To revitalise cultural heritage, a diverse ensemble of folk musicians, storytellers and dancers from across the country enlivened an evening with a profusion of energy, movement and colour.
The folk music and dance extravaganza titled "Lok Rang" was held at the Pakistan National Council of the Arts (PNCA) on Friday.
Sadia Batool of Potohar region, who emulates the late folk singer Reshma, rendered three of her timeless melodies: "Hai oh rabba nai lagda dil mera," "Akhiyan nu rehn de" and "Kadi te hans bol ve."
Perhaps the only time Batool smiled was while quietly cuing the instrument players to transition from one beat to the next. She was accompanied by Zahid Ali on keyboard, Amanat Masih on tabla, Sajjad Ali on harmonium and Shahid Ali on R-8 drum.
The momentum of the slow-moving evening picked up with the enthusiastic performances of the National Performing Arts Group of the PNCA. They performed the fishermen dance of Makran from Balochistan, the bhangra that is symbolic of the vigour of Punjab, the snake charmer dance and "Dawn to Dusk," a dance depicting a day in the life of the hard-working farmer and expressing joy at a good harvest.
Shahid Mansoor Malangi, son of the famous Mansoor Malangi, performed his father's "Ek phul motiye da mar ke" to an appreciative audience, followed by the mellow numbers "Aaj kala jora pa" and "Keri ghalti huee."
Wahid Buksh, popularly known as Alan Faqir Junior, performed mystic poetry of the poets Sachal Sarmast, Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai and Bulleh Shah such as "Wah wah jiye Shah Bhittai," "Kyun chora hai saath" and "Tere ishq mein jo bhi doob gaya."
Spinning like a dervish and engaging the audience with his enthusiasm, he rolled all over the stage in euphoric motion. Buksh has been participating in cultural musical programmes at home and abroad for about 15 years now.
Renowned storyteller and musician Fazal Jutt energised the audience with his lively performance of "Oye dhol wajda," "Challah" a story from the famous folklore Sohni Mahewal. His powerful oratory, sporadic comic timing and the ability to break into dance amid narration were entertaining regardless of whether one could comprehend the linguistic content. His trailblazing performance inspired young boys performing bhangra near the stage.
PNCA Director General Mashood Ahmed Mirza said while addressing the audience, "We have tried to promote a soft image of the country through cultural activities and enlighten our youth on the role of art and culture in the present day."
Published in The Express Tribune, June 8th, 2014.
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