Famous violin virtuoso Ustad Raees Khan, accompanied by tabla nawaz Ejaz Hussain, mesmerised audience at Nescom on Friday by making the western instrument his own through eastern classical and folk renditions.
The duo manipulated the mood of the audience by playing more sombre songs in a higher, cheerful register and playing light songs in a melancholy note, adding individuality to their instrumental covers.
The musical night titled “Saiful Malook” (the sword of kings) was dedicated to Sufi music, and the poetry of Mian Muhammad Baksh. “My favourite form of music and poetry is from the Sufi canon, the richness and depth that is present in Sufi kalaam is unparalleled as it speaks of a higher love not a transitory human emotion,” said Raees, while speaking to The Express Tribune.
Baksh’s Punjabi rendition of the iconic story is indeed an allegory for the Sufi’s journey in search of God. The Sufi poet also made full use of his Kashmiri pastoral background and picked up imageries from rural life. The quality of ethereal landscapes was narrated poignantly by Saifullah, a young singer from Lahore currently doing his MSc. His resounding voice accentuated the spiritual element.
Nahida Begum, one of the organisers, was moved to tears, “The images and metaphors used in Baksh’s poetry are something very unique to Punjabi,” she said.
Begum was not the only one, many others, including men, confessed they were on the verge of tears.
The self-taught artist himself shared that he rarely comes across such opportunities since there are not many connoisseurs of this style.
Raees who is internationally celebrated and has been awarded the pride of performance, said it was heartwarming to see such an appreciative crowd. “In Pakistan, it is not every time that I have such a great crowd, but I think this crowd was especially receptive as the musical night was a novelty for them,” he said.
Meanwhile, some of the most popular numbers from the Bollywood’s bygone days including Talat Mehmmod’s song “Jaltey hain jis ke liye” from the film Sujata and “Mera geet amar kar do” were also played at the event, mesmerising everyone who was present. The audience mostly comprised of writers such as Mazharul Islam, Dr Anwar Siddiqi, Shamim Ahmed, Parveen Qadir Agha, Rena Seerat and Muzaffar Iqbal, who relived their memories of bygone days.
The event was organised by the Parveen Shakir Trust.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 13th, 2012.