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“Music is a bridge of life”: Singer Mukhtiyar Ali

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By Ankit Sinha

UDAIPUR: Singer Mukhtiyar Ali staged a mesmerizing performance with Duplessy, at the just concluded World Music Festival, which featured bands and artistes from across the globe. He says language doesn’t matter when it comes to appreciating music.

“Music is a bridge of life. It connects humans with life. Otherwise, human beings are not really connected to life. After listening to music, a human being first joins with himself. When he joins with himself, he joins with society. This is the job of music and art. People also understand this,” Ali said here.

“I feel proud that the new generation is also appreciating our music. The feeling of music is important, Language doesn’t matter,” he added.

Ali and Duplessy, who composed music for the film “Finding Fanny”, have enthralled concert goers across the world with their performances. Yet, Ali says that his beginnings have been incredibly humble and full of challenges.

“Our community (Mirasi) is almost at the (India-Pakistan) border. Our tradition has been to sing with livestock keepers. Both Hindus and Muslims used to participate in our concerts. Our people also used to choose songs which would cater to both Hindus and Muslims and even Sikhs. That was done by our ancestors and then, the Sufi trend went on from there. It has been 700 years since our ancestors pioneered the trend,” Ali explained.

He reminisced the time when the impact of his community’s music weakened and how he took on the challenge to revive it.

“When India won independence and when it was almost 40 years since that time, new mass media like TV and radio came and our people weren’t really educated according to that. Then their music got weak. After the 80s, people almost stopped singing.

“After education, the Muslims said that their people should not listen to music in Islam and Hindus said that Muslims should not sing in temples, so it was difficult for both of them,” he said.

But Ali insisted his father teach him music.

“Our ancestors said that we can’t continue singing. But then, out of 100 families, I took the challenge and told my father, ‘I want to learn music, please teach me’. But he warned me that I could starve due to this.

“However, I remained adamant. When my father was alive, I traveled at least three to four countries on the basis of my music. For me, it was an honor and my father was happy that I took the music out of India,” Ali said.

Now, Ali takes pride saying that more youngsters from the Mirasi community are learning music.

He calls upon the media and especially social media to promote their music.

“Media plays a big role in promoting music. Social media has reached out to everyone. Our music, our folk, whether it is from Rajasthan or any other place, should be heard more. I also request to media to promote this music more,” Ali said.

As to how he met Duplessy, Ali said: “I met Mathias in 9-10 years. It was the will of god. We met in Mumbai, and we felt that we know each other very well.”

NewsGram view- Music binds people irrespective of all boundaries like nation, religion, caste etc. Recently Adnan Sami was awarded Indian citizenship which showcases that through music peace can be achieved.

(IANS) (pic courtesy: riadzany.blogspot.com)

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Ease Pain and Nourish Social Connections through Music

Over the years, medical studies have shown that music has many health benefits, too. Those range from facilitating regular breathing and lifting mood to improving emotional function and motor control in patients

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Music has long helped people express their emotions and connect with one another. Over the years, medical studies have proved that music has many health benefits. They range from facilitating regular breathing and lifting mood to improving emotional function and motor control. VOA

It’s 9 o’clock in the morning, time for 3-year-old Lucas’ weekly music therapy session. “Lucas is autistic,” his mother Katey Hernandez explained. “He has a lot of sensory processing sensitivities, which means he’s really sensitive to loud noises, bright lights and a lot of [activity] around his body, and he really likes to jump and swing and climb and anything active.”

Dixie Mazur brings to Lucas’ home session a bag full of instruments. During the session she plays music and sings. “I like to bring in a wide variety of instruments because, especially with younger kids, the attention spans naturally are very short and I like to be able to give them the freedom and ownership to kind of move our session in the direction they want to go,” Mazur said.

She brings in a piano, a couple of drums, rain stick and egg shakers, “things that provide a lot of sensory feedback as well.” Hernandez is happy with the results so far.

“It’s been very helpful,” she said. “Ms. Dixie has come up with a few songs to help him with social dialogue. So, it helps him communicate with us a lot more, when we can’t figure out what he needs.”

Healing soul and body

Music has long helped people express their emotions and connect with one another. Over the years, medical studies have shown that it has many health benefits, too. Those range from facilitating regular breathing and lifting mood to improving emotional function and motor control in patients.

So, it has become a part of the therapists’ toolbox, used either in one-on-one sessions or group settings. It can be passive, where patients listen to music, or active, where they participate in playing instruments and singing.

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Kelsi Yingling, NeuroScience Music Therapy founder, says a music therapist should have passion for music and helping others. VOA

Zoe Gleason Volz brings music therapy to a group of people with a range of cognitive disabilities. “As a group, they don’t really engage with each other,” she said. “So, a lot of my work is trying to slowly get them to positively engage with their fellow group members and actively engage with me.”

The instruments stimulate patients’ senses and muscles. She says the impact is obvious on brain scans of people listening to it. “When you’re listening the entire brain is lit up because it’s having the music and the intellectual sides both kind of firing all at once. Whereas when you’re talking with somebody, you’re probably more into one hemisphere of the brain rather than both.”

Becoming a music therapist

There are more than 6,000 board-certified music therapists in the United States. They’ve gone through 1,000 hours of training, including getting an undergraduate degree and completing a six-month internship, and passing a certification exam.

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Music therapist Dixie Mazur brings to Lucas’ home session a bag full of instruments. During the session she plays music and sings. VOA

ALSO READ: US Researchers Finding Ways to Treat Dementia

But Kelsi Yingling, who founded NeuroSound Music Therapy, where Gleason Volz and Mazur work, looks for more than a certificate. “The type of skills we wanted to see in a therapist are strong musical skills, interpersonal skills and the ability to relate to our clients,” she said.

Music therapists should be patient and able to adapt to various situations, she says, adding that the work is easier when therapists have passion for music and for helping people. “The fact that I get to use music to help other individuals achieve their goals and their highest potential is really one of the most rewarding things I can be doing in my life,” she added. (VOA)