Fusion of folk, jazz draws young crowd
By Peerzada Salman
KARACHI: The second day of the music event that intends to revive the Ustad-Shagird tradition organised by the National Academy of Performing Arts (Napa) saw some delightful East-meets-West kind of music, with groovy innovations and quirky improvisations at the Arts Council Karachi on Monday.
Introducing the evening`s proceedings, Ustad Nafees Ahmed said the programme intended to bridge the gap between classical musicians (who some people think look down upon pop music) and the younger generation of musicians and their work.
Then accompanied by Ustad Bashir Khan (tabla), Nafees Ahmed presented on the sitar an extremely interesting fusion of the famous Lionel Richie song Hello with a Sindhi kafi . It was a unique experience hearing Hello being played on the sitar and then segueing into a local folk tune. The upping and lowering of tempo seemed natural and the nearly packed-to-capacity crowd acknowledged it wholeheartedly. Nafees Ahmed should include this bit in his regular repertoire.
The evening picked momentum when Afaq Adnan (guitar), Jason (drums), Khalid Khan (bass guitar) and Imu of Fuzon fame (keyboard) joined Ustad Nafees Ahmed and Ustad Bashir Khan. What ensued was a high-pitched, well-synchronised and brilliant jazz music with a dash of desi tunes offered by the two ustads.
The renditions, which lasted for several minutes, was thoroughly enjoyed by the audience that mostly comprised young people.
They appreciated each and every cadence of the performance. Every instrumentalist, barring the bassist, played their solo in between and did a nice job. The high point of the rendition came when Nafees Ahmed and the guitarist, Afaq, indulged in jugalbandi of sorts resulting in an enthralling recital.
The same set of musicians followed it with another jazz-like rendition and this time round even the bassist was allowed to go solo, which he did with effortless ease.
The drummer and the tabla player were later left alone on the stage as the other four musicians went off stage to discuss their next act.
This made the crowd insist that the percussionists engage in jugalbandi . Both Jason and Ustad Bashir Khan came into their own and had a random little musical tit-for-tat with such alacrity that it made the audience join in the fun and they egged on each percussionist whenever percussionists rolled the drums or the tabla. It proved to be an auditory treat, which was why both players received a standing ovation at the end of their stint.
Afterwards, the other four musicians rejoined their drummer and tabla player and played a relatively slow composition, but equally impressive.
A piece of critique: Napa is known for starting its shows on time, but this event appears to be an exception.