Music without borders: Polish, Baloch artistes perform in capital

Audience left spellbound with exceptional performances .


Huma Choudhary April 19, 2015
Maria’s high-pitched notes blended exceptionally well with Khadim’s mellow, deep voice. PHOTO: HUMA CHOUDHARY/EXPRESS

ISLAMABAD: The second Music Without Borders concert, featuring ethnic folk musicians from Poland and Balochistan, took place on Saturday evening at a local hotel.

At the event, organised by the Polish embassy in collaboration with Polish Oil and Gas Company (PGNiG) and Foundation for Arts, Culture and Education (Face), Polish Ambassador Andrzej Ananicz stressed on the importance of traditional music and thanked musicians and audience for joining him in the fusion concert.



Maria’s high-pitched notes blended exceptionally well with Khadim’s mellow, deep voice. PHOTO: HUMA CHOUDHARY/EXPRESS



The performance kicked off with the much-celebrated Balochi folk song ‘Laila o Laila’ with Khadim Hussain on vocals, Riaz Hussain on the traditional dambora and Ashraf Ali on percussion. Sachu Khan, among the last of the old masters of ethnic music in Pakistan who was also awarded the Tamgha-i-Imtiaz a few years ago, was on saroz, leading the ensemble with grace.

Polish musicians joined in and all the pieces played thereafter were infused with Balochi and Polish vocals, performed by Maria Pomianowska, a multi-instrumentalist composer and vocalist from Poland with Pawel Betley on flute along with the Balochi group. The crew was delightfully in sync, creating a beautiful fusion of melodies.

The group enthralled the audience with an upbeat performance as they cheered and swayed with Maria’s high-pitched notes that blended exceptionally well with Khadim’s mellow, deep voice. “Balochi and Polish ethnic music have the same rhythmic pattern,” expressed Betley, while speaking to The Express Tribune. He said that despite language barriers it wasn’t difficult for him to perform with the rest of the band, “I had a wonderful time performing with these artists and thoroughly enjoyed my stay here.”



Maria’s high-pitched notes blended exceptionally well with Khadim’s mellow, deep voice. PHOTO: HUMA CHOUDHARY/EXPRESS



Maria played Suka as well as Fiddle, the forgotten folk string instruments from Poland and switched between the two, depending on the song’s requirement. While sharing her musical journey, she said, “I have travelled across the world only to produce fusion music with local musicians. This is my second visit to Pakistan and I can’t wait to get back to perform again.”

While speaking of folk music lovers worldwide, Sucha Khan said “I hail from a family whose male members hold the ancestral tradition of playing saroz for centuries. My sons were part of the ensemble tonight and we are trying our utmost to promote the dying culture of folk music in Pakistan.”

The captivating performance ended with a short cheerful piece, where Maria sang in Balochi and Khadim in Polish, leaving the audience spellbound.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 20th, 2015. 

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