A folk orchestra brings to life the age-old instruments

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Amritsar, Apr 25 : In an age when many traditional musical instruments have been relegated to the background, a group of men have come forward to showcase the discarded instruments in a unique fashion.

A folk orchestra brings to life the age-old instruments - the sarangi, ek-tara, dafli and a favourite, the snake charmer's flute.

It's an initiative by a local music director and singer, Harinder Sohal, whose five-year-old group 'Sohal Group of Arts' is dedicated to revive Punjab's lost heritage.

"These ancient instruments, which are almost fading away, are rarely found in the shows and no one desires to play them any more. Essentially, these instruments are difficult to play. The instruments together create folklore, which today's generation is giving the go by. The amalgamation of the folk instruments gave birth to this folk orchestra," said Sohal.

The 20-odd members of the group belong to different strata - engineers, police officers and students - all dedicated to popularize Punjab's folk instruments which are almost fading away.

"We have to make people aware of this heritage, so as to preserve the folk instruments of Punjab and make the most of their use in comparison to electric instruments. I request everyone to help in preserving our old folklore," said Gurmeet Gill, member.

With in the neighborhood, they perform shows free of cost, while charges are minimal when they perform in other parts of the country.

In its recent show 'Sur Punjab De', the orchestra surprised and captivated the Amritsarians with their impressive performance.

"It is very necessary to make the coming generations aware about the richness of folk instruments. We are stirred by today's performance and were made aware of the rich actual folklore of Punjab," said Ruchi, one of the listeners.

Karan, another listener added, "Such programmes should be continuous so as to help protect the Punjabi culture."

It has rhythm, it has devotion and it has a spirit. And, all that not found in today's electric gadgets. By Savinder Singh

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