KARACHI: The All-Pakistan Music Conference’s bi-monthly Baithak was held on Saturday at the auditorium of Pakistan Institute of International Affairs, where a packed house listened to well-known playback singer Mehnaz Begum and veteran music composer and harmonium player Niaz Ahmad. Sultan Arshad conducted the proceedings.

Mehnaz started her performance with a ghazal by Ahmad Faraz, followed by one of her film songs, mera peyar tere jeewan ke sung, but received spontaneous applause from the audience when she sang the good old dadra and thumri numbers, such as, koelya mut kar pukar karejwa laage katar and humre aaye hain sanwaria.

It is, however, always baffling to see experienced and proficient singers choosing to present lighter and mundane items from their repertoire after sacrificing the more wholesome and rapturous classical and semi-classical numbers they’ve learnt from their Ustads and perfected after such hard work. There was, therefore, no point in Mehnaz presenting songs of other famous artists, such sas Noor Jehan’s chandni raaten and Iqbal Bano’s dasht-e-tanhai mein, when she has been bequeathed a treasure of semi-classical bandish by her mother, Kajjan Begum.

Besides, most of our artists perhaps do not realize that they, in fact, undo their good performance when they mistakenly find it incumbent upon themselves to sing the fast-tempo damadum must Qalandar at the end of their allotted time. The atmosphere created earlier at once evaporates.

Niaz Ahmad, winner of the Pride of Performance award, as well as 27 other awards from TV etc., is by far the best harmonium player in the country. Two other names that come to mind are Ustad Habibuddin Khan and Sadiq Pindiwalay — both no more with us. Niaz’s presentation of raag Aiman on the harmonium was mesmerizing. And what better accompaniment on the table could be possible than by the one and only Ustad Bashir Khan whose popularity is gaining momentum by the day. The raag was presented in ektala (12 beats) and teentaal (16 beats).

Niaz later sang some ghazals composed by him for Mehdi Hasan and other artists.

— S. M. Shahid

Opinion

Farewell Roosevelt Hotel
21 Jan 2021

Farewell Roosevelt Hotel

It is worth noting that massive plans have been upended and assets are now on the verge of being seized.
A horned dilemma
21 Jan 2021

A horned dilemma

Trump would rather ‘reign in Hell, than serve in Heav’n’.
Violence & Afghan peace talks
Updated 20 Jan 2021

Violence & Afghan peace talks

Many of those killed in recent weeks have actively been campaigning against rampant violence and rising human rights violations

Editorial

Updated 21 Jan 2021

Agosta kickbacks trial

A POLITICALLY significant trial opened in Paris yesterday. Former French prime minister Edouard Balladur is in the...
Updated 21 Jan 2021

Indian media scandal

Common sense, factual reporting and ethics are all chucked out the window in the maddening race for ratings, influence and power.
21 Jan 2021

Rising food prices

FOOD inflation continues to challenge the resolve of the government to control the prices of essential kitchen items...
Updated 20 Jan 2021

Broadsheet judgement

There are plenty of skeletons in the Broadsheet cupboard and they must be brought out into the open.
20 Jan 2021

Unequal justice

IT seems no one wants to testify against former SSP Malir, Rao Anwar. At least five prosecution witnesses, all ...
20 Jan 2021

Schools reopening

THE disruptive impact of Covid-19 on education will be felt for years to come. For countries like Pakistan, where...