 to focus on his music. Two years ago, he started a music company MAD (Music And Donate) to combine his passion for song and his commitment to causes as eclectic as his muses.

Earlier this week, Mudacer performed live at an event organised by the Jammu and Kashmir Tourism department in Pahalgam. Crowds cheered as he came on to the stage, and the applause grew louder when he announced he was singing for a young boy in Bandipora who suffered serious injuries in abdomen during an accident last year.

“Today, I am singing for a small kid in Bandipora who was hit by a truck last year. His parents have sold off everything to provide him with medical facilities and have exhausted whatever they had. I am just making an attempt to help them out,” he said.

The audience, mainly the young, were enthralled when he started singing “Mast Qalandar”, a Sufi song by 17th century poet Bulle Shah. The concert ended with a rap song Mudacer penned, depicting his childhood to the “naav” (name) he has earned as a musician.

Mudacer’s family, including his parents, a brother and a sister, depends on their earnings from a saw mill and a garment shop in Bandipore. After leaving studies in 2012, he started learning the guitar from tutorials on the net. His elder sister is enrolled as a PhD scholar and his younger brother is studying mechanical engineering. Despite their initial reservations, he said they have all been very supportive.

“When I thought I was ready, I started recording rap songs. Much to my surprise, they got an overwhelming response,” he said.

Mudacer, who is also a fan of Pakistani-American rapper Bohimia, has so far written nine rap songs and four classical numbers – “Yaad” (remembrance), “Zindagi Roushit” (angry life in Kashmiri), “Dariya” (river) and “Aadat” (habits).

He sings in various languages, including Kashmiri, Punjabi and Hindi, and is eager to expand his repertoire. “I am trying my hand with English rap but I am yet to get there… Moreover, people demand more songs in the languages I know.”

In the pre-pandemic era, Mudacer performed all the songs live on stage. He has also recorded them in his small studio in Bandipora and released them on YouTube. The songs have done well, receiving several lakh hits on the platform.

“It is the love of people that keeps me motivated.  And when those earnings help the needy, my heart just brims over,” he said.

In the last few years, he has helped several people, including a cancer patient who didn’t have money for treatment and supporting a family of six young girls whose father is in jail and mother has died.

According to Mudacer, while the stress everywhere is on development, he would also like special focus being given to the health sector, especially for the poor.

The singer has performed at various shows outside the Valley as well as the union territory. On Friday, he will be performing at the Rayat Bahara University at Mohali in Punjab along with other artists from Kashmir.

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