KARACHI: Even though she made her debut in 1992, folk singer Shazia Khushk continues to be one of Sindh’s most eminent mainstream musicians.
At a two-day cultural event organised in Karachi, Khushk performed one of her most memorable songs “Mara Udheta Pakhiyara Kadi Aao Na Maare Des” (O my flying bird come to my village for a moment) ten times.
The singer also performed some of her other iconic songs – “Dane Pe Dana” and “Ale Munheja Maroara” – at the request of her fans.
Khushk told The Express Tribune that she received a “glowing response” at the six different events she performed at in Karachi.
The musician debuted in 1992, after she auditioned for a show at her husband’s insistence. “My husband used to encourage me a lot,” Khushk says, “He would tell me that I am the ‘queen of voices’.”
Even though Khushk is originally from Kashmir, she is most commonly known as a Sindhi folk singer. She says her favourites include Marwari songs (folk songs of Thar) and the poetry of Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai.
The past year has seen musicians such as Arif Lohar and Sanam Marvi – who sing in provincial languages – create a huge impact in the mainstream courtesy their appearances on shows such as Coke Studio.
In 1992, Khushk sang her Marwari song “Mara Udheta Pakhiyara Kadi Aao Na Maare Des” for the first time which became very popular. Khushk has also sung in the Sindhi, Dhatki, Sairaiki, Urdu, Kashmiri, Gujrati, Brahvi, Punjabi and Balochi languages.
After performing her first folk song on Pakistan Television, Khushk started formally training with Ustad Ferozudin. She later apprenticed with Ustad Niaz Hussain, Feroz Gul, and Ustad Ghulam Hussain at Radio Pakistan. Khushk also took classes from Mai Soni, one of legendary folk singer Mai Bhagi’s daughters.
Khushk has sung over 500 songs in her career, toured 45 countries and was nominated a ‘goodwill ambassador’ by the former American consul general in Karachi.
The University of Sindh awarded her an honorary fellowship in Sufism and folk music. She has also received a presidential award from the Uzbekistan government. Khushk resides in Karachi with her husband and their twin sons.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 8th, 2010.