The 16th Mystic Music Sufi Festival got under way on Friday with music, colours, dance and, last but not the least, a finale performance by Rahat Fateh Ali Khan.

The Alhamra Cultural Complex was packed with youths who seemed particularly excited and also danced along with the performances. The festival has been organised by Rafi Peer Theatre Workshop.

The red, blue, yellow and shimmering gold lights added a surreal effect to the event. The line-up of performances included Muhammad Khan, Sheema Kermani, Arif Lohar, vocalists from Gilgit-Baltistan, Pappu Saeen, Tehseen Sakina and Rahat Fateh Ali Khan.

The evening kicked off with a performance from Balochistan. Clad in their traditional attire, the performers presented Sufi poetry. Though the performance was in Balochi, it was well received by the audience owing to its melodious music.

Next was Sheema Kermani who had the audience swaying along with her during her performance to Sufi numbers such as ‘Aaj rang hai’ and ‘Dama dam mast qalandar’. She performed with a group of girls who all concluded the dance with a dhamaal.

Folk sensation Arif Lohar stole the show with his superb rendition of ‘Jugni’ and a few other Sufi songs. Clad in a black kurta shalwar with golden embroidery along with a group of four drummers, they created magic.

Then came renowned drummer, Pappu Saeen, whose charismatic performance had the audience dancing to the beat of his drum.

Till the filing of this report, Tehseen Sakina and Rahat Fateh Ali Khan had yet to perform.

Originally published in Dawn, February 10th, 2018