14th APMC festival starts at Napa -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

14th APMC festival starts at Napa

Pakistan Press Foundation

KARACHI: Despite gridlock in several parts of the city, the three-day All Pakistan Music Conference (APMC) retained its tradition for the 14th year by hosting an eclectic sampling of classical music performances for the ahle zauq at the National Academy of Performing Arts (Napa) on Friday.

With vocalist Urooj Saami performing raag darbari, the smell of popcorn pervading the venue, and the constant hum of traffic from outside the premises, the audience seemed well-settled for an evening of classical music to feed the soul.

The patronage APMC extends to veteran maestros as well as upcoming performers in this particular music genre may be considered to be shrinking, but for organiser Ayla Raza, that is not the case. She spoke to Dawn about how the thought behind the endeavour is “primarily to enhance the interest in classical music and bring to the fore Eastern thought [and] wisdom as well as the musical tradition it boasts of. Preserving all this for the upcoming generation is also part of the plan.”

And looking around one could clearly see a wide diversity among the audience members. Despite the traffic and the influence of a long working day still lingering, people from all walks of life, and all ages, were present to indulge their senses and appreciate the musical offering.

Among the several performances of the evening, Urooj Saami’s rendition of ‘Mundari’, immortalised for millions by Ustad Naseeruddin Saami on Coke Studio, was one which was instantly recognised by students and young professionals in the crowd. Many were seen murmuring to each other, and discussing which rendition they considered to be superior.

Against this very backdrop, Ms Raza expressed hope that despite the threat to classical music in the past, there has been a revival of sorts with the musical tradition being passed on from the legends to newcomers. This, in turn, is attracting younger audiences too.

The other performer of the night was sitar-nawaz Sajid Hussain who was trained by his father, Ustad Fida Hussain, and uncle, Ustad Kabir Khan. Sajid Hussain is also a senior composer of the ensemble Tarz Group. His eldest son Ustad Sajid Hussain was also part of the performance.

Care was taken by the organisers to not allow the sponsors to usurp the space, but their presence is an indication of how deep the malaise is with regards to the neglect this musical tradition is suffering in the country. Repeatedly it has been stressed that one of the biggest challenges faced by those working to preserve this genre of music is financing. Ms Raza reiterated this fact.

It is important that music and the performing arts on the whole — which are intangible but still very important — be given financial support to survive, she said.

Other performers of the evening were Imran Ilyas, Aliya Rasheed and Ustad Naseeruddin Saami.

The APMC will be held till March 5 at Napa.

Dawn

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