Sunday, October 8, 2017

Instrument makers dance to a traditional tune

Cui Jia and Mao Weihua 

THE TELEGRAPH -  4 October 2017

Uyghur artisans in villages across western China are eager to maintain age-old instrument making skills and keep their culture alive  Rehman Abdula is a quiet man, so when he speaks people know his words are important.  “It sounds good,” he said, after listening to Memet Ali play a satar, a traditional Uyghur instrument that resembles an Indian sitar. When Memet visited, Rehman was in the process of making the instrument at his house in Tuowankewukusake village, Shufu county, Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.  Memet, 30, is a Uyghur musician who plays in a local band that specialises in muqam, a popular and well-known genre in the music of the mainly Muslim ethnic group. A few weeks before his visit he had commissioned Rehman to make him a new satar.  The craftsman, 65, had asked Memet to call on him to see if he was happy with the half-finished satar before he started to paint and decorate the instrument. It usually takes about a month to make a satar.