British ghazal singer Tanya Wells to perform in Pakistan
Karachi: British ghazal singer Tanya Wells will be performing in Pakistan on the occasion of Pakistan’s Independence Day on August 14.
She imparted this information while addressing the media folk at the Karachi Press Club over Skype from London on Monday. Wells, even though English, excels in singing ghazals and Urdu songs and is adept at South Asian classical music.
At the request of a media person, she sang Mehdi Hassan’s ghazal, “Gullon mein rang bhare”. Had she not been on the laptop screen, none could have even remotely guessed that it was a westerner singing. Her accent was absolutely Lucknavi , even though, as she said, she was still learning Urdu. The intonation and style of the ghazal were purely subcontinental.
She said she had developed an interest in subcontinental music as she was brought up in Himachal Pradesh, India. “I grew up listening to Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and Sufiana Kalam.”
Among her favourite singers, she listed Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Farida Khanum and the late Noor Jehan. She termed Mehdi Hassan the King of Ghazal. “His expression is simply incomparable,” she said. “I was exposed to a lot of subcontinental music, especially ghazal and Sufi music,” she said.
Shahzad Alam of the Karachi-based Asian Performing Arts, one of the sponsors of the press conference, said the main aim of the plan to have Wells perform in Pakistan was to dispel Pakistan’s image as a dangerous place to be in, a haven for terrorists and what not. This was meant to demonstrate to the world that Pakistan was as safe as any other country and that one need have no apprehensions about coming to it, he said.
“We had planned such exchanges earlier too but some incident or the other and the highly exaggerated picture about the security situation in the country sabotaged those plans,” said Alam. “However, after Zarb-e-Azm and the Rangers’ action against anti-social elements, things have improved and we think that it would be safe now to have Tanya perform here.”
Artistes overseas were now more interested in visiting Pakistan, he said. Only the exact dates of her visit had to be worked out, he said.The programme is being jointly organised by Asian Performing Arts and the UK-based British Asian Culture, the director of which, Asif Iqbal, was also present at the press conference.
Wells said that one of the motives of such an exercise was to speed up the integration of the Asian community into British society.