KARACHI: Fresh off his debut stint on the eighth season of Coke Studio, Ustad Hamid Ali Khan brims with hope at the state of classical music in the country. Speaking to the press after a performance at the Karachi Arts Council, Khan praised the city’s audiences for their sound understanding of music, reported Roznama Express.
“Classical music is still alive and those who are ensuring its survival should be appreciated,” said Khan. According to the ghazal singer, the past few years saw the genre’s decline, but it has now re-emerged to the fore. Explaining why classical music has particularly gained prominence in Karachi, he underlined the increase in the number of music academies in the city. “There are a lot of music academies in Karachi, which is why we have noticed a rise in the number of classically-trained singers.”
Khan discredited the notion that there’s only a select group of listeners with a penchant for classical music. “Those who think classical music only has a handful of listeners are wrong. Even now, there are more listeners of this genre than any other mainstream style of music,” he noted.
He lamented how classical singers, who he feels shoulder a greater responsibility, are paid less as compared to mainstream musicians. “In Pakistan, people don’t respect our craft and body of work [enough],” he added. Taking aim at the lifestyle and attitude of new generation of singers, Khan said, “Nowadays, singers start thinking really high of themselves after recording just two successful songs.”
Talking about the ongoing revival of the film industry, Khan said he’s also hopeful about the emergence of playback singing. “Playback singing had become obsolete but now it seems that singers will benefit from the revival of cinema in the country.”
In an earlier interview with The Express Tribune, Khan had spoken about launching his own music academy in Defence, Lahore. “Keeping in mind the dire need of promoting music in these tough times, I’ve planned to launch my own academy,” he had shared.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 16th, 2015.