When Kashif Din walks into the studio for his first rehearsal, Coke Studio’s house band is confused for a moment. The 19-year-old has a quiet and shy presence, a soft and subdued voice – it is hard to place him as the well-practiced voice in the recording that the team has been rehearsing to so far. As he settles into the studio environment and begins to sing, his voice opens up and a maturity comes through, a controlled, gentle timbre sounding out of the soft vowels of Burushaski, the language of Bo Giyam, which he performed along with Nimra Rafiq in the final episode of the 12th season of Coke Studio.
Kashif’s young talent is the product of internal fuel that has been driving him forward since he was a child. Since then, Kashif has had a thirst for musical discovery and learning. He doesn’t remember a life without music, “Since I’ve begun to form memories, I’ve been running after music,” he says.
Attending the Diamond Jubilee School in Altit, Hunza, Kashif’s head was always in a cloud of melodies and rhythms, playing beats on his desk in the middle of class or cooking up lyrics to songs. In the first grade, he obtained his first professionally-made instrument in a trade-off with a class fellow: a recorder. Whatever Kashif taught himself on the flute showed early signs of his musical talent. Slowly, Kashif’s instrumental repertoire began to expand when he bought his first piano - a small, toy piano for children. Kashif needed only a day’s tinkering to figure out how to play his first melody, a Hunzai folk song he had often heard.
Thus far, Kashif had learnt through observation and experimentation; as he grew up he began seeking out teachers and local musicians, observing them and asking questions about theory and technique. In their company, patiently observing and taking in as much as he could, Kashif began to form his own musical aesthetic.
In 2016, during a trip to Karachi, Kashif bought his first guitar with money he had been saving. For the next three months, Kashif immersed himself into every possible course on YouTube to learn how to play the instrument. By the time he returned to Hunza, he had developed a sound relationship with his guitar, which remains his primary instrument today.
In 2017, eager to explore the next step in his musical journey, Kashif sought out musicians to produce a song. When he was unable to find people willing to facilitate him, Kashif decided to do what he had done all along - teach himself via tutorial videos. Borrowing a broken laptop with a cracked screen and a battery pack that only worked when plugged in, Kashif faced various obstacles for his passion. Furthermore, electricity problems in Hunza meant Kashif’s laptop often shut down when there was a power outage and his unsaved work would be lost, causing him to start all over again. He remembers this time not with frustration or resentment but with a positive attitude stating, “I never got tired of it, I never got bored.”
Watering fields one night in Hunza, he was struck by the beauty around him and his creativity started to flow. “Sometimes, when I’m holding the guitar, and I pluck a chord, it evokes a feeling inside of me. Words come up with that feeling and, naturally, a composition is created.” Now living in Lahore, finishing his intermediate-level studies at Government College University, Kashif seems to draw music out of thin air.
Source: Coke Studio