Khulood’s soft plucking of sitar steals the audience hearts
By Jonaid Iqbal
ISLAMABAD: Hard to believe, but eminent musician and teacher Arshad Mehmood says each artist had found employment.
Talking to the audience at a concert held in the Pakistan National Council of the Arts (PNCA) auditorium late Monday, Mr Mehmood gave the example of Umar Shahzad, a graduate of the National Academy of Performing Arts (Napa), who came all the way from Dubai to take part in the function, though his name was not mentioned in the official programme schedule.
Arshad Mehmood gave a resume of his teaching academy that had completed five years of structured syllabus of theatre and music.
The academy has three-year graduation curriculum for these arts. It was different from the past tradition in which the grammar of singing was learnt by rote in the company of a master. It was a great tradition which produced singers and vocalists of high calibre, who held sway over the music of the subcontinent.
However, Napa has introduced a new kind of discipline and teaching method in arts and this one had borne fruits, as witnessed in students’ excellent performance. The audience enjoyed the charming performances remaining glued to their seats.
The slow plucking of the multi-stringed sitar by Khulood Shafi created drones that stole the audience’s heart away. Ms Shafi is a second-year student in Raag Shudh Bilawal. She was joined Waqas Gulab, a Napa graduate, who has grown to be a perfect performing musician.
One could say the same about all the nine items on the programme card. It was excellent offering to the capital city. As some one sitting in the audience remarked, “it was one of the best music fairs at the PNCA.” He said the credit went to its director general, Tauqir Nasir, who in association with Napa had designed an intellectually stimulating soft image of Pakistani songs and musical tradition.
In fact the next days’ musical fair is destined to be a much grander show, with the participation of eminent sitar exponent Ustad Nafees Ahmad, and tabla virtuoso Basher Khan. Everyone was looking forward to the delectable Jugal Bandi they would be listening Tuesday night.