KARACHI, May 6: A mix of rustic Pakistani folk singing and classical raags, capped by the frenetic performance of the mystical Egyptian Zar technique, marked the third night of the International Mystic Music Sufi Festival, held at the Baradari here on Saturday.
Fakir Abdul Wahid Jamali and his troupe, wearing distinctive, flaming orange costumes, was among the first performers of the evening, singing the verses of Sufi poets, including Sachal Sarmast, commonly referred to as the shair-i-haft-zuban (poet of seven languages) for his linguistic prowess.
This was followed by Allah Ditta Lonay Walla, who performed a stirring rendition of one of Baba Bulleh Shah’s kafis.
Next up was acclaimed classical musician Ustad Nasiruddin Sami, who delivered three tunes dipped in a spiritual fragrance. He first performed a composition of Hazrat Amir Khusrau’s in homage to his Pir-o-Murshid, Khawaja Nizamuddin Aulia, Mehboob-i-Illahi. The selection of the tune, as well as the verses that went with it (Gori soye sej par, mukh par dalay kes, reportedly uttered by Khusrau when he reached his beloved master’s deathbed) was timely, as the night of the performance coincided with the 18th of Rabi-us-Sani, the date of Khawaja Nizamuddin’s Urs.
Sami also returned to Amir Khusrau for the second tune, a fine rendition of raag Bahar, while he wrapped up a splendid performance with the stirring Rajasthani Sufi folk song, Kesarya Balam, Padharo Maro Des.
The Bosnian Choir Hazreti Hamza returned on the third night of the festival, organised by the Rafi Peer Theatre Workshop, and what a delightful return it was.
Channelling another kind of energy was the Mazaher Ensemble from Egypt, practitioners of a mysterious tradition known as Zar, which is prevalent in East Africa. Led by four women dressed in traditional garb an accompanied by two male musicians, they started off each tune in a slow, lumbering fashion, but as the rhythm grew faster, the performers whipped themselves up into a trance-like frenzy. And then, silence.