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Ustad Noor Bakhsh, from near Pasni, Balochistan, is a maestro of the Balochi Benju (a keyed Zither), which he has played since he was a child. Noor Bakhsh is well known as a legendary instrumentalist throughout the Makran Coast, but only garnered wider attention after his most recent recordings and videos. The Benju, was once a Japanese children’s toy called the taishōkoto before it was adopted by Balochi musicians and made into the refined folk instrument that it is today. Noor Bakhsh plays an electric Benju, getting his sound through an old pickup and small Phillips amp he bought from Karachi 2 decades ago. He carries forward the legacy of his teachers and inspirations such as Bilawal Belgium and Misri Khan Jamali but his own music elicits influences from various traditions and musical forms far beyond Balochistan. His virtuosic playing is deeply rooted in Balochi musical forms and enriched by his knowledge of South Asian Raags, which he also renders in his own, experimental style.

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