The National Institute of Folk and Traditional Heritage (Lok Virsa) is making efforts to preserve and promote the provincial culture of Pakistan.
It was in this light that Lok Virsa held a music festival titled ‘Revival of Suroz’ on Friday night in collaboration with College of Youth Activism and Development (CYAAD) and Small Grants and Ambassador’s Fund Programme (SGAFP) at its open air media centre.
Young people, trained to perform the Suroz, played the bowed string instrument to the beats of famous folk Baloch and Pashto music, such as ‘Shinwari lawangeena’ and ‘Bibi Shirin’ among others.
Senator Hasil Bizenjo of the National Party was the chief guest while actor and painter Jamal Shah was the guest of honour. Other attendees included cultural attaches from the Danish embassy and students of Bolan Medical College (BMC).
The Baloch crowd became passionate as they were filled with pride upon hearing their ethnic music. The male students of BMC performed traditional the Pukhtun dance, Atan, which involves moving in circles, switching alternatively between hand and feet movements.
Bizenjo spoke on the importance of music in promoting Balochi culture as well as in liberating youth.
“Baloch region and culture are not given the recognition they deserve, hence we started Balochistan Cultural Project with the purpose of reviving our pluralistic society” said Lok Virsa Director Fouzia Saeed.
“Music is the highest form of expression. Balochi people, in their music, use pathos of pain and angst that surrounds Balochistan, to express themselves with love,” remarked Shah.
“Religious revolutions and wars starved people from all forms of art, turning them into zombies. Such lack of art and culture deprives people of a cultural narrative, which is supposed to carefully bind them together,” he added.
Among the male dominated group of performers, was also a woman of Baloch origin, named Tania. It was a novel yet courageous occurrence for a Baloch woman to be performing in front of a crowd, although she had her face covered.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 9th, 2015.