April issue 2010

By | Society | Published 9 years ago

If you never heard Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan live, don’t make the mistake of missing out on the other great Sufi singer, Abida Parveen. Her concert at the Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture on March 13 was ethereal.

She began with “Man Kunto Maula,” which sent the audience comprising young people dressed in shalwar kurtas and ajraks, and anarkalis and churidaars into raptures. They applauded with gusto as Abida ran through the whole repertoire of Sufi numbers from “Nara-e-Mastana,” and “Nade Ali” to “Arey Logon,” and each time she broke into “Dum Ali,” they repeated in chorus.

Saving the best for last, “Gharoli” came as an indicator that the night was about to end, but it couldn’t possibly be without “Lal Meri Pat,” by which time everybody was on their feet to dance away the last number of the night.

Abida has the magical ability to draw crowds and raise the audience’s energy levels. However, one wishes her message of love, peace and tolerance would sink into her listeners’ collective conscience, for it was shocking to see a fight break out in the audience — and that too, when Abida was singing “Tu parwana ban ker apni aag mein jal ja.”

Farieha Aziz is a Karachi-based journalist and teacher. She joined Newsline in 2007, rising to assistant editor. Farieha was awarded the APNS award for Best Investigative Report (Business/Economic) for the year 2007-2008. She is a co-founder and Director at Bolo Bhi, an advocacy forum of Digital Rights.