LAHORE: To celebrate and promote the true spirit of artistic expression in mysticism, a two-day Mystic Music Sufi Festival kicked off at Alhamra Cultural Complex at Gaddafi Stadium on Saturday.
Organised by Rafi Peer Theatre Workshop – a non-governmental organisation devoted to the cause of performing arts – the festival is the 15th such event since the year 2000.
Around 400 musicians from 26 groups of Sufi singers from across the country are expected to perform on stage during the
Speaking at the inaugural press briefing, veteran actor Usman Peerzada, who heads the RPTW, said as an organisation they had never wanted these festivals to become elitist events and always made an effort to make them accessible for the general public.
“Due to the surge of extremism in the country, funding from multinational sources has gradually gone down and festivals cannot be arranged on a bigger level,” he said. “A lot of effort and planning goes into this festival every year despite limited resources. We have requested the Punjab chief minister this time to assist us in reviving the tradition of the World Performing Arts Festival, which has not been held since 2008.”
RPTW Media Cell Director Tasneem Peerzada said the festival would bring together one of the best line-up of diverse groups of Sufi singers to showcase Sufi poetry and music.
“It has also been a great platform for over a decade to bring the best and most inspiring Sufi traditions of this land to the rest of the world. Thus, introducing the peaceful and soft image of this beautiful country and its rich culture,” she said. “This is more important and relevant now during these times of global uncertainty and lack of awareness.”
Tasneem said such festivals provided a vital chance to understand the sensitivity of Sufi poetry, the wisdom expressed in their words, phrases and foresightedness. “Whether it is the poetry of Baba Bulleh Shah, Shah Abdul Lateef or the kalam of Mian Muhammad Baksh and Waris Shah, their message is the same: to promote peace,” she elaborated.
Some of the artist and groups expected to perform at the event include the qawal duo of Rizwan-Moazzam, Akhtar Chinal Zahri, Zarsanga, Shah Jo Raag Fakhirs, Niazi brothers, Nighat Chaudhry, Kirshan Lal Bheel, Mian Miri Qawal, Chand-Sooraj, Goonga Sain-Mithu Sain, Bazam-e-Laiqa, Suriya Khanam and Wahdat Rameez.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 12th, 2017.