Ziaul Kareem grew up listening and dancing to the tune of the folk music of Hunza which is called Hareep. This music is played with the help of shahnai, a flute like musical instrument resembling clarion, and a drum.
Zia, who gives children training of music in Al-Teet Fort, started his journey of music by buying a flute for 50 rupees in his childhood. Now, he can play various types of music instruments which include guitar, rebec, violin, flute and different kinds of drums.
Lately, while researching for his thesis for graduation from National College of Arts, he has injected life into a local musical instrument, Zegheni, by introducing it to the world with some modernization.
He said old people and those who were fond of music knew about Zeghani, but the new generation was oblivious in this regard. He said the basic purpose of his modernization of the instrument was its preservation in the long run.
“It had short playing range and issues of tuning. Its structure also had multiple faults,” he said.
What is Zegheni?
Zegheni is a regional music instrument of Hunza, which resembles rebec and sarangi. Earlier, it was played with gazz (plectrum), but now it can be played with violin’s bow as well after alteration made by Zia.
This instrument accidentally arrived in Hunza from China. In 1950s, trade used to take place between Hunza and China. The research student said during his research he came to know that a traveler told the famous singer of his time, Hashim Shah, about an instrument of music, though nobody knew what music instrument the traveler had seen in China. However, Hashim Shah managed to put all those features in his Pameri Rubab.
Ziaul Kareem said old people told him that nobody knew about Zegheni and when they first heard its music they were mesmerized.
Zia loves the regional music of Hunza and is working for its promotion. He said thanks God there was peace in Hunza and through his music he wanted the people to get engaged in positive activities.
The musician wants to produce more music and delegate the regional music to new generation. The room in Al-Teet Fort, where he teaches music to children, has been provided to him with the help of Agha Khan Foundation.