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ISLAMABAD, June 29: Whether it was Amir Khusro’s Man Kun Tu Maula or Main Sharaabi, it was obvious from the beginning that the audience became engaged in the performance and emotionally and spiritually attached to it.

Such was the magic Friday night devotional Sufi music when Imran Aziz Mian performed at Kuch Khaas.

The performance was a tribute to his father Aziz Mian arranged by the Institute for Preservation of Arts and Culture (IPAC).

There were so many rounds of wah wahs after every verse.

His voice chiseled to the point where his range was greater than the keys of his harmonium and beats of the tablas. And the compositions contained emotions and sounds that music lovers easily related to and enjoyed.

The rhythmic calculations of the tabla players were almost magical.

“One of the main features of the performance was that unlike some other qawwals, who have started using modern musical instruments in the background like keyboards and acoustic guitars, it was totally unplugged,” said Umair Jaffar, one of the founding members of the IPAC.

Despite his shattering success, he remained respectful to his seniors who had performed with his father Aziz Mian Qawwal and kind to his juniors throughout the performance introducing them to their audience.

And then, he got the audience ecstatic when he belted out Chaap Tilak and Teri Soorat. Exotic and familiar, Imran Aziz’s music breathed fresh life into the traditional form, at the same time enhancing qawwali’s essential and unconquerable spirit.

Imran Aziz also performed compositions dedicated to Hazrat Khawaja Nizamuddin and Hazrat Khawaja Moinuddin.

Iman Shahid in the audience had Imran Aziz Mian for the first time and that too live and fell in love with his performance. “He is so engaging and his music makes so much sense,” Shahid said, appreciating the perfect synchronisation among the musicians.

Hellen Busby wished she could understand the lyrics. “I simply love the sounds.”

Imran Aziz obliged his listeners by singing some requests such as Shahbaz Qalander and Rang reaching out to them and getting them to clap.

The tunes from Imran Aziz let the slow improvisations overlap the gifted vocals of his troupe that would often sustain notes for several seconds while the tabla players drove the accelerating rhythms.