The Colours Of Rubab’, the debut album from Pakistani rubab master Gulab Afridi.
Hailing from Peshawar, Gulab Afridi is one of the most celebrated folk and classical rubab artists of Pakistan. His style is rooted in the traditional music of the Pashtun regions of Pakistan, which is evident in his sparkling ornamentation, and the sound of the instrument itself, which is smaller than Afghan made instruments.
But we can also detect the influence of Afghan classical music, particularly in Raag Yaman (I), where we can’t help but be reminded of the virtuosic, ground-breaking playing of Homayoun Sakhi, whose influence can be found both in Afghan and Pakistani players, thanks to his time in both Kabul and Peshawar. The result is a fusion of styles and influences woven from across the region which, all combined, constitute Afridi’s unique approach to the rubab.
“If there is one thing I’ve learned from my musical inspirations, it is that music is a language of feelings,” explains Afridi. “If you as an artist feel your music, it’s most certain that it transforms into your audience and there is a connectivity, an ambiance, a transcendence.”
For Afridi, the rubab is a unique expression of his culture and Pashtun ethnic identity. “The rhythms of this instrument propagate tranquility, broadens the horizon, and allows me to connect with my deeper self. I think it’s safe to say that it is an alternative to meditation. Most of all, to me, it is a form of art most cherished in the region and unique to the world out there.”
“I am a proponent of peace through music and inclusivity. I want my music to be a manifesto for peace and harmony. The rubab is an instrument unknown to the world, deprived of its joy and its musical power. I aspire for the time when people will recognize us by our cultural gems, engage with the instrument and include it in their gatherings.”
Afridi’s dedication to the rubab has brought him many accolades, including the Prime Minister National Council of Arts Award, the Fakhr e Peshawar (Pride of Peshawar), the Fakhr e Pakhtunkhwa (Pride of Pakhtunkhwa), and an Asian Melody Award. Gulab has also been a part of the 2017 UNESCO Culture Caravan, culminating in a performance in Lahore.
We hope music lovers from across the world will enjoy this deeply touching, peaceful album from one of Pakistan’s most accomplished rubab players.
Gulab Afridi’s debut album The Colours Of Rubab is now on Worlds Within Worlds.