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Govt urged to help keep classical music alive

All Pakistan Music Conference holds an evening for young talent. PHOTO: FILE

All Pakistan Music Conference holds an evening for young talent. PHOTO: FILE

LAHORE: “A large number of people do not listen to classical music which serves as the foundation for all other forms of music,” Saqib Ali Khan, 25, said on Wednesday.

He was speaking after he had performed at the All Pakistan Music Conference (APMC) at the Open Air Theatre at Lawrence Garden. The event, titled Gharanon ki Miraas, provided the young talent and those from classical music families an opportunity to showcase their talent.

Saqib and his brother Qasim Ali Khan, 23, belong to Sham Chaurasi gharana. They have been trained by their father Riaz Ali Khan.

They specialise in the performance of Kalwati and Abogikabra ragas.

“In the absence of a proper institution, platforms like APMC allow young talent to learn the art,” Saqib told The Express Tribune. He said Shafqat Amanat Ali and Sajjad Ali had contributed a lot to popularising classical music. “It is a result of rigorous training that we find such great singers among us,” he said.

Other performers said the conference had helped them polish their skills. “I have been training with my father since the age of 6,” said Muhamaad Afandi, a sitar player.

The 19-year-old said he was student of bachelor’s of science and learning sitar playing at the same time.

He stressed the need for events to promote music. Afandi said he had previously performed at the APMC on two occasions and won as many gold medals.

Saul Arif, 13, who performed teen taal on the table, said he had been learning the art from the age of six. He said he had also performed at the APMC in the past. “It is amazing to see someone so young performing so well,” said Sana Mirza, one of the audience.

There were 31 performances from 6pm onwards.

Ustad Fateh Ali Khan from the Gawaliar gharana, present on the occasion, urged the government to help organise similar events. “We need classical music… this is the best way of teaching music. The ghazal, geet, kafi and thumri rely on learning of classical music skills.”

He said the APMC was the only organisation of its kind providing exposure to young talent.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 9th, 2015.

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