Silence echoes on World Music Day
By Shoaib Ahmed
LAHORE: The film and music industry in Lahore accorded least importance to the World Music Day on Monday as just a single evening by a health club was organised to the effect.
On June 21 — the World Music Day — only two concerts were held in the city, but one of those was the monthly music ‘BaithakÂ’ of Shakir Ali Museum in which folk singer Surraiya Khanum and legendary singer Mehdi Hasan’s son Asif Mehdi performed.
This particular evening was held to pay a tribute to Benazir Bhutto on her birth anniversary and it had nothing to do with the music day.
The other concert held in connection with the music day was organised by Sukh Chan Wellness Club in collaboration with NGO Khursheed Bibi Foundation to introduce new talent. Classical singer Rafaqat Ali Khan led the evening and the chief guest was filmstar Habib.
Expressing their views on the World Music Day, various singers came up with a mix of positive and negative comments about the music scene in Pakistan.
Arif Lohar said folk singing never needed a backing and promotion because this genre had strong roots in the traditional music. He said Attaullah Esa Khailvi and Shaukat Ali were two luminaries in folk singing and relatively less known singers were also putting their share to strengthen folk music tradition.
Mr Lohar said though arts councils were supposed to promote folk music and discover new talent, unfortunately they did not have much funds.
Singer Jawad Ahmed said: “The film industry is almost dead in the country and music industry was also not that vibrant. We have to make sincere efforts for the revival of enriched film and music scene in Pakistan.”
Hamid Ali Khan said it was a wrong perception that classical music was on the decline. He said the genre was not visible because not many programmes of classical music were being organised. People were still learning classical music and `gharanas’ were doing their job but there had not been much coverage by the media.
He said with the introduction of updated technology in music industry the trend of fusion was becoming more vigorous.
Singer Saira Naseem said with the sheer decline in filmmaking the film music had almost vanished but the albums by various new and old singers were still moving things further.
Classical singer Shafqat Amanat Ali Khan, however, had a different opinion. To him, the trend of launching music albums was rife seven or eight years ago but now there had been a great decline in the trend. He said one of the major reasons was free downloading of music from internet.
”Music companies in Pakistan are also not playing a positive role in the promotion of music as they keep albums with them for an indefinite period and do not release them.”
The FÃªte de la Musique, also known as World Music Day, is a music festival taking place on June 21.
The idea was first broached in 1976 by American musician Joel Cohen, then employed by the national French radio station France Musique. Cohen proposed an all-night music celebration at the moment of the summer solstice. The idea was taken up by French Music and Dance director Maurice Fleuret for Minister of Culture Jack Lang in 1981 and first took place in 1982.
Its purpose is to promote music in two ways: Amateur and professional musicians are encouraged to perform in streets. Many free concerts are organised, making all genres of music accessible to the public.