Defiant Transmission: A Virtual Concert by Ali Saffudin, Ahmer, and Straight Outta Srinagar
Three contemporary Kashmiri musicians based in Srinagar and Delhi perform a hip-hop and folk revival concert inspired by a variety of Kashmiri musical traditions. Within these performances, the artists share their reflections on the evolution of Kashmiri music and situate their art in a global context. This unique BRM-commissioned concert event will be streamed on Youtube.
About the Series
Between the Bats and Bulbuls: Musical Expressions from the Valley of Kashmir
Season 5 of Brooklyn Raga Massive’s Uncovered/Recovered series is dedicated to the rich and evolving landscapes of musical expression from the Kashmir Valley. Featuring contemporary and classical musicians, filmmakers, advocates, and scholars, the series explores how Kashmiri artists navigate limitations on free speech while preserving and innovating on the region’s multicultural traditions.
All events in this series are free and open to the public. If you’d like to make a suggested donation of $25 you can do so here.
BRM acknowledges that our collective and artists have thrived because of the labor of disprivileged artisan communities in South Asia who have played significant roles in the creation, preservation, and innovation of raga-based arts. The Uncovered/Recovered series aims to platform these underrepresented voices and strengthen BRM’s commitment to decolonized art and critical activism. Learn more about the series and past seasons here.
About the Artists
Ali Saffudin is a singer-songwriter from Srinagar, Kashmir. Known throughout the valley for his magnetic and captivating voice that serves to reflect his lived reality and the cultural heritage of the Kashmiri community, Saffudin is one of South Asia’s critically important voices. His compilation Home Recordings (Vol.1) demonstrates Saffudin’s ability to deftly maneuver between tender, heart-wrenching ballads and power-packed, folk-punk anthems have seen him be recognized as one of the most exciting artists to emerge in the region today.
Ahmer is a prolific rapper and producer from Srinagar, Kashmir. Since a young age, Ahmer has been acutely aware of the violence that plagues that valley, and his lyrics reflect a self-critical and self-aware artist that is trying to make sense of one of the most complex issues of our time. By diving deep into his and his family’s history in the valley, Ahmer manages to introduce to people the complexities of the Kashmiri people and provides a more holistic view of their society. Ahmer’s debut album Little Kid Big Dreams, made in collaboration with Delhi-based producer Sez On The Beat, shook the South Asian music community to its core with its raw and vivid exploration of the brutalities suffered by the Kashmiri people at the hands of an occupying force. He immediately followed that up with the self-produced Inqalab mixtape, a ferocious response to the Indian state’s brutal crackdown on Kashmir, one that still continues to this day. In 2020, Ahmer collaborated with some of Kashmir's finest artistic talent, releasing singles in collaboration with Ali Saffudin and Straight Outta Srinagar and helping make his vision of making Kashmir a global force in the world of music a reality. With Azli, Ahmer’s seminal sophomore album, he takes the mantle as a leading figure amongst the Kashmiri youth, and helps bring forth the immense talent that resides amongst the valley’s citizens.
Straight Outta Srinagar is a hip-hop duo hailing from Srinagar, Kashmir. Comprising of Aatankki and Tufail Nazir, the group first came together in 2020 with a shared passion for music and a desire to bring the sounds of their hometown to the world. Influenced by a diverse range of artists, from Kendrick Lamar to Immortal Technique, the duo quickly made a name for themselves with their unique blend of hard-hitting beats and socially conscious lyrics. Their music reflects the daily struggles and the resilience of the people of Srinagar, while also celebrating their culture and heritage. In 2021, Straight Outta Srinagar got signed with Azadi Records and released their debut EP "Keef" along with the singles "Czawul" and "Srinagar Anthem" which received critical acclaim and established them as a force to be reckoned with in the hip-hop scene. Straight Outta Srinagar shows no signs of slowing down. Their music continues to evolve and push boundaries, cementing their status as one of the most exciting and dynamic acts in the hip-hop world today. They're ready to take their music to the world and bring the sounds of Srinagar to the global stage.