Qurban Niazi sings Sufi verses during a musical evening in Rawalpindi, 2014.
Qurban Niazi sings Sufi verses during a musical evening in Rawalpindi, 2014.

The Punjab Council of the Arts plans to record old songs and kafis rendered by legends in the voices of new talent uncovered over the past few months through competitions, Executive Director Saman Rai told Dawn.

She said Punjab had no dearth of talented singers who are gradually making their mark. Sufi music and folk songs will be recorded live and launched soon in the form of an album, including classics from Dera Ghazi Khan, Cholistan, Potohar, the Seraiki belt, Gujranwala, Faisalabad, Sargodha and Sahiwal divisions.

The idea is to retain the essence of songs of the soil, and record poetry of Sufi poets through new singers, including students studying at various colleges and universities recommended by divisional arts councils following competitions at grassroots.

The Lahore Arts Council organised a musical evening in connection with Independence Day celebrations at Alhamra, The Mall. The gala held to pay tribute to the country on its Independence Day had a red carpet reception for singers, musicians and guests.

The evening started an hour late from its scheduled time of 6pm; even then a considerable time was consumed by introductory speeches and speakers’ introductions.

Almost all speakers highlighted the importance of Independence Day and urged the youth to take active part in making the country more beautiful and a leading nation in the world.

The highlight of the evening was veteran singer Naheed Akhtar, who was a household name in the ‘70s. Clad in a black dress, Naheed Akhtar received a standing ovation as she made her way to the stage. She performed two national songs – ‘Hamara parcham’ and ‘Sohni dharti’.

Fifteen-year-old Ahsaan Ashraf reminded many of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan when he sang ‘Pakistan Pakistan’ keeping the spirit of the song alive. Noted singer Abdur Rauf sang ‘I love my Pakistan’.

Many other singers also performed national songs during the event.

An evening featuring students of Alhamra Performing Arts Academy was held where the artists performed to a large audience in their first public appearance. Vocalists, instrumentalists, actors and dancers presented a variety of performances.

Taleem-i-Balighan, a theatre play was also staged by the students.

Progressive Writers Association and English Literary Society recently held a gathering in connection with Independence Day celebrations at Pak Tea House. Writers Ghulam Hussain Sajid, Amjad Tufail, Rubia Jilani, Parveen Sijal, Ejaz Kanwar Raja, Arshad Shaheen, Mian Salahudin, Prof Anwarul Haq, Raza Naeem, Zahid Nabi, Tahir bin Shahzad, Zahid Chand and others paid tributes to the writers who took part in the Independence Movement.

They said writers such as Allama Iqbal, Ali Sardar Jafri, Gulzar, Abdur Rab Nishtar, Zafar Ali Khan, Amrita Pritam, Ismat Chughtai, Makhdoom Mohinuddin, Sajjad Zaheer Ahmad Ali and others supported the Two-Nation Theory and Pakistan Movement, which played a pivotal role in gaining a new state.

They lauded the role of literary journals like Naqoosh, Savaira and others for promoting literature of struggle against foreign occupation.

Originally published in Dawn, August 19th, 2018