Maestro sings existence of classical music to Virsa

ISLAMABAD: Ustad Shafqat Ali Khan, a renowned classical singer of Sham Chaurasi Gharana presented an outstanding performance in a live concert here on Wednesday night at Lok Virsa media studios that was cheered by huge crowd.National Institute of Folk and Traditional Heritage, popularly known as Lok Virsa and Ministry of Culture organized the event under its popular musical series titled, ‘Documentation of Genealogical Musical Families of Pakistan’. The event was an on-going initiative of Lok Virsa under joint institutional cultural cooperation between Pakistan and Norway.Federal Minister for Culture, Science and Technology Pir Aftab Hussain Shah Jilani addressing as chief guest on the occasion said, ‘PPP’s government is determined to promote and safeguard all components of tangible and intangible cultural heritage of Pakistan including folk and classical artists, musicians and craftspeople’.Appreciating the support extended by the Norwegian government for the promotion and preservation of Pakistan’s traditional culture, the minister said, ‘we enjoy cordial relations with Norway that are growing day-by-day. We are indebted to the Norwegian government, specially the Norwegian ambassador to Pakistan and his dedicated team for their continued cooperation and support in our efforts aiming to strengthen indigenous culture and folk traditions’.The minister also lauded the services of Lok Virsa as a unique cultural organization striving hard to document and preserve the culture of Pakistan in such a professional manner. In his message Norwegian Ambassador to Pakistan Robert Kvile said, ‘Norway attaches a great importance to the cultural development of Pakistan. Culture is our priority area because our objective is to help preserve and promote Pakistan’s rich cultural heritage. There are many bonds that have been created by several years of cooperation by citizens of Pakistani origin residing in Norway. The core of our relationship, development and cooperation has entered in its fourth decade’.The ambassador said that culture is important and encompasses a lot. Culture also plays an important role in the art of communication. ‘We see people without a common language that communicate through different types of cultural expressions like dance, music, pictures, literature and handicraft. We see culture breaking the ice between different tribes and nations,’ Kvile said.Underlining the importance of the programme, Lok Virsa’s Executive Director Khalid Javaid informed that Lok Virsa launched this musical series in the year 2008 under Norwegian funding with an objective to encourage youngsters in the families of known folk, classical and semi-classical artists to continue practicing the art that they inherited from their elders. It is a humble effort of Lok Virsa not only to pay tribute to the icons of Pakistani musical heritage but also to provide an incentive for their families, Khalid maintained. Ustad Shafqat Ali Khan began to croon khayal followed by thumri, bandish, dadra, kafi, ghazals making rich music profound and enjoyable.

The performance of Khan was highly appreciated by the audience on the occasion, who rendered ragas, ghazals and Sufi music alongwith Udai Mazumdar on tabla. The audience repeatedly cheered Shafqat as he sang Urdu and Persian poems of Sufi poets including Amir Khusro, Bhulley Shah and Mirza Asadullah Khan Ghalib and also presented Thumri and ghazals. Thanking the organisers, Shafqat stressed the need to keep alive the glory of classical music. Shafqat Khan is one of the leading vocalists of classical and Sufi music of Pakistan hailing from Sham Chaurasi Gharana. His father Ustad Salamat Ali Khan and uncle Ustad Nazakat Ali Khan, the maestro of classical singing, belong to the tenth generation of the Sham Chaurasi School. Shafqat began performing at the age of seven. He has performed throughout the world and has received numerous awards. In 2009 the president of Pakistan conferred upon him pride of performance award in recognition of his talent. His father Ustad Salamat Ali Khan was twice the recipient of the same award and also received Sitara-e-lmtiaz.Around the 20th century, this Gharana was represented for his dhrupad singing. His sons, Ustad Nazakat and Salamat Khan were to become particularly well known for their duet singing. After the independence of India and Pakistan in 1947, Ustad Vilayat Khan (Shafqat’s grandfather) moved to Pakistan and settled in Multan (the city known for its Sufi saints). There they learnt ‘Multani Kafi’ and perfected the art of delivering Sufi poetry.Ustad Shafqat belongs to the eleventh generation of the Sham Chaurasi Gharana.A large number of people from different walks of life including music connoisseurs, intellectuals, artists, and general public attended the show with great interest and thoroughly enjoyed the music. Famous TV anchor, Dr Umar Adil conducted the show who described Ustad Shafqat Ali Khan as the great exponent of Sham Chaurasi Gharan – Dailytimes