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Allan Faqir Jr performs at a musical night in Islamabad.–Photo by Dawn

ISLAMABAD: Friends, music lovers and culturally curious diplomats gathered at Kuch Khaas to experience something that all folk music fans knew would be a soul-pleasing performance.

The singing and dancing possessed such spirit and authenticity that, according to the audience, it deserved an abundance of praise. Allan Faqir Junior on stage did just that, transforming rough days at work into a memorable and music-filled night.

The hour-long concert was arranged by the Institute to Preserve Art and Culture (IPAC), formed by a group of youngsters, to pay tribute to the late Allan Faqir, probably the best known and loved of all Sindhi folk musicians.

Among those who paid homage to this legendary artist was one of his passionate followers and best imitator Allan Faqir Junior. And as the organisers had promised, the performance was full of energy in the typical style of Allan Faqir with singing, comedy and dance all in one.

Singing and dancing with his signature peacock-tailed Ajrak turban, it was not long before Allan Faqir Jr had the audience in the back rows on their feet.

The evening began with the three musicians - Mohammad Akhtar on harmonium, Mohammad Akram on Dholak and Sajjid Ali, the accompanying folk singer playing manjira - settling down on stage and tuning their instruments. Soon after, Allan Faqir Jr danced his way down the aisles where a round of applause and cheers from the joyous audience greeted him. His uncanny ability to deliver Sufi saint Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai’s dynamic poetry with emotion and excitement and a warm voice did the rest of the magic. And truly amazing was the atmosphere when he sang huma huma, that famous song late Allan Faqir performed with Mohammad Ali Shehki back in the days.

The performers were capable of seamlessly crossing the realm of music to emotional connection, drawing their listeners in with their rich and pleasant sounding folk sounds. Their love for the music they played and the conviction of their delivery exceed the expectations of the audience.

Encouraging the emerging singers, Allan Faqir called Natasha Humera Ejaz to the stage to perform with him the Sindhi Waee style of music.

The force behind IPAC, Umair Jafar, who also brought the show together, said: “The idea is to preserve and promote traditional forms of art and cultural heritage of our country. We had specially asked Humera Ejaz to come and perform with Allan Faqir to encourage the new artists and give them the confidence they need.”