Pakistan News

A morning with nature and music in tandem

A morning with nature and music in tandem

KARACHI: A baethak among the likes of khayal maestro Ustad Naseeruddin Saami and tabla nawaz Ustad Bashir Khan is a rare opportunity for music lovers to indulge in. And so the All Pakistan Music Conference (APMC) decided to organise an open-for-all event at the The Lyceum early on Sunday morning to broaden the scope and accessibility of the traditional performing arts.

The APMC is a non-profit organisation that aims to be a “critical catalyst for the benefit and development of society” through the medium of traditional arts. Revival, they believe, is necessary to break down social barriers and music is the most potent and powerful device they employ.

However, the baethak was not the only thing at hand for attendees to sample. Accompanying it was an entire farmers’ market, boasting of a range of delectable items that was tantalising the taste buds as well as the pockets of those present.

At one end of the market were different types of fresh catch while at the other was a fruit and vegetable garden. The stalls brimming with organic produce. Pickles and dry spices were being sampled by buyers at certain stalls while at others, home-made soaps were being displayed.

A sense of reverence was extended to the winter morning when Ustad Saami began his riaz. The Ahl-i- Zauq gathered around, eager to be part of the devotion and euphoria the performers exuded from the stage. Even those strolling around the farmers’ market, set up at a considerable distance from the stage, and clearly engrossed in the sampling and tasting of local produce, adopted a muted demeanour and were respectful towards the greats performing.

Ustad Saami is the sole representative of the Qawwal Bachchon Ka Gharana of Delhi in the genre of khayal, a gharana believed to be about 705 years old. He traces his lineage back to Mian Saamat bin Ibrahim and Mian Tanras Khan, one of the original ‘Qawwal bacchas’ and royal tutor to Mughal King Bahadur Shah Zafar, respectively.

Ustad Saami’s performance harnessing the purana andaaz offered a diverse repertoire of his gharana, from khayal, thumri and kajri.

The religiosity and spirituality of Ustad Saami’s vocals were in tandem with tabla maestro Ustad Bashir’s performance and the reverence this form of artistic expression commands could not be undermined.

A strict adherent to purity in expression — shudh bani — Ustad Saami has taught his sons, Mohammad Rauf Saami and Mohammad Urooj Saami, to strive to maintain their distinct identity through a purist ideology; the roots and the originals have been perfected and so they bring as few changes to them, instead allowing modern audiences a sampling of the traditional qawallis. The inherited musical philosophy with the distinct purity of Ustad Saami’s sur had a peaceful and calming effect on the audience and set the tone for the rest of the day.

Published in Dawn, November 30th, 2015

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