Two years on, musicians still find it hard to cope with Amjad Sabri's passing

Published: June 22, 2018
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Amjad Sabri. PHOTO: FILE

Amjad Sabri. PHOTO: FILE

LAHORE: Qawwali maestro Amjad Sabri was shot dead when his vehicle came under attack on June 22, 2016. The untimely death of the renowned musician left many of his fans and contemporaries heartbroken.

Amjad was travelling from his home to a TV studio to attend a Ramazan transmission, when a motorcycle pulled up from the back and the two riders opened fire.

The then 45-year-old artist cemented a unique identity in qawwali singing all around the world. It was he who took the family name forward, carving a more popular and less niche identity for generations to come.

Suspects accused of killing qawwali maestro Amjad Sabri and MP personnel. PHOTO: PUBLICITY

Suspects accused of killing qawwali maestro Amjad Sabri and MP personnel. PHOTO: PUBLICITY

While his absence left a huge void in the music industry, it was even more shocking for those who knew him personally. “It is a sad day for qawwali when a beautiful and humble soul such as Amjad Sabri was killed without any reason. He was innocent,” renowned qawwal brothers Shair Ali and Mehar Ali told The Express Tribune.

“We remember the days when his father and uncle introduced a new trend in the field of qawwali. It was the same trend that Amjad planned to taking forward but these cruel people killed him. He was like our son and we are extremely proud of him for all the love he received globally.”

Artists condemn killing of Amjad Sabri, demand government to take action against perpetrators. YOUTUBE SCREENGRABArtists condemn killing of Amjad Sabri, demand government to take action against perpetrators. YOUTUBE SCREENGRAB

Folk singer Shoukat Ali shared he still has no words when he thinks about Amjad’s passing at such a young age and at the peak of his career. “What we lost after losing Amjad Sabri is unexplainable. He was a diamond and was killed when he started shining. Our beautiful memories are not just associated with him but with his family as well. Whenever we saw him perform, he reminded us so much of his father, Sabri saab, that I felt he was right there in front of my eyes.”

He added that it still feels like yesterday when Amjad died. “It is painful that he is no more. It still feels like it just happened yesterday. He lives in our hearts. His work and contribution is our asset. He has left a plethora of inspiration for young qawwals.”

Amjad was considered the torch-bearer of the  Sabri family. He was the son of legendary qawwal, Ghulam Fareed Sabri and nephew of Maqbool Sabri – both of whom together became known as the Sabri brothers.

Famed qawwal was shot dead in Karachi on Wednesday. Famed qawwal was shot dead in Karachi.

Music director Raza Shah stated that the Sabri brothers were the pioneers of qawwali in Pakistan. “It was the two brothers who supervised this genre of music in the country. They introduced their own distinctive style of singing qawwali that was famous among listeners. Following his father’s footsteps, Amjad introduced another style of qawwali that was accepted by public and at such a young age he did a lot for music,” he said.

Amjad was born on December 23, 1976. He was gunned down when he was at the peak of fame. Besides Pakistan, the Coke Studio singer performed in countries such as the US and UK among others. Some of the most famous works of the Sabri brothers include Tajdar-e-Haram and Bhar Do Jholi, both of which were reworked by Amjad for the modern audiences.

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