Music for Shimshal; From Surinay to Bagpipes

Shujaat Ali 

The Golden Jubilee Band was formally launched in Shimshal Valley, Gojal, on 21st March, the Persian calendar new year day! The newly launched pipe band performed on 1st and 2ndApril in Shimshal and accolades from the public, for entertaining them well.

The journey from Dadang, Dorya, Surinay, Sitor and Damal to Chanters, Bagpipes and drums is also the story of a mountain community’s collective efforts to modernize and move towards a different future.

The idea and inspiration!

The idea was first introduced by the youth of Shimshal’s Aminabad sub-village, during a cultural festival.

They used mundane tools, like water canisters, empty tins and traditional Surinays.

The “band” was able to win the interest and appreciation of the people of Shimshal Valley. The start may have been modest, the dream grew bigger with the passage of time and different people came together to make Shimshal’s own pipe band a reality.

Making music on the snow!

The experienced member of Silver Jubilee Band Gulmit were approached for the purpose of training. Senior trainers from the Silver Jubilee Band, Gulmit voluntarily conducted training sessions for the future pipe band of Shimshal Valley, between January 2010 and March 2011.

Shimshal’s Golden Jubilee Band is the third of its kind in Gojal Valley, upper Hunza. Ghulkin village has also formed its own pipe band.

Ghulam Shah's fund-raising efforts were vital for making the band a success

Sherbaz Nadir Shah was unanimously elected Captain of the Shimshal Golden Jubilee Band and Aziz Khan as Vice Captain. Hidayat Karim is the Head Piper, Muhammad Nayab and Jamil Khan are Head Drummers and Wazir Baig is the band’s spokesperson!

Purchasing equipments for the Golden Jubilee Band was not a very easy task. Due to financial constraints and lack of skilled human capital, the idea of band formation took a lot of time. However, due to keen interest of Silver Jubilee Band Gulmit and fund-raising

efforts of Ghulam Shah, a travel guide from Shimshal, the challenges were overcome without much difficulty. Ghulam Shah was able to to raise funds for the band through a foreign donor, Ms. Elisabeth Oberli, an admirer of Shimshal Valley.

The Shimshal Golden Jubilee Band performing in full dress

The Golden Jubilee Pipe Band of Shimshal, apart from being a source of healthy entertainment for the villagers, has also provided the youth with creative and healthy opportunities to learn new skills and celebrate life, as it is!

But the highly conscious people of Shimshal are not going to leave their traditional musical instruments. What they are trying to achieve is a balance between the traditional and the modern. A tough, but intelligent, choice!

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  1. Thank you shuja for sharing an interesting report on shimshal Golden Jubilee Band,which finally completed and formally they have lounched the team with success after struggling from last two years.the contribution goes to the youth of Amin Abadi,who had designed and performed informaly with simple and artificila instruments,and secondly thanks for the trainers,donors and out standing efferts by Mr,Gulam Shah who to facilitate and provided them instruments.
    thank you all once again.

  2. Great job Shimshalies!!! I remember that endeavoring for formation of the band was formally campaigned after the performing a slapstick band group of Aminabad youth at Khizerabad JK in 2007. But this idea was driven from the series of comedy band kV channel in 2001, and the Aminaabad band was also a chain and pirated version of kV.Channel. What I believe is that the youth gave awareness to the community and the community made every effort toward its formation.
    I must say that A NOT GETTING ANY YOUNGER DREAM OF THE COMMUNITY BECOME YOUNGER!!! And contribution of the volunteer trainers remained overwhelming, as they trained the band group in the harsh winter in an unfavorable condition. The band management should now formulize it on sustainable basis. Safety of the instruments and to keep the team organized for long term is the prime responsibility of the local institutions and should be performed unconventionally. Because a lot of money has been pooped by the donor and it’s efficient and effectively use is again in the hand of the responsible institutions.

  3. Great achievement by the youth.
    boom boom shimshali youth.
    Ak dam ful 2 fatak step 2wrd music!!!!!!!!!! keep it up.

  4. Shimshal is rich in ancient folks and music, the beats need to be learned before the old experts leave us…. I had a chat with Abdullah Bai in this regard… the educated youth of Shimshal have to work in this regard.

  5. Thanks Mr.Jajad for sharing the new achievement of ShimShal community. This is really a good sign to moderate our tradition. Great work done by the youth of ShimShal,

  6. Great achievement by the youth and the music lovers of SHIMSHAL make it strong and professional from every aspect.

  7. Congratulations Shimshal. I’ll be sure to bring a digital audio recorder on my next visit.

    1. Dear David,
      thank you very much for your encouragement and support in this regard,you are always doing an outstanding job in the development of shimshal,either it belongs from any part of activities in our society.Again we appriciat and thanks for doneting us the digital audio recorder.

  8. Great achievement by the youth of Shimshal..
    congratulate to the members of golden jubilee band and hope to see you guys in July with outstanding performance.

  9. Best of luck to Shimshal’s Golden Jubilee Band!
    We are very happy and would like to thank our dear friend, Ghulam Shah, for his huge support in the procurement of the instruments and thus in the realization of a dream of the community of Shimshal.
    Of course we are pretty much looking forward to enjoy the performance of the band in July. Hopefully we will make the way to Shimshal to be there on 11 July 2011.
    Elisa and Daniel

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