Legends Sain Zahoor, Zarsanga honoured

Published December 10, 2022
Folk artists Zarsanga and Sain Zahoor perform at the Sarangi Night in Islamabad on Friday. — Photos by Tanveer Shahzad
Folk artists Zarsanga and Sain Zahoor perform at the Sarangi Night in Islamabad on Friday. — Photos by Tanveer Shahzad

ISLAMABAD: Pakistani recipients of the Aga Khan Music Awards 2022, Sain Zahoor and Zarsanga, were the highlight of the ‘Sarangi Night’ that was organised on Friday to honour the folk legends of Pakistan.

The Triennial Awards, established by His Highness the Aga Khan in 2018, recognise exceptional creativity, promise and enterprise in music in societies across the world in which Muslims have a significant presence. With the prize fund come opportunities for professional development and recognition.

Zarsanga and Sain Zahoor were named the 2022 Laureates along with 13 other winners globally.

The diverse audience in the packed Sheesh Mahal Hall was a testament to the power of music.

The students of the Lief Larsen Music Centre gave a sweet performance including their rendition of the classicChhaap Tilak Sab Chheeni.The centre introduces young people to traditional instruments, raising awareness and interest amongst the new generation.

Sain Zahoor is a Punjabi musician renowned for singing Sufi poetry at local shrines and festivals.He began his performance with his signature Baba Bulleh Shah kalam,Allah Hu, saying, “I am not an artist, I’m just a dervish and I can only take the Master’s name.”

Zarsanga, the Queen of Pashtun Folklore, has devoted herself to the orally transmitted musical traditions of her region, singinglanday(love poems) and other songs of the nomadic Pashtun tribes.

Speaking on the occasion, CEO of Aga Khan Cultural Services - Pakistan Tausif Ahmad Khwaja said: “This is a 30-year-old initiative in Pakistan and we have done the built up heritage restoration in Skardu, Hunza and Lahore. It was the vision of the Aga Khan to promote not only for entertainment but music for reviving its rich traditions and introduction the new generations to music.”

He went on to explain the rigorous process of selection for the triennial Aga Khan Music Awards.

“The Award is not just a cash prize but a long term relationship and commitment with the laureates,” he said.

Aziz Boolani, CEO Serena Hotels, welcomed the guests, saying, “I thank you all for joining us this evening to honour the award winners. Out of more than 400 submissions, only 15 artists were selected, two of whom are Pakistani.”

“If we don’t promote artists and musicians, this talent will not get the platform necessary to reach a broad audience and we will not be able to preserve our cultural heritage,” he added.

Published in Dawn, December 10th, 2022

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