KARACHI: The city is a safe haven for people belonging to all races and ethnicities, and this cultural diversity was celebrated at the Music Mela-Folk at the International Theatre and Music Festival of the National Academy of Performing Arts (Napa) on Tuesday.

The festival’s first musical offering this season, Music Mela brought to the fore artists with distinct flavours of the different provinces.

Among the several acts, the performance by the band FEW representing Chitral was a big hit. The band is known to perform folk songs with an Eastern and Western twist, and the lead singer Syed Zulfiqar Ali Shah began his performance with a patriotic song. Despite the language barrier, his interactive performance with the audience had the desired effect. The band performed different ballads and folk songs and had the crowd grooving along. Shah also wished the audience a Happy Nauroz.

Directed by Haider Ali Chao, the performances allowed different corners of the country to connect and be on stage at par with each other, letting go of all differences, both perceived and real.

Almost all the performers who were part of the mix were former or current students of Napa, and had been shortlisted after auditions. Though care had been taken to make sure that the Mela represents different cultures of Pakistan, the vocals were not much of a priority. The singers were competent, but most of them were not outstanding. And therein was what was lacking in the evening.

Also, it would have been more interesting had efforts been made to scout out regional performers already contributing towards this craft in a bid to encourage budding and neglected artists.

Ahsan Shabbir, a faculty member at Napa, sang a beautiful Kafi of Khawaja Ghulam Farid and his melodious voice was a soothing antidote to the stresses of the day. The tempo of the evening was immediately charged up by Azhar Ali’s Sindhi performance. Balochistan was represented by Islam Abbas who sang of how a poet is praising and expressing his love for his beloved. Palwasha Mehmood’s performance of a Punjabi song left much to be desired. Ayaz Lakhani’s performance in Gujarati, however, salvaged the evening a bit.

Ustad Nafees Ahmed Khan, head of the music department at Napa, spoke about how the musical performances were carefully crafted and curated to encourage the “meeting” of cultures and people.

Published in Dawn, March 22nd, 2017

Opinion

Back to governance

Back to governance

While PDM has continued efforts to mount political pressure, it has been unable to force a crisis to challenge the PTI government.
Inequality virus
25 Jan 2021

Inequality virus

An Oxfam report calls for radical changes to the economic system.

Editorial

Updated 25 Jan 2021

Where the buck stops

The rights to due process and security of person are accorded to every individual in this country.
25 Jan 2021

PPP’s plan?

THE PDM faces a fresh crisis as the PPP takes a conspicuously soft position on the long march. While the PDM talks ...
25 Jan 2021

Forward guidance

THE State Bank has taken the unusual step of issuing a forward guidance in its latest monetary policy statement to...
Updated 24 Jan 2021

Delayed olive branch

THE PTI government has finally mustered up sufficient political prudence to extend an olive branch to the opposition...
24 Jan 2021

Bureaucracy reform

WHILE the intention behind the endeavour may be lauded, the civil service reform package unveiled by the government...
24 Jan 2021

Minority rights

ON Thursday, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution to safeguard religious sites around the world,...