Music, flair and fusion
It made even the most unmusical of individuals move to the rhythm. The beat was groovy, the melody sweet and worth remembering. One had to be there to enjoy it.
American vocalist Mary McBride and noted qawwali singers Farid Ayaz and Abu Mohammad rocked the US Consul-General’s residence on Saturday evening to mark the 9th Daniel Pearl World Music Day in an East-meets-West experimental endeavour as well as through their traditional individual performances. Apart from the two illustrious names in music, pop singer Komal Rizvi also sang a few numbers.
The evening gained momentum as the amiable-looking Mary McBride appeared on stage along with her band members Gregg Bashers (rhythm guitar), Paul Carbonara (lead guitar), Dan Carr (bassist) and the Grammy winner Bobby Lloyd Hicks (drums).
Mary McBride sang her famous song ‘When Will We Know’ to begin proceedings. Those who weren’t familiar with her immediately warmed up to the vocal talent that the young woman has. She got the audience going in a much better way by virtue of her brilliant rendition of a Rolling Stones song Â‘Route 66’. McBride belted it out in a guttural voice (befittingly) making those who know the lyrics admire her even more. As if it was not enough, she further gave proof of her potential by covering none other than the legendary Aretha Franklin’s classic ‘Won’t Be Long’, not to mention one Ray Charles’ song. In all, Mary McBride presented seven numbers (including a bit of Dil Dil Pakistan, rock style) in her first stint on stage.
Then it was pop girl Komal Rizvi’s turn to perform. One would’ve thought that the songs Komal Rizvi chose for the event didn’t suit her style. She started off with Reshma’s classic and difficult-to-do-justice-to ‘Lambi Judai’.
It sort of brought the tempo of the concert down a notch or two. Her next effort was a number titled ‘Yehi Pyar Hai’, which again one felt wasn’t a good idea. She tried to rev up her stay on stage with ‘Lal Meri Patt’ and succeeded in having some boys dance to the tune. Komal Rizvi rounded off by singing a piece together with Mary McBride.
The last item of the evening was the brilliant Farid Ayaz and Abu Mohammad’s qawwali session. They imparted a distinct touch to Mera Piya Ghar Aya and made Tulo-i-Sahr Hai Shaam-i-Qalandar memorable by toying with the beat.
The solo of the tabla player in the second act was something to lend ears to. But it was the last song of the concert which compelled the audience to give the performers a standing ovation. It was a unique sight (and sound) listening to Mary McBride and her band beginning a song and then Farid Ayaz and Abu Mohammad improvising it by throwing in assorted couplets in the same rhythm like Un ka jo kaam hai wo ahl-i-siasat janein and Khusrau darya prem ka ulti wa ki dhaar. The fusion was sheer joy to listen to and gave a heightened sense of achievement to the artists.
Before the concert, US Consul-General in Karachi William J Martin welcomed the guests and said this year the event was not just dedicated to journalist Daniel Pearl who was kidnapped and killed 9 years ago, but also to all those journalists who tried to bring truth and justice to us.