LAHORE The Mystic Music Sufi Festival by Rafi Peer Theatre Workshop in collaboration with the Lahore Arts Council kicked off on Friday at Alhamra Cultural Complex, Qadhafi Stadium.

This unique cultural festival, spanning over two days, would feature an incredible line-up of devotional musicians and dancers from across Pakistan. Since its start in the year 2000, the festival has showcased participants from over 22 Muslim countries. This year, the Mystic Music Sufi Festival has brought together a diverse group of Sufi singers from across Pakistan to showcase the music that has been passed down through generations for more than a thousand years.

Sufi music and art performed by artists from every part of Pakistan embodies the true face of our traditions and artistic abilities. It introduces people to various forms of Sufi singing and devotional expressions, giving a truer depiction of a peaceful Islamic heritage.

This festival is dedicated to the loving memory of Faizaan Peerzada, the man whose life is epitomised by the scale, scope, vision and unending hope embodied in the great works that are his legacy.

Sufi music from all corners of the country, tasteful illuminations, a nicely decorated complex and huge turnout of audience helped building the momentum of festival right from the first day. The festival also had stalls offering different items such as embroidered dresses, embroidered bags, jewellery and other things, besides a food court. According to festival management, some 24 policemen had also been deputed at the festival for security.

The opening performance of the festival was given by a renowned instrumentalist from Sindh, Akbar Khamiso Khan. Akbar Khamiso Khan is the son of Khamiso Khan, the legendary Alghoza player. Alghoza is a pair of flutes which are played by the same player at the same time. One flute is supposed to maintain the tonic note while the other carries the melodic line. It is an instrument that requires tremendous expertise and stamina to master.

Khamiso Khan has been the inspiration behind Akbar Khamiso Khan’s music. Mr Khan played a classical tune on Alghoza which is considered difficult to play since it’s a folk instrument. He also played tunes of famous songs such as Lang Aa Ja Patan Chana Da.

A qawwali performance by Badar Qawwals was also captivating. The Badar Ali Khan Qawwal belongs to the Kapurthala Gharana of Jalandhar. His ancestors have been linked with Qawwali for more than 70 years and he has learnt singing from the masters like Ustad Fateh Ali Khan and Badar Miandad.

Kirshan Lal Bheel is from Cholistan and his local language is Marvai though he is fluent in Hindi, Sindhi, Seraiki Cholistani, Rajishani and Urdu. He can sing in all these languages but when he sings in Marvai it brings out the true ethos of the land.

When this report was filed, many singers were to perform such as Sanam Marvi, Saeen Zahoor , Noori Band and Suraiya Khanum.

Published in Dawn, December 12th, 2015

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