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KARACHI: A night of classical music was arranged at the National Academy of Performing Arts (Napa) on Friday where two young classical singers were given the stage and performed alongside veterans.

“Nashist” featured Akbar Ali and Intezar Hussain, and both singers were accompanied by Ustad Bashir Khan on the tabla, Idrees Hussain Khan on harmonium and Akhtar Hussain Khan on the sarangi.

Ustad Nafees Ahmed shared his delight at being part of a legacy that was working to groom the future generation of classical music performers. “The main thrust of the evening is to highlight how much these young performers have learnt and progressed, as well as how much more is needed for them to learn.”

Akbar Ali belongs to the Jalandhar Nalan Gharana and began his study under his father Bashir Ahmed Khan, who was a talented qawwal in his own right. His brother is renowned Pakistani singer Javed Bashir.

Coming to perform from Lahore, Ali performed the Raag Bageshri in an individualised style that caught the attention of the audience. Ali’s distinct style was refreshing and greatly applauded. On the special request of Ustad Nafees, he also performed the shudd saarang.

Napa’s faculty member Intezar Hussain, who learnt music from Ustad Ilyas Khan of Patiala Gharana, also performed on Friday. Raag Abhogi, which is believed to be not chosen by many to perform as it has a lot of gaps and thus is harder to master, was a befitting choice for Hussain. He masterfully handled the notes and gave an arresting performance.

It was heartening to see how veterans accompanying the young classical singers had come together in support of the youngsters as well as for the art form.

Special mention of the evening goes to Ustad Akhtar Hussain Khan who has managed to remain steadfast to the sarangi, a fast-fading instrument. The audience was in for a treat when he performed on the instrument alongside Ustad Bashir and Idrees Hussain, working still to prevent the sarangi from being lost in oblivion.

Published in Dawn, April 23rd, 2017