Paris ( Imran Y. CHOUDHRY):- Pakistan Embassy in Paris arranged a Qawwali Evening where guests were treated to a captivating performance of soulful Sufi poetry by renowned Pakistani Qawwal Bakhtyar Ali Santoo and his team.
Ambassador Asim Iftikhar Ahmad in his welcome address highlighted that Qawwali has been in practice since the 13th century and the credit to popularize it rests mostly with Hazrat Amir Khusrau. The Ambassador noted that there was a time when Qawwali was sung only at shrines of Sufi saints but now this form of music is appreciated widely including formal and informal occasions, movies and other events.
Giving an insight in to how the transformation of Qawwali took shape from a ritual function to one of entertainment; from a traditional community event to an international commercial one – the Ambassador credited it to generation of famous Qawwals from Sabri brothers to Aziz Mian and most prominently the supremo Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan.
Pakistan has a diverse musical landscape. Qawwali is extremely popular throughout the country because of its soul touching lyrics and rhythmic melodies, added the Ambassador. Elaborating further he said that when Qawwali is performed in a concert for international audiences who do not understand the lyrics, the driving rhythms become the focus of attention.
Bakhtyar Ali Santoo Qawwal from Lahore, Pakistan who enthralled and mesmerized the Parisian audience is among the leading Qawwals of the new generation and is known for his powerful performances. From his early childhood he had a strong inclination, passion and interest in Qawwali as it gives a message of love, peace, respect and reverence. The popularity of Qawwali is increasing day by day, he added. The beauty of this form of music is difficult to be explained in words. It needs to be felt only.
A large number of people including French officials and friends, diplomats, music lovers and media enjoyed the Qawwali. To the delight of guests delicious traditional Pakistani cuisine was served which made the evening even more enjoyable.
Photos @ Imran Y. CHOUDHRY