Bhangra to the beat of Japanese drums

ISLAMABAD, Oct 20: When Japanese and Pakistani performers hit the stage Saturday night, they made most performances witnessed previously in the city, look like campfire sing along renditions.

Celebrating 60 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries, children from Islamabad Japanese School and performers of PNCA sang folk songs and performed classical dances at the National Art Gallery.

About a dozen school children between the ages of 9 to 15 years danced to the sound of traditional tunes. The amateur performers showcased a folk tradition of Japan known as Wadaiko.

Wadaiko is the Japanese name for both the act of drumming and drums made in a traditional style.

According to the Japanese Embassy, the musical performance provided an opportunity for the Pakistani people to discover their culture and tradition through their Japanese friends.

“Today’s performance is the culmination of their efforts to learn their own culture and their passion to share it with you,” said the Japanese Ambassador Hiroshi Oe complimenting the children for achieving a high level of accomplishment.The event was organised by the Embassy of Japan, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and JICA Alumni Association of Pakistan and Pakistan National Council of the Arts.

The PNCA’s National Performing Arts group did not just take over the stage but also overwhelmed audiences with elegant and stunning folk music interspersed with dances.

Dressed in beautiful costumes, floating through the stage with grace, the dancers made everyone sway on their seats.

Whether it was Salman Adil on the flute playing a Punjabi folk tune or Iftikhar Ali on Santoor treating the ears to Kashmiri folk song ‘Manzil Jigra’ the performances were true art.

The troupe opened with a mix of bhangra, Sindhi, Balochi, and tribal dances with a voice in the background narrating the journey of expression through the centuries.

Probably no other dance expression could be compared to the joyous and addictive beats and moves of the bhangra, but the Cholistan dance was amazingly choreographed with every aspect worth praising and kept the interest alive.

And as one of the guests said that it would be a while before anyone sitting in the packed hall of the National Art Gallery would forget the colours of the performances witnessed on Saturday night.

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