LAHORE: Young Pakistani musician Jibran Raheel, who recently won an international music show in Turkey, is now working on his first Sufi album.

Raheel beat 36 singers from 28 other countries performing in 12 languages to clinch the top spot on the show, IC Star, telecast on the digital platforms of a Canada-based streaming service, ICTV Network. Some of the other nationalities participating in the show were Bosnia, Egypt, Indonesia, Canada, Syria, the US, Jordan, Spain, Albania, Turkey, Lebanon, Tunisia, Iraq, Iran, Morocco, Palestine, Tanzania, Kosovo and Libya.

The show was recorded in Istanbul, Turkey, and besides a glittering trophy, Raheel took home a cash prize at the finale that was aired on March 31.

The show was judged by a panel of five musicians from various nations: Najam Sheraz from Pakistan, Mesut Kurtis from Turkey, Humood AlKhudher from Kuwait, Salwa Najam from the UK, and Ilyas Mao from Canada, who were clearly mesmerised by the performer’s rendition of four Sufi songs at the finale, including ‘Allah Hoo’, ‘Wohi Khuda Hai’, ‘Kadi Aa Mil Sanwal’ and ‘Bismillah’.

About his experience on the show, the ‘Jhoota Pyar’ singer called it amazing because he was representing Pakistan on a global platform.

“It was great educating them about Pakistan. Some of them only knew the country through Imran Khan, otherwise they were unaware of anything about Pakistan. But the best part was understanding the music of other regions and genres and working with a foreign production,” he told Dawn over the phone from Istanbul.

He further shared that he was the only Pakistani shortlisted from 4,500 auditions submitted from the country. But music has no language, the artist maintains, which he said he truly realised after performing in front of people from various countries and when they all responded to the beats, notes and tunes of his songs.

“They could connect despite not knowing the language.”

Not taking time off following the victory, Raheel immediately got down to working on his first Sufi album, of which the first single will be released very soon.

“It will be all about praising God. There will be hamd, some songs about positivity,” he told Dawn.

Published in Dawn, April 24th, 2022

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