KARACHI, March 3: The tribute paid to the legendary Hazrat Amir Khusrau by students and faculty of the music department of the National Academy of Performing Arts at Napa’s auditorium on Saturday evening impressed music and poetry lovers to a reasonable extent. There were minor hiccups but the praiseworthy points easily outweighed the shortcomings.
The show got off to a steady start with Khusrau’s ‘Ay ri sakhi’ performed by Napa students. The second item was a Persian ghazal sung by Ahsan Shabbir. It is not fair to discourage the young artist for the simple reason that he does have the voice to sing a ghazal. But the fact is that he looked and sounded nervous and shaky because of which he occasionally missed the beat and had pitching issues. It was a little harsh on the young man to have made him sung a composition one of whose constituents was pure Persian poetry.
Next up was Iram Nafees. She sang two of Khusrau’s famous songs, including ‘Goondho ri maalan’. The girl has a crystalline voice and only needs to work hard to polish her ability. There were moments in her performance when she sounded quite professional and rendered the songs with the right feel. However, towards the end of her act she appeared to be working a tad too hard which affected her singing. Make no mistake, she can sing.
A special item followed in which sitar player Ustad Nafees Ahmed and tabla nawaz Ustad Bashir Khan played a ragini. The recital, as expected, was lovely to listen to since both musicians played with effortless ease. When there were less exciting moments in the taal-mael, both recovered very quickly. The audience thoroughly enjoyed their performance.
Napa student Nadir Abbas has improved by leaps and bounds over the years. This must have been the reason that he was asked to present a khayal in raga ayman. The vocalist seems to be cognizant of the importance of the sur which was why his act progressed cautiously. One can understand that it takes time to build a ‘khayal’ and the singer only had five to seven minutes to wrap up that particular act. He sang very well with the exception that he did not have the time to construct the composition on the level of emotion, something that khayal gaeki demands.
Nadir Abbas was then joined by Ahsan Shabbir to sing the famous ghazal ‘Zihal-i-miskeen makun taghaful’ and this time round Ahsan Shabbir came across more confident. Irfum Nafees then crooned out a few ‘keh mukranian’ accompanied by fellow girl students. Perhaps the most innovative item of the evening came when the students sang ‘Chhaap tilak sub chheen’ in two different ways. The hard work paid off.