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Alia Rasheed

February 21, 2010

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Q. How do you find the Karachi audience?

A. They are wonderful, so loving. Something that is quite rare is their fondness for old songs. I haven't experienced that anywhere else.

It's the first time you have shifted towards other genres of music besides classical. Why?

A. It's not about being heavy or light. It's all about passion. By getting into other forms of music doesn't mean that I'm drifting away from classical. By taking care of their likings, I'm bringing audiences closer to the classical music.

When and how did you start learning music?

A. In 1999 I joined Sanjan Nagar Philosophy & Arts, Lahore, to learn music and started with Khyal. Later I found that Dhrupad is the mother of all classical music and was convinced by Raza Kazim, Ustad Mubarik Ali and Sara Zaman that I should learn it. Unfortunately the kind of institutions that are here are usually of baethak style in Pakistan, quite unsuitable for female singers to learn classical music from. I went to India to learn Dhurpad from Gundecha Brothers in 2001.

Q. Besides singing what other activities keep you occupied?

A. I'm among the faculty members of the Nation College of Arts for the past five years where I teach music. Moreover, I also teach at Sajan Nagar School and the time I save from these regular jobs I invest into music and riyaz.

I sometimes feel what if I hadn't been visually impaired maybe I wouldn't have been blessed with this talent. To me the definition of disability is not something that deals with a person who lacks something physically. For me, real disability is jis ki sooch disable ho, ya jiss ke nazriyat disable hoon.

Q. Are you working on an album?

A. No yet as live performances take up a lot of my time. I have recently sung for a TV serial. Then IBA is hosting the All Pakistan Music Conference at the Karachi Arts Council and I'm among the performers.

Q. Are you satisfied with the support government and private welfare organisations give to the music fraternity?

A. At the government leveI there is still much more that needs to be done. However, it is good to see private organisations such as Mauseeqar promoting music, besides taking care of the musicians. In fact, I hardly find any other organisation that has been working devotedly for the cause. I would like them to step out of Karachi and explore talent.

I would also like to tell parents to let girls have the chance to choose the field of their interest, as they have the ability to work the wonders which they usually expect from their sons. — A.K.