France meets Pakistan to share melody
By Peerzada Salman
KARACHI: It was a delightful blend of Balochi folk-cum-spiritual music and French traditional melodies as Akhtar Channal Zehri`s soulful voice lent a unique sound to musical instruments as varied as the violin and the rubab.
To celebrate the Francophonie week and cultural diversity, the Alliance Francaise Pakistan organised a music concert in which The Trio Guerbigny from France and The Pastoral Baloch Group took part on Thursday. It was the last leg of the group`s tour after they had performed in Islamabad and Lahore.
The two distinct set of musicians (French and Baloch) have been playing together for the last eight years, creating music that not many are familiar with.
The concert began with Benoit Guerbigny (accordion and saxophone player) and Akhtar Channal`s vocal exchange signifying countrified background, followed by the uplifting rhythm of the dholak, resulting in a delectable melody. In between the performance, Abdul Haq`s traditional Baloch dance added a colour to the tune.
Then a story of a king from Balochistan was presented, which started off with the lovely resonance of the rubab (played by Mohammad Yameen Salahi), later on joined in by the violins (played by Robert Thebaut and Gabriel Lenoir) indicating the ebb in the tale.
Next was the foot-tapping tune, Dana Pe Dana (made famous in Pakistan by Shazia Khushk). The song proved so inspiring that even Akhtar Channal started to dance with Abdul Haq. But the composition reached its innovative high point when Guerbigny played the saxophone in a soul-stirring manner, complemented by Channal`s spiritual ranting in Balochi and Urdu – tu phool kanwal ka, tu sher ghazal ka .
The jugulbandi between the rubab, banjo (played by Raja Bhai Jan) was a sedate piece, yet retained the flavour of the concert.
Then a couple of instrumentals were presented – one done by only the Pastoral Baloch Group and the other by the whole band. The latter was particularly nice because of the brilliant use of the accordion and guitar solos. In the beginning of the instrumental, one of the acoustic guitars was used as the bass guitar to which the dholak (played by Mohammad Zahid) responded well.
A Sindhi composition on the banjo followed by a French traditional song was also done with a certain aesthetic appeal. And the last item that wrapped up the evening was the spiritual Mast Qalandar Jholey Laal , in which Akhtar Channal sang and recited verses from Balochi, Persian and Urdu poetry, chanting Murshid ka haath thaam ker Allah ka naam lia ker .