Ustad Shafqat enthrals audience at live concert

Ustad Shafqat Ali Khan belonging to Sham Chaurasi Gharana (school of classical music) gave an outstanding performance live in a concert here at Lok Virsa late Wednesday.

The event was organized by the National Institute of Folk and Traditional Heritage, Lok Virsa, ministry of culture under its popular musical series titled as “Documentation of Genealogical Musical Families of Pakistan”.

This was an on-going initiative of Lok Virsa under Joint Institutional Cultural Cooperation between Pakistan and Norway. Famous TV anchor, Dr. Umar Adil conducted the show, who described Ustad Shafqat Ali Khan as the great exponent of Sham Chaurasi Gharana.

Belonging to the 11th generation of the Sham Chaurasi Gharana, Ustad Shafqat Ali began to croon `Khayal’ followed by thumri, bandish, dadra, kafi, ghazals making rich music profound and enjoyable.

He is one of the leading vocalists of classical and Sufi music of Pakistan hailing from Sham Chaurasi Gharana. His father Ustad Salamat Ali Khan and uncle Ustad Nazakat Ali Khan, the maestro of classical singing, belong to the tenth generation of the Sham Chaurasi school.

Shafqat began performing at the age of seven and performed throughout the world and received numerous awards.

In 2009 the President of Pakistan conferred upon him pride of performance award in recognition of his talent. His father Ustad Salamat Ali Khan was twice the recipient of the same award and also received Sitara-e-lmtiaz.

Sham Chaurasi Gharana, was founded in the 16th century by Mian Chand Khan and Mian Suraj Khan who were contemporaries of Mian Tansen at the court of Mughal Emperor Akbar. Originally it is one of the three “dhrupad” schools of Punjab whose singers also started performing “Khayal”.

The musical style of Sham Chaurasi Gharana is dynamic and robust, particularly rich in “ghamak tanas”, the heavily oscillated fast note pattern sung towards the end of a Raaga.

Around the 20th century, this Gharana was represented for his dhrupad singing. After the independence of India and Pakistan, this family moved to Pakistan and settled in Multan (the city known for its Sufi saints). There they learnt “Multani Kafi” and perfected the art of delivering Sufi poetry.

In his message, Royal Norwegian ambassador to Pakistan, Robert Kvile said “Norway attaches a great importance to the cultural development of Pakistan. Culture is our priority area as our objective is to help preserve and promote Pakistan’s rich cultural heritage.”

Underlining the importance of the programme, Lok Virsa’s executive director Khalid Javaid informed that Lok Virsa launched this musical series in the year 2008 under Norwegian funding with an objective to encourage youngsters in the families of known folk, classical and semi-classical artists/musicians to continue practicing the art that they inherited from their elders.

It is an effort of Lok Virsa not only to pay tribute to the icons of Pakistani musical heritage but also to provide an incentive for their families, he added.

A large number of people from different walks of life including music connoisseurs, intellectuals, artists, and general public attended the show.