Veteran Alghoza Player Achar Samejo Dies At 70

Achar Samejo was an icon of Sindhi folk music, having performed domestically and internationally. He passed away after prolonged illnes.

Veteran Alghoza Player Achar Samejo Dies At 70

Prominent Sindhi Folk Musician Ustad Achar Samejo, who gained fame as a player of the paired flute, Alghoza, passed away over the weekend following a prolonged illness.

Aged 70, he breathed his last at his residence in Jati Taluka of Sujawal District in Sindh early on Saturday. 

Scores of people from different parts of the province converged at Baba Mugarbeen graveyard to attend his funeral.

His family told local media that the seasoned Alghoza player had been suffering multiple health complications, including kidney-related diseases. For the past few months, his health had confined him to his bed.

Samejo had dedicated a major part of his life to Sindhi folk music. As a result, he gained unprecedented recognition across the province.

His passing leaves a great vacuum in Sindh's folk music, especially among the small pool of Alghoza players. People from different walks of life expressed their deep grief at the demise of the noted artist. 

An icon of Sindhi folk music

Samejo was born into an impoverished family in Jati. Despite his family's economic struggles, Samejo developed a love for music from a young age. As a teenager, he took an interest in learning and playing the paired flute Alghoza, which holds special significance in the history of Sindhi folk music. 

He would practice the wind instrument while watching over his cattle graze. He found a mentor and trainer in Khamiso Khan Jamali, who motivated him to take up music and Alghoza professionally.

Samejo got an opportunity to showcase his skills with the Alghoza on Pakistan Television and Radio Pakistan in 1978. His performance earned him plaudits and opportunities to collaborate with several singers on stage, including the likes of folk legend Allan Faqir, Suleman Shah, Ustad Muhammad Yousif, Anwar Wistro, and others. 

Samejo gave solo performances, playing the Alghoza in front of massive gatherings organized by the culture department of the Sindh government.

He represented Pakistan and Sindhi folk music worldwide, whether in the West in Germany and the UK, or the Middle East in the UAE or the East in China, where he earned accolades for his performance. 

Recognising his contributions, he was bestowed with the Shah Latif and Sachal Sarmast Award.

Samejo and friction with culture department

Senior Journalist Haji Zahid Ishaque Sommro, who interviewed Ustad Achar several times, said that Samejo was displeased with the attitude of the culture department apart from worried about the future of Alghoza-playing. 

"He could play the tunes of Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai's poetry on the Alghoza with ease," he said.

The author is a practicing lawyer and freelance journalist. His areas of interest are cultural diversity and socio-political issues of Sindh.