Draped in a multi-toned shimmering chunri on top of her sari, Faryal, a student of classical dancer Indu Mitha, represented Pakistan, while Rosso, a fashion designer and dancer dressed in traditional Indonesian batik attire represented Indonesia. The dance-off between both the dancers set the stage for “Colours of Indonesia and Pakistan 2013,” arranged on Sunday evening.
The cultural bond between both the countries was reflected through a creative amalgamation of instruments and dances at the Pakistan National Council of Arts. An Indonesian cultural troupe comprising batik artists, a singer and a team of instrumentalists and dancers arrived to showcase the diversity and richness of the Indonesian culture to the local audience. Numerous activities are marked on the social calendar this time of the year, as the Indonesian embassy celebrates its cultural month.
The show began with a mystical Sufi song dedicated to those who lost their loved ones during the recent earthquake in Pakistan. The evening picked up with Sajojo dance from Papua Province in which performers danced to the soft beats of angklung and gamelan instruments from Java. Once the audience was familiarised with their beats, a unique merger between the tabla and the sattar with bamboo music from the angklung and gamelan was presented in the next performance, titled “Parhu Layar,” engrossed the audience with the unique tunes produced.
A fashion show by Rosso showcasing batik wear-mostly in subtle earthy hues was much appreciated. The 10-minute fashion show consisted of mostly draped loose tops for women and printed sarongs paired with buttoned down shirts for men. Indonesian Ambassador Burhan Muhammad played the guitar for guests, while a vocalist sang a song dedicated to Muslims suffering in Afghanistan. Covering as much as they could in the short time span, choreographed by Pencak Silat, a combination of ancient martial skills and self-defence in dance form, a unique martial arts display was an interesting watch. The two-hour show concluded with the Indonesian Arabic song Habibi sung by Indonesian singer while dancers from the PNCA danced to the beat.
The PNCA auditorium was packed with guests including diplomats, government officials and culture enthusiasts who had come to the event to witness the diversity of Indonesia.
A message of unity and solidarity between both the countries during troubled times was expressed through the performances.
The chief guest, Information Minister Pervez Rasheed, said the programme gave an insight in to the rich and diverse culture of Indonesia. Ambassador Muhammad said, “The cultural show has been organised with the spirit to make you familiar with Indonesian music and culture. We hope that it will enhance the growing cultural linkages between both the countries.”
Published in The Express Tribune, October 15th, 2013.