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PESHAWAR: Rising Pashto Sufi singer Ali Baba Khan released his video titled ‘Malang Abdur Rahman’ to pay tribute to legendary 17th Sufi poet Rahman Baba here on Sunday.

He claimed that his video was the first-ever musical tribute to the great Pashto Sufi poet. After graduating as an electrical and telecommunication engineer from a private university in Peshawar, Ali Baba Khan launched his singing career two years ago by selling out his gun to pay for his debut video.

Directed by Arsh and lyricised by Laiqzada Laiq, the new video with the music arrangement of Daniyal Anwar is expected to register great impact and win widespread public appreciation.

Ali Baba Khan is a goodwill ambassador of Pakistan Red Crescent Society (PRCS) and also runs his own property business in Islamabad and Peshawar. He recently topped all the online Pashto music charts. He said that he wanted to inspire young people through Sufi music to work for a peaceful and pluralistic society.

Ali Baba Khan says he sold his gun to sponsor his first music project

“I don’t earn money through my art. I just want to motivate young impressionistic minds through Sufi music, which transcends the boundaries of three Rs (religion, region and race). Ali Azamat, Salman Ahmed, Rahat Fateh Ali Khan and Haroon Bacha ignited the spirit of singing in him. I continue doing new experiments as it open up ways of creativity,” said Mr Khan.

He said that he had around 26 videos to his credit with one among them being ‘Tasawar’ comprising a fusion of Ghani Khan’s numbers into a Qawwali rendition. He said that six months ago, he performed at an international Sufi concert in Kabul where Pakhtuns immigrants from UK, the US, Germany and Gulf States garnered him unprecedented applause for his unique style. He said that it was for the first time he blended Ghani Khan’s poetry into Sufi tunes.

Talking about home pressure regarding joining music field, he said that his pocket money was stopped and he had to suffer starvation many a times in the university hostel but hard work and devotion forced his family to surrender to his cherished dream.

“I sold out my gun to sponsor my first music project to spread Sufi thoughts for peace and humanism. I was in 6th grade when I participated in a singing completion in school and since then performance on stage remained my dream world,” said Mr Khan. He then along with his colleagues formed a music band called ‘Underground Taal Music Band’ which used to perform at universities to motivate young students.

The rising singer said that although he had started with romantic and Pashto folk music yet it was during a private musical concert that a person gifted him a poetry book of Ghani Khan. Going through Sufi thoughts of Ghani Khan, he said, it changed his entire soul chemistry and he embarked upon discovering a new dream world in Sufi music.

About his future plans, Mr Khan said that he was working on another Sufi project ‘Dar Pa Dar Afghan’ lyricised by Feroz Khan Afridi versifying the endless sufferings of Pakhtuns. “The scope of Sufi music is large compared to folk and pop as it involves both mind and heart,” he added.

Published in Dawn, October 30th, 2017