In tribute to the rich cultural and folk heritage of Punjab, a music and dance concert was organised at the Pakistan National Council of the Arts on Monday evening.
A group of folk dancers from Multan opened the show with the Seraiki jhoomar, ghora raqs (horse dance) and bhangra. Clad in bright yellow and red matching kurtas, lachas and waistcoats, they donned pink turbans. Moving to the rhythms of dhol and castanets, they invited generous applause from the small audience.
Without much ado, folk singer Shaukat Manzoor took to the stage, accompanied by Ishtiaq Sadiq on harmonium and Amanat Ali on tabla. Manzoor, who has been singing for the last three decades, is the son of Ustad Rehmat Ali Khan of the Kapurthala Gharana and a disciple of Ustad Salamat Ali Khan of Shaam Churasi Gharana. Besides folk tunes, he also has command over kaafi, ghazal and sufi compositions.
Opening with Sufi poet Waris Shah’s “Heer,” he went on to perform a mix of folk songs including his own wildly-popular, “Koka Pindiyon aaya.” With his animated expression and lively gestures, he warmed up to the audience with each subsequent numbers. Requests kept on piling as the enthusiastic audience called out for their favourite tunes.
“Don’t bore us with these, sing some tappay!” yelled out an audience member, who stood out for sporting a Jinnah Cap, in the dimly-lit auditorium. Manzoor responded with a smile, saying, “Nobody seems to mind them abroad, it’s only here that people want to listen to other genres,” as he mesmerised the audience with his eclectic renditions.
“Shaukat Manzoor has a beautiful and melodious voice. I loved his own composition but it was a bit unfair to wait an hour for the show to start,” said Rafiya, an audience member.
Seema Khan of the Mousiqar Welfare Trust said the event aimed to keep the tradition of folk music and dance alive. “The traditional music of the Indian Subcontinent is threatened not only in the country but the world over.” The show was a humble effort to rekindle the spark in the hearts of the audience, she added.
The trust which works for the preservation of folk traditions, particularly music and dance, plans to hold similar events based on the cultures of other provinces and regions.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 9th, 2013.
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