Bringing modern fusion of opera, Sufi music to Pakistan

British-Pakistani Saira Peter fuses two of the oldest classical music genres

APP April 16, 2017
Pakistani-origin British singer Saira Peter performs at PNCA. PHOTO: EXPRESS

ISLAMABAD: Opera and Sufi music both enjoy long traditions in their respective regions. One in the west and the other in the east.

It is thus fitting that the person bringing these two genres of music together is someone who hails from the east but was raised in the west.

Saira Peter, a Briton of Pakistani origin and an opera singer, gave a full account of not only her talents but also of a successful integration of the eastern Sufi music with that of western classical opera at the at the Pakistan National Council of the Arts (PNCA) auditorium on Friday.

Celebrating Sufism and promoting the message of peace

She beautifully fused western and eastern music, skillfully singing her opera-infused renditions of popular Sufi Punjabi texts. Peter also presented popular songs such as ‘Mere Dholna’, ‘Awaz dey kahan hu’ Khawaja Meray Khawaja, Teray Mast Mast and other songs, as she showcased her unique combinations of opera music with the teachings of Sufism.

Singing live, Peter mesmerised the audience with bits from classical opera as well.

Opera as a genre has roots in Italy but has been largely absent from local South Asian musical landscape and with hardly any experiments in Pakistan.

Girls help preserve Kashmir's Sufi music traditions

Earlier, the evening started with folk songs by Sachu Khan and his team Laila-o- Laila as they provided a precursor to Peter.

PNCA Director General Jamal Shah appreciated Peter’s venture of fusing opera and Sufi music. Such initiatives, he said, would help educate the world about the real image of Pakistan and would also help diversify the musicscape of the country.

Peter’s concert was attended by a large number of music lovers from the twin cities.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 16th, 2017.


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