Sufi road show: Musical evening takes audience into mystic trance

Folk artists from across the country perform at PNCA.

Huma Choudhary May 19, 2015
The event was organised by the Rafi Peer Theatre Workshop, PTV and the information ministry. PHOTOS: PHOTO: HUMA CHOUDHARY/ EXPRESS


A Sufi Road Show enthralled a packed hall at the Pakistan National Council of the Arts on Monday evening. Organised by Rafi Peer Theatre Workshop in collaboration with Pakistan Television Corporation and Ministry of Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage, the mystical musical evening featured renowned Sufi and folk musicians from around the country.

The evening kick-started with Akbar Khan on alghoza and Waris Ali Baloo on the tabla. Dressed in traditional Sindhi ajrak, the duo brought some great Sindhi classical folk tunes while performing mellow instrumentals.

Next up was Saeen Zahoor, an award-winning Sufi musician from Lahore who has performed at various shrines in Punjab. Zahoor danced as he sang Bulleh Shah’s kalaam, accompanied by two musicians on tabla, one on the dhol and three on backing vocals.

Akhtar Chanal entered the stage swirling and singing, making him an instant hit with the audience. The world-recognised Baloch Sufi singer and instrumentalist started with “Jhoolay Laal” on dambora, with one of his band members playing drums, while other two sang and danced to the beat. Chanal ended his performance with an upbeat “Danay pe Dana.”


Ustad Krishan Laal, a multilingual folk musician from Cholistan who sings in Cholistani, Siraiki, Punjabi and Urdu also performed with his crew. His “Maujan Hi Maujan” was the most enjoyed by the audience, where his group used props such as mud pots and pans along with a fire show.

Shaukat Dholia, an eminent dhol player, who performs at Baba Shah Jamal’s shrine in Lahore, rocked the stage with Ayaz Hussain, a nagara player from Sindh, as they did a power-packed fusion of Punjabi and Sindhi dhol beats.

The last performance was by Mehbood Mian Miri, a qawwal group from Lahore, who used to perform at Mian Mir’s shrine in the Punjab capital before the Data Darbar bombings in July 2010. Beginning with “Allah Hu” and moving to Amir Khusro’s “Nami Danam Chi”, the ensemble ended their performance with a short tabla and harmonium performance, leaving the audience in a mystical trance.

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


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