Tehzeeb Festival 2012: Celebrating the sound of sarangi

Published: October 4, 2012
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The foundation takes initiatives to promote classical music in Pakistan. PHOTO: FILE

The foundation takes initiatives to promote classical music in Pakistan. PHOTO: FILE

The foundation takes initiatives to promote classical music in Pakistan. PHOTO: FILE The foundation takes initiatives to promote classical music in Pakistan. PHOTO: FILE
KARACHI: 

Known for preserving the art of classical music in the country, the Tehzeeb Foundation of Pakistan promises yet another music festival.

While the foundation gathered famous sitar players from all over Pakistan along with Grammy award-winner Vishwa Mohan Bhatt earlier in 2012 to perform at the Tehzeeb Sitar Festival, this time around, the theme is different; the magical sound of sarangi will be explored in a two-day festival that will take place on October 6 and 7 at the Marriott Hotel.

Malahat Awan, president of the foundation, disclosed that the event will cover numerous musical and theatrical performances. Artists such as Ustad Naseeruddin Saami, Noor Zehra Kazim, Ustad Bashir Khan, Ustad Shafqat Salamat Ali Khan, Mumtaz Ali Sabzal and Shahid Hameed, along with others from Pakistan; Ustad Ashraf Sharif Khan from Germany and Vidya Shah and Kamal Sabri (Sarangi Nawaz) from India.

“My performance ‘Dance of the Desert’ that featured six sarangi players back home [in India], was nominated for a Grammy in 2006,” said Sabri, at a press conference. “It would be interesting to create the same thing with sarangi players here in Pakistan.” The festival will also feature a performance choreographed by Sheema Kermani and her students, called the “Story of Indus and its music”, but the highlight of the festival will be Sabri’s “Sarangi Ensemble” — a collaboration of seven sarangi musicians from India and Pakistan.

Sabri appreciated the efforts of the Tehzeeb Foundation for organising festivals which serve the purpose of preserving classical music. “There is a notion in India that classical music in Pakistan is dying,” he continued. “However, Tehzeeb is proving us wrong.”

Sharif Awan, the general secretary of the foundation, said: “I know a lot of sarangi players who have switched to playing the violin instead — they either couldn’t afford one [sarangi] or never bothered replacing their old sarangis if they broke.” He sounded concerned about the current situation of classical musicians in Pakistan and pointed out that grave steps need to be taken in order to preserve this rare heritage.

Moreover, he revealed that the foundation is trying its best to facilitate classical musicians by giving them scholarships to go abroad and learn the dynamics of the instrument and even providing financial support to the parents of young musicians, in order for them to continue their training in this dying institution.

According to the press release, the official launch of “Indus Raag” — a prestigious musical collaboration featuring artists from India, Pakistani, UK and Germany — will also take place at the Tehzeeb Festival 2012.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 5th, 2012.

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