fulbright Taiwan online journal

fulbright Taiwan online journal

Author: Pei-Ling Huang 黃佩玲

Pei-Ling Huang 黃佩玲
Pei-ling Huang graduated from the Graduate Institute of Musicology, National Taiwan University. She has just finished her first semester at the Music Department in Harvard University, where she is enrolled for Ph.D. degree in ethnomusicology. She has been learning the tabla (Hindustani hand drum) in Pakistan since 2009, and started preliminary research on music in a Sufi shrine in Pakistan during this winter break, supported by a travel grant from the American Institute of Pakistan Studies.

Notes from a Sufi Shrine in Sindh, Pakistan

  The heat of the day had receded as we walked into the shrine after ‘isha, the final evening prayers. The marble ground felt cool to our bare feet when we took off our sandals and went in. There was no guard at the gate, no shoe-keeping stand, and people sat on the ground in small groups, chatting, eating, and sleeping. Children and even dogs ran around in the informal and mildly festive atmosphere of the beautifully-lit shrine courtyard. This place, the shrine of Shāh Abdul Latīf in Bhit Shāh, Sindh, was beyond doubt one of the most open and welcoming Sufi shrines I had ever been to in Pakistan. Adding our own footwear to a pile of countless dusty black sandals in the corner, we headed straight towards the inner courtyard where the saint is buried. My heart leapt as, from a distance, we saw the silhouette of a group of men sitting in a semi-circle on the ground in front of the tomb door, wielding huge pumpkin-bodied long-necked string instruments. The Shāh Jo Rāg fakirs were already there, ready to sing.        I first read about the Shāh Jo Rāg fakirs in a program note for

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Research & Reflections

fulbright taiwan online journal