Ali Sethi gives fans a quick history lesson on harmoniums

The instrument actually came from Europe 150 years ago
May 07, 2020

Pakistani classical singer and writer Ali Sethi took to social media to give fans a quick history lesson on Wednesday.

Taking to his Instagram account, Sethi shared his profound knowledge about music and musical instruments. "We think of it now as the most 'desi' instrument, actually it came from Europe some 150 years ago," said Sethi.

He remarked that the instrument was quickly embraced by India’s nomadic singers and “nautch girls”, always the cleverest and most dynamic musicians.

Earlier, in an interview with the BBC, Sethi revealed that he was mocked for his love for classical music.

When Sethi was 11, he was in a car with his friends and as they drove off, he decided to play a ghazal audio cassette. The boys laughed at him for day after and he realised: “Ok, this is just for me. This is not for anybody else.“

He shared that he was mocked for liking ghazals as a teenager and his friends thought the genre was “not muscular” or “western enough”…“ all those complexes that one grows up with in a postcolonial society,” Ali said.

Today, his rendition of ghazals have more than a million views online and many of those are from young people from around the world.

Ali Sethi

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