Intoxicating poetry and timeless music, enriched by Ali Sethi’s voice, enthralled the audience at his concert at the Serena Hotel on Thursday.

Mr Sethi’s expressive performance showcased outstanding technique, particularly with regard to his opening song, Aaqa, which he performed alongside Abida Parveen during a season of Coke Studio.

After introducing his band, Mr Sethi described his journey as a musician, from his time at Harvard University to his decision to pursue music.

He also engaged his audience in a brief musical history of the region, with performances such as the war song Lanka Chalo Ram.

His warm rendition of Mai Jana Jogi De Naal, in which Heer falls in love with the jogi playing a flute, captured the audience. This was followed by Tut Gai Tarak Kar Kay, an upbeat track.

But it was Rah-i-Haq Kay Shaheedon, in which Mr Sethi expressed a range of emotion, his rich vocals dominating the performance and pervading the hall.

He also performed Umran Langian and Aaj Janay Ki Zid Na Karo, which created a tranquil atmosphere. His rendition of Mirza Ghalib’s ghazal Mudat Hui Yar Ko Mehman Kiye Huay was followed by performances of songs requested by the audience.

Meanwhile, audiences left their seats to sit on the floor in front of the stage, to feel more connected to the musician.

“Keeping with tradition, the concert was arranged to emphasise the airiness of vision and importance of dreams,” said Parveen Malik from the Asian Study Group, which organised the event.

Originally published in Dawn, February 3rd, 2017