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Rambling on: A magical evening

Monday, July 05, 2004

A magical evening

The All Pakistan Music Conference (Karachi Chapter) is doing a marvelous job to promote classical music in Karachi. Appearing at the cultural landscape, as it has, in the wake of the upsurge of violence in Karachi, efforts by this organization to revive the tradition of live concerts in Karachi is a breath of fresh air. Since its launch in March 2004, membership has grown steadily. Being a non-profit organization, for future viability, it deems it necessary that more people become members (annual membership is Rs. 1000 only) Events are free for members and there is always a token of appreciation for them at the live concerts, in the form of CDs featuring rare classical and semi-classical music handed out to members. So it is money well spent. Later in the month, they are planning another event and some Indian artists have been invited for the first time.

The event this weekend was probably the best we have had so far. It featured classical performance by Ustad Zafar Ali Khan of Gwalior Gharana. I was moved by the performance for its purity, energy and earnestness. Live performances take music to another level and you have greater appreciation as feedback from the audience is known immediately.

The nuances and notes that are enjoed are shared experiences as the whole room swoons in sync. I find this aspect important because my knowledge of rules and various techniques about classical music are rudimentary at best. There must be something that I am relating to without being aware of what it was technically. Deeper understanding of music of the ragas is helpful but not a pre-requisite to enjoying music. Exposure to this music in an earlier age helps maybe this why I find the listening experience so natural. It is like someone speaking to you about love if that makes any sense.

The classical segment was followed by ghazal session by Tina Sani. I usually have indifference towards her style but she started with her signature “bahar aayaee” by Faiz and she floored me with another ghazal by Faiz, followed by two (Shakeel Badayuni and Zauq) ghazals that have been originally covered by Begum Akhtar, my all time favourite. All in all a good performance by her but the one by Ustad Zafar Ali Khan remained the highlight of a magical evening.


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