Music for the soul

June 29, 2020

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Nayab Ali and Inaam Ali Khan from Lahore perform on the second day of Tehzeeb Festival.—White Star
Nayab Ali and Inaam Ali Khan from Lahore perform on the second day of Tehzeeb Festival.—White Star

KARACHI: Some soul searching pieces of classical music marked the second day of the 11th Tehzeeb Festival on Saturday evening.

It should be re-emphasised here that the event was held online, streamed live on Facebook and YouTube which goes to show that classical art and adaptability are not mutually exclusive, provided it’s done tastefully. So kudos to the organisers for succeeding on that count.

The concert began with Ayesha Nadir Ali from Lahore displaying the dhrupad style of singing first in raga bhimpilasi and then with Kabir’s bani in raga kaafi. Without analysing the finer points of her vocal prowess, it has to be highlighted that Ayesha Nadir Ali is a hard working artist. Most importantly, she appears to be passionate about music which will help her go places.

Classical music marks the second day of Tehzeeb Festival

Next up was Asad Qizilbash from Belgium who gave a wonderful performance on the sarod with raga baageshri. He is an accomplished artist who played the composition with remarkable finesse.

After he finished his stint, Tehzeeb Festival’s Sharif Awan lamented the fact that quality artists were leaving the country. Efforts should be made to make the environment more conducive to such pursuits in Pakistan.

Asad Qizilbash was followed by Nayab Ali and Inaam Ali from Lahore. They said they’d sing raga ram sakh, which is usually sung in their gharana (they hail from the illustrious family of Ustad Amanat Ali, Fateh Ali and Hamid Ali Khan). When they finished their composition, the host requested them to sing ‘Kab aaogey tum aaogey’ made famous by their elders, rounding their stay on stage off with a kaafi.

Their last two performances ended a little early than one would have liked.

The last artist of the evening was the distinguished sitar player Ustad Ashraf Sharif Khan from Germany. He chose to play raga bihag. Khan sahib is a modern-day giant. He can make his audience hear the sitar and feel it. He succeeds in doing that because he totally immerses himself in his art. Each note he plays is readily listenable and even if he slides a note or two the audience can feel the light feathery touch.

The ustad is someone whom the younger generation of musician should benefit from as much as possible.

Published in Dawn, June 29th, 2020