PESHAWAR: Noted US-based Afghan artist Humayun Sakhi enthralled the audience with mixed symphonies of rabab in Nishtar Hall here on Saturday night.

The artist he had done two solo performances, one each in Kabul and Islamabad, and his last show in Peshawar left the audience in the jam-packed Nishtar Hall stunned with his rabab melodic tunes.

Cultural Connect, a non-governmental organisation, in collaboration with culture directorate conducted the event to promote peace and universal human values through musical lingo.

Mr Sakhi’s classical, semi-classical and folk tunes sweetened ears of the participants, whose occasional applause echoed through the hall.

Prof Abaseen Yousafzai in his opening remarks said that Shahid Afridi from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa popularised cricket while rabab maestro Humayun Sakhi popularised rabab across the globe.

He said the artist’s family shifted from Kabul to Peshawar in 1992 and then moved to the US in 2001 where he ran a music school for children.

Mr Yousafzai said music was a universal language through which Pakhtuns could translate and transmit their soft image. He added that rabab was one of the most popular stringed instruments through which virtuosos like Humayun Sakhi could transmit the message that Pakhtuns loved music, art and owned an ancient culture enjoying a history spread over thousands of years.

Ramsha Saeed, a student of Islamia College University, told this scribe that she and her colleagues enjoyed the rabab evening and also came to know about its significance.

Kamran Ahmad, a music lover, said that he and his family members were really mesmerised by the solo performance of the rabab artist. He added that such cultural activities were rare in the city.

Shandana , chief of the Cultural Connect, said that Humayun Sakhi performed on world renowned stages all over the globe including Royal Albert Hall in London, Cambridge Hall in New York and the Kennedy Performing Arts Centre in Washington DC and represented Pakhtuns in 30 countries. She said that Mr Sakhi had not only revived the instrumental music of rabab but also popularised it through his unique and innovative compositions.

“We understand that music, being a universal language, could help us connect to the world people where we could tell them that we stand for an everlasting peace, pluralism, tolerance and humanism because this is what we have been practicing for centuries. Our art, folk poetry and cultural values manifest them all. Rabab, being a key instrument in Afghan music orchestra, could best feature what we are,” said Ms Shandana.

Accompanied by Afghan tabla artist Mirwais Kazemi and Peshawar-based tabla player Sabz Ali, Humayun Sakhi played wonderful mixed symphonies on rabab and garnered appreciation from the audience.

Published in Dawn, April 29th, 2019

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