Abu Muhammad and Farid Ayaz with their troupe - Photo by Ali Khurshid

Monday, August 30, 2010
By Abid Hussain

A devotional night of spiritual cleansing was planned by Peace Niche and Omar Asghar Foundation to generate funds for floods victims as well as provide the audience with the mystical Nirvana in the shape of Farid Ayaz and Brothers, one of the foremost practictioners of Qawwali, the traditional genre of Sufi music in South Asia.

With the lingering shadow of their famous father Munshi Raziuddin Qawwal, and the venerable Qawwal Bacchoun Ka Gharana, their forefathers; brothers Farid Ayaz and Abu Muhammad have held aloft the torch of Sufi music and have captivated their audience across the globe with their thrilling performances.
This night was no exception either, as the crowd was treated to a vast body of some of the most epic Kalaams by Amir Khusrau, Maulana Rumi, Hazrat Kamil Shuttari, and other Sufi saints.

As the warm night welcomed the audience that filtered in the vast courtyard of a local art school, the troupe began their performance with an unusual choice of Hazrat Amir Khusrau’s Kalaam, “Tohi Surat Ke Bal Hari”.The first number was a slow burner of sorts, gently garnering the audience’s attention which started to sway in unison as the Qawwals started to work their magic.This was followed by one of Hazrat Amir Khusrau’s all-time great Kalam, the mesmerising Nami Danam Che Manzil Bood Shab.

After this rendition, the ensemble tore into the Qaul, the legendary Manqabat by Khusrau in honour of Hazrat Ali (RA). Providing explanations of the verses while performing, Farid Ayaz had the audience absolutely enchanted as the booming chants of Man Kuntau Maula kept ringing throughout the venue and created a surreal atmosphere.

As the clock struck midnight, the performance went unabated with some of the famous Kalams, Persian and Hindi, such as Khabar-e-Tahayyur and others, leading towards a short interval.However, it was at the resumption when the real surprise of the night came. With time running out, the troupe decided to unleash a magnificent medley at the restart by delving into the wide repertoire of Kalams, beginning with Maulana Rumi’s “Na Man Behooda Girde Koocha”, which seamlessly segued into what is possibly the greatest Naat of all time, Hazrat Imam Buseri’s Qaseeda Burdah Shareef.

Although singing at a faster pace than usual and trying to accommodate as many famous Kalams and catering to the nuanced audience which kept demanding more, the Qawwals charged through their set by performing at a stretch for over 35 minutes, performing some of Rumi’s and Khusrau’s most treasured verses, such as “Har Lahza Bashaklay”, “Chaap Tillak” as well as the celebrated “Bhar Day Jholi Ya Muhammad”, among others.

After that captivating performance which had left the entire crowd spellbound, Farid Ayaz broke into Dhamaal, which also featured Yasir Qureshi, an accomplished Darbuka (goblet drum) player and part of the rock band Aunty Disco Project (ADP).
Qureshi, who earlier this year wowed the audience with his performance on Coke Studio, went on to perform a fascinating duel of sorts with the Tabla-Nawaz of the Qawwal troupe, as the two distinct yet similar percussion sounds, along with dholak, complemented each other and gave a thundering performance, accentuated by the rousing vocals of Farid Ayaz and Abu Muhammad.

The night of spiritual music was brought to close with a fabulous performance of Rangg, with the entire crowd on its feet and completely mesmerised by Khusrau’s Kalam.

Original published at: http://www.thenews.com.pk/30-08-2010/karachi/1919.htm