Jumbo Editorial Team
The World Music Day, having begun in France in 1982, is celebrated across the world. What has become special about the day is that the concerts are all free and musicians both amateur and professional share their passion with audiences in the various corners of the world. This tradition has also reached Pakistan through the courtesy of Alliance Française.
On this day literally the whole of France could be seen with a guitar celebrating at every street corner. For them it marks the longest day of summer. Now more than 100 countries celebrate it every year on June 21.
The Alliance Francaise in Karachi came alive with the sound of Eastern and Western music beats on World Music Day with s combo of classical and folk music, jugalbandi and fusion was presented by local and French performers. The evening began with the performance of the Karachi Vocal Ensemble, a young group who sang English vintage songs from the ’50s to the ’80s, accompanied by pianist Aisha Tariq who is a graduate from the Tashkent Conservatoire.
The Tehzeeb Trio introduced by Malahat Awan featured classical performer Karam Abbas, vocalist Mumtaz Sabzal on the banjo and Ustad Bashir Khan on tabla.
Karam Abbas who belongs to the Gawalior Gharana, sang classical songs in Raag Rageshri and Darbari along with folk songs that featured Amir Khusrau’s kalam and Mehdi Hassan’s Duniya Kisi Ke Pyar Mein.
The performance of Mumtaz Sabzal who plays the banjo which has been modified from the Japanese instrument taishogoto by his forefathers, was impressive and the jugalbandi between Ustad Bashir on tabla and Sabzal’s banjo delighted the crowd, young and old, with their expert playing.
Ustad Bashir Khan, a maestro tabla player belonging to the Punjab Gharana, and who has also received the Pride of Performance award, performs regularly outside Pakistan collaborating in fusion music with foreign musicians.
The evening’s star performer was Abaji, a multi-talented musician and an accomplished vocalist and instrumentalist who uses his native as well as other instruments with equal proficiency.
He began the performance with an Armenian instrument similar to a flute known as duduk which emanated soft, beautiful notes accompanied by beats from anklets tied to his lower leg.
He mesmerised the crowd with his range and control of voice while singing in his unusual high and low pitched style, explaining in between that the music was soft like the Armenian people. Having introduced himself in a dramatic style he asked Ustad Bashir Khan and Mumtaz Sabzal for a fusion session and was so moved by it that he started dancing to the improvised music.