Globetrotting singer Shehzad Roy was recently in Rome on invitation from Pakistan’s Ambassador to Italy, Tahmina Janjuwa. The Pakistan Embassy in Rome in collaboration with Zètema Progetto Cultura, an agency of Rome’s Municipality, had organised the concert last week in Villa Borghese, the second largest public park in Rome, and was part of La Notte dei Musei (The Night of Museums). The solo show presented Pakistan’s rich heritage — especially its music and poetry — to the Italian audience.

La Notte de Musei is an important event on Rome’s cultural calendar. On the night, a series of events such as concerts, plays and other cultural performances are organised at various locations throughout the city. It was indeed a privilege to have Shehzad Roy perform at one of the most prestigious spots in Rome. The audience included representatives of the Italian government, cultural and media leaders, the diplomatic corps as well as Pakistani and Italian community members.

Q. How did it feel to perform in Rome. Do you think the audience largely understood what you sang to them?

SR: After seeing the response of the Italian crowd to Pakistani music I’m now thinking of collaborating with an Italian artist. It was a great experience and I was surprised to see Italian girls dancing to Saali. Even though, the Italians in the audience did not understand the lyrics, the music had everyone rocking to the beat and the people enjoying themselves immeasurably.

Q. Which tracks did you perform to?

SR: I sang popular numbers such as Aag, Apnay Ullo, Kangna, Saali, Chal Para, Teri Soorat, Laga Reh, Wo Ho, Summer of ’69, Lal Meri Patt, Mukhra, Beya Beya and some others.

Q. What do you think of the concert/live music scene in Karachi?

SR: Live music is picking up and can be bigger but in Karachi my concert just recently got cancelled. After performing with Bryan Adams in 2006 in Karachi, I thought that the city would become the next Dubai where international artists would come frequently, but it never happened. The worsening law and order situation is affecting everything including live performances by singers. As things get better, people will start organising concerts and new and good musicans will definitely come out and play.