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Noor Zehra Kazim accompanied by Shaukat Raza [tabla] performed raga jaijai wanti on the unique instrument sagar veena.–Photo by White StarKARACHI: Music lovers witnessed some fine performances on the first day of the Tehzeeb Festival of classical music at a local hotel on Saturday, but had there been shorter, if not fewer, interruptions the evening could have been a memorable one. The long speeches right in the middle of the programme when it was about to gain the requisite momentum impeded its smooth progression.

The show started off with the young sitar player Shahroze Husain’s rendition of raga misra tilang accompanied by Ustad Bashir Khan [tabla]. The raga is usually played in a lighter vein. The young musician did a decent job. He definitely needs time to flourish and should befriend the instrument he plays instead of handling it dutifully.

The host of the show, actress Sadia Imam, appeared on the stage after the first act and apologised for her late arrival. She looked a little flustered as was evident from her Urdu “baqaeda aghaz shuro kerte hain” [let’s officially begin the beginning].

The evening got its impetus when Noor Zehra Kazim accompanied by Shaukat Raza [tabla] performed raga jaijai wanti on the unique instrument sagar veena. Despite the fact that the instrument was still being developed, as she told the audience, her performance enthralled everyone. She kept the purity of the raga intact and was particularly impressive with the ascending movement. She was able to make the softer notes sound clearly audible, which was a delight to hear.

Indian Artist Kamal Sabri performs during the Tahzeeb Festival.–Photo by APP

After that a sarangi ensemble was presented, led by Indian sarangi nawaz Kamal Sabri. The organisers claimed that it was for the first time that six [Kamal Sabri, Zohaib Hassan, Akhtar Husain, Mazhar Umrao Bundoo Khan, Temur Khan and Gul Mohammad] sarangi players [one from India and the rest from Pakistan] were playing together.

The musicians played raga maaru bihag. While the idea was praiseworthy, one thought that its execution left quite a bit to be desired. The half a dozen sarangis sounded good individually but collectively they created a jarring effect primarily because there was less experimentation and more of following a certain pattern.

However, when Kamal Sabri played the Rajasthani folk number maand and then his own composition called ‘Dance of the Desert’, it lifted the crowd’s spirits and achieved the desired results. This was followed by speeches by Sharif Awan, Uxi Mufti, Javed Jabbar, and a Polish dignitary. Earlier, writer Anwar Maqsood had also spoken.

Kamal Sabri performs with a fellow musician during the Tahzeeb Festival.–Photo by APP

Then came eminent theatre person Sheema Kermani with her troupe. They danced to some of the compositions in Indus Raag [a 12CD project that had been launched] and to a couple of other tunes. Their act was thoroughly enjoyed by the audience and was received with a generous round of applause.

The final item of the evening was Ustad Nasiruddin Saami’s rendition of raga purbi. As expected, the ustad gave an impressive performance.

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Comments (12) Closed

Ahmad Rizwan
Oct 08, 2012 08:16pm
Peerzada Salman should know better than mention names of all the national people and without mentioning the name of the Polish dignitary (how rude) and then talking about Sheema Kermani's troupe dancing to "some of the compositions" and "couple of other tunes" - how ill informed is the writer who has not done any research about music and goes on to try and write about a music event. I bet he even does not know anything about the Kazmi's and their contribution to music and other arts. I wish some senior person had gone through this article before it got printed.
Sharif Awan
Oct 09, 2012 07:55pm
Thank you all, who gave their comments to the article. Peerzada Salman is a good friend and I am one of his readers and a great admirer specially when he writes on diverse subjects like architecture etc. While I respect his findings, I appreciate the comments offered by Ahmad Rizwan, Afzal Javed, Pat and others. I agree that we all need to learn....There is no harm in enhancing your capacity as a writer / commentator / an organiser or a designer of such classic recitals. I only know one thing: my job is not only to furnish some nice music to my audience, but also to encourage and motivate the 'deprived' class of artistes. Tehzeeb Foundation is here to plan future of our classical music heritage. 'Sarangi ensemble' was an inspiring activity as our Sarangi players went back to their stations with a lot of synergy and motivation. They are now demanding (and preparing for) a Sarangi Festival. What else we want in life? Yes, the Polish 'dignitary' was no less than Professor Piotr Balcerowicz who was duly introduced by the 'organizers' as being an authority on the Indian classical arts. He is heading South Asian Chair in the University of Warsaw. Another explanation to my friend(s): the speeches may not be termed as 'long' as they consumed less than the notified time as per invitation card (which was merely 45 minutes in all). Listening to people like Javed Jabbar and Uxi Mufti should be a treat to us all..... And where was the 'self praise'? I will only only quote Mir Anees: dil sahib-e-aulaad sey insaaf talab hai.... Best regards, - Sharif Awan (P.S: I will not be available for any further discussion on this subject due to my future music 'ventures'. I hope my friends appreciate and understand....)
Oct 08, 2012 09:45am
It really is the Tehzib that makes Asia and particularly subcontinent different from the rest of the world. The participating artists and Anwar Maqsood are notably the shine of our culture.
ashfaq hasan
Oct 09, 2012 07:15pm
I wish this article was written by SM Shahid sahb...who knows alot abt the classical music of the subcontinent and also he has written a book on classical music...this peerzaada knows nothing abt music... n he doesnt know hw to respect other artforms ...he is a nut case....
Oct 08, 2012 07:49am
Hahaha! What kind of review is this? Playing Jaijaivanti well in the ascending - what does it even mean? Was the vistaar done well? Did the artiste do something spectacular while coming to sama? What? Why was Ustad Saami's Poorvi impressive? What did he do? Does the reviewer have any idea how to analyse music?
Oct 08, 2012 07:56am
Additionally, how is the Sagar Veena different from the others of the ilk like Rudraveena, and the Veena used in Carnatic music? (For instance, there seem to be no frets in the picture above, and that's unique for a veena). Why does the reviewer say it is still being developed?
Raja Parekh
Oct 08, 2012 06:16am
Surely it must had been wonderful to experience this devine music. - Raja Parekh
Sharif Awan
Oct 09, 2012 08:18pm
All Tehzeeb music is available at Liberty Books and allied stores.....
Oct 08, 2012 11:30pm
Oct 08, 2012 07:59pm
The land of the pure will do well to discard all these unislamic things and try to be a modern Islamic welfare state as envisioned by the great Imran Khan.
Oct 08, 2012 06:19pm
Can someone please advise where I could get the recordings of this programme?
Afzal Javed
Oct 08, 2012 05:50pm
seven sarangis have been amazing . this article is rubbish, sagar veena, wts sagar veena no one knows abt it...doesnt have any history, Sarangi is almost 1000 years old instrument....Kamal did a great job making pakistani sarangi players play like a team its first time in the history of pakistani music....credit goes to sharif awan and Kamal Sabri