Wali Fateh Khan performs at the festival - White Star
Wali Fateh Khan performs at the festival - White Star

A night of classical music featuring some of Pakistan’s greatest classical musicians was held at the Pakistan National Council of Arts (PNCA) on Saturday as part of the ongoing National Music Festival.

The programme included well-known musicians such as Ustad Fateh Ali Khan, Ustad Badur Zaman – a recipient of the President’s Pride of Performance in classical singing and developing innovative ways of presenting khayal, Ustad Sultan Fateh Ali Khan from the famous Patiala gharana, Rustam Fateh Ali Khan – the grandson of legendary classical singer Ustad Salamat Ali Khan and son of the late Sharafat Ali Khan, Shujat Ali Khan.

Other performers included Ustad Ejaz Tawakal from the Gwalior gharana – considered one of the oldest khayal gharanas and Ustad Fateh Ali Khan Hyderabadi from the Gawaliyar gharana.

Qadir Shagan and Muslim Shagan from the Gawaliar gharana also performed khayal gaiki, while Meena Syed performed thumri.

The performances were captivating throughout, and the festival on the whole boasts some of the best classical, pop, ghazal, qawwali and Sufi music in the country.

Sitting in the PNCA’s open air theatre during the classical music night, Hina Hashmi said life felt like a festival. Her sister, who has been attending the music festival for the last two days and was particularly excited about Saturday night’s programme, remarked: “This is how magic works.”

The evening concluded with a message from the PNCA director general, who urged young musicians to learn from living legends so classical music may continue and flourish. The organisers said the promotion of cultural activities is necessary for peaceful coexistence in society.

Originally published in Dawn, April 21st, 2019