Playing harmony tunes with Muqam music

Source: Panview| Published: 2017-03-20

The film, Harmony, directed by R.C. Pranav, captures the soul of the Muslim community in the town Lukhchin, located in northwest China’s Xinjiang Autonomous Region.

Lukhchin stands in the middle of the vast Gobi Desert with sweeping sand dunes marking the surrounding landscape. It’s so isolated, yet the Muqam music, the "Great Western Region Melody", encapsulates their spirit for lively dancing and singing.

Music players focus on instruments consisting of the satar (guitar-style) and dup (type of tambourine and mini-drum). If somebody sings, the vocalist sounds like a person chanting Muslim prayers in a mosque.

Muqam combines the spirituality of Islam with the sensuality of the ancient Arabic and Persian music. Muqam tour groups learn from masters, who are likely to be imams (spiritual leader of a mosque).

As nomadic people, they love to travel to towns in Xinjiang. One group even performed for 15 days in London. Those in the troupe are mostly elderly citizens, who have free time to pursue Muqam as a hobby.

(The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Panview or