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Renowned folk singer Mohammad Ali performs at Lok Virsa

ISLAMABAD: Renowned ghazal and folk singer Mohammad Ali performed at Lok Virsa as part of the organisation’s new Lok Baithak initiative, which aims revive informal sittings common in traditional, rural communities.
Mr Ali, who is also a semi-classical singer, learned from Ustad Mehdi Hassan, Ustad Shokat Manzoor and Ustad Allah Rakha. He was accompanied on Wednesday by Ustad Nizakat Ali Khan on the harmonium and Ustad Amanat Ali Khan on the tabla.
He performed a number of famous compositions, including Hazrat Shah Hussain’s Maye Ni Main Kinon Aakhan and another composition titled Teri Deed. He also responded to audience requests, performing Hum Teray Sheher Aaey – originally sung by Ghulam Ali, as well as compositions of Tufail Niazi, Inayat Hussain Bhatti, Mehdi Hassan and Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan.
According to the organisers, Lok Baithak events are multifaceted and can be used to serve the multiple purposes of association, camaraderie, entertainment, social cohesion, knowledge-sharing, the creation of disciplinarian and organisational spirit and as a hub of promotion for art and culture in communities.
The programme will be open to people of all ages and ethnicities, and they themselves will be the speakers and listeners with Lok Virsa as the regulator and facilitator. The agenda of the next baithak will also be decided in general meetings.
They said the audience is permitted and encouraged to bring their own musical instruments, and other crafts they specialise in. A Lok Virsa official said singers and musicians among them could sing and play music, while Lok Virsa would contribute by inviting folk, semi-classical and classical musicians or through musical performances. The official said other craftspeople and artists will also be invited to talk about the folk heritage of their respective regions.
Mr Ali said that the younger generation is missing out on a lot. “Music needs to be part of the lessons, starting from home and school. This is the job of schools, which teach English poems on keyboard. There are no professional musicians, and that does not mean it can only be passed down from generations. It is important to know the basics,” he said, adding that he believed music was food for the soul and needed to be part of children’s upbringing.

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