On Sunday 12th of November at the Students’ Union, Newcastle University Pakistan Society organised its flagship event, the Qawwali Night, to pay tribute to the great Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan on his 20th death anniversary.
Qawwali is a centuries-old classical, devotional musical tradition in South Asia. It relies on the synchronised use of percussion instruments and intricate movement of the voice.
The Qawwali Night is the largest PakSoc event in the North-east and draws students from Newcastle, Northumbria and Durham.
World-renowned Qawwali singer, Haji Ameer Khan, performed with his seven-man ensemble of soloists, harmonium players, tabla drummers and vocal chorus.
Dressed in traditional attire, Khan fascinated the audience with his rhythmic energy, the additional solo accompanists producing the effect of interweaving musical densities.
Khan performed renditions of famous musical pieces by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, who is often termed as the ‘Voice from Heaven’, a ‘Singing Buddha and ‘Pakistan’s Pavarotti’ by music enthusiasts around the world.
Reflecting on the event, President Haseeb Saya said that Qawwali Night is an opportunity for us to promote and preserve this unique traditional musical heritage
Other notable performances of the evening included Haq Ali Maula, Halka Suroor and Mast Nazron Se. The wildly enthusiastic crowd’s rhythmic hand-clapping enhanced the pieces in setting a participatory mood that lasted the entire evening, and the audience was a guide for Western listeners too.
Many came forward to toss paper money at the singer during performances.
The three-hour show reached its climax when Mast Qalandar was played, which enthralled the audience and created the impression of an extraordinary experience.
Founder of the society, Fahmeed Rajput, said that in light of recent developments, it has become imperative to highlight and promote the rich and beautiful culture of Pakistan.
Reflecting on the event, President Haseeb Saya said that Qawwali Night is an opportunity for us to promote and preserve this unique traditional musical heritage, and help us show a softer image of Pakistan.
His views were reverberated by the Social Secretary, Zukhruf Khan. He said that the event aims to send out a message of peace, humanism and love.