NEW YORK: American music critics heaped praise on Pakistani folk singer Arif Lohar, after his stunning performances in New York last weekend.
Lohar performed to rapturous applause and well beyond the scheduled hours during the two sold-out Asia Society concerts in the Big Apple.
“The songs were devotional, and the mood was euphoric,” Jon Parleles, The New York Times critic who was once a noted musician himself, said of Lohar’s performance.
“There's something puckish about Lohar's stage presence, even when he's belting 17th-century mystic poetry,” he said in his review, which was accompanied by photographs of Lohar performing and the audience in the packed auditorium dancing and waving.
Likening the Pakistani entertainer to Michael Jackson, Parleles went on to say, “Mr Lohar arrived with pop trappings. Like something out of a Michael Jackson video, his band wore long, black quasi military coats, with sequined gold hearts where badges might have been.”(Video courtesy Asia Society's Youtube channel)
“Even in the formal confines of the Asia Society auditorium, concertgoers stood up and danced as the beat and the spirit swept the room...”
Meanwhile, Richard Gehr, while not using superlatives in his review for the Village Voice, said Lohar's sufi hit “extended over an increasingly delirious 30 minutes, with chorus after chorus of this 17th-century poem by the Sufi mystic Sultan Bahu reaching new heights of show-biz fun with a sacred slant.”
Both shows were sold-out events and when they concluded, Lohar and his band left the audience demanding encore and on their feet.
The concerts also featured Pakistan’s Arooj Aftab.
“Lohar and Aftab's two concerts were part of Asia Society's ongoing initiative Creative Voices of Muslim Asia, made possible by support from the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art,” Asia Society’s website said.