February Issue 2013
While many in the city stayed at home on the night of a strike, a small segment of Karachiites made their way to a musical evening at the Alliance Francaise on January 18. The event, called A Night of Fusion, was held to commemorate the 50th anniversary of friendship between France and Germany (The ElysÃ©e Treaty) and was organised by Tehzeeb Foundation, Alliance Francaise and Goethe Institute.
First up was multi-talented musician Abaji from France, who had just flown into Karachi from Nepal. He played a variety of instruments, ranging from a bouzouki to a saz to an oud, informing the audience a little bit about the history of each of his instruments. His background is as eclectic as his collection of musical instruments, since he is of Armenian, Greek, Syrian, Lebanese and Turkish descent. Abaji got the audience humming and clapping along to his beats and watching him, one could see his love for performing.
Next up was Mehmet Ergin, a German musician of Turkish, Hungarian and Czech background. He played three soft, sublime solo compositions on his acoustic guitar. Ergin does not sing, but lets his guitar tell the story instead.
Abaji later joined Ergin for a piece that the former wrote with his mother called ‘The Child is Gone,’ which the crowd really seemed to enjoy. Ergin played his guitar, and Abaji sang with his bouzouki. Both performers are very different in composition style and attitudes, so their union offered the best of both worlds.
For the final act, renowned vocalist Ustad Naseeruddin Saami and tabla maestro Ustad Bashir Khan joined the international musicians for some of the most memorable music of the night, which included a rendition of ‘Khabaram Raseeda Imshab.’ As it was live, some of the music was improvised as well. The musicians wrapped up the set, and everyone left in good spirits.
The writer is a journalist and former assistant editor at Newsline.