Newcastle University Pakistan Society hosted a mesmerising Qawwali Night on 15 February 2019.
Qawwali is a mystical music genre originated in Pakistan during the thirteenth century. The musical form moved out of the Sufi shrines of South Asia and into global mainstream culture in the 20th century. The event is the largest PakSoc event in the North-east, drawing students from other universities including Durham, Sunderland, Northumbria and Teesside.
Accompanied by a six-member ensemble, renowned Qawwali singer, Chand Ali Khan performed famed renditions of legendary Qawwali singer, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, who is known as the ‘singing Buddha’ and ‘The Voice from Heaven’ by music enthusiasts around the world. Seated on the stage, the musicians build intoxicating swirls of ambient sounds, cut across with rhythmic handclaps and springing tablas.
The most notable performances included “Allahoo”, “Sochta Hun” and “Halka Halka Suroor”. The energy and enthusiasm witnessed was nothing short of moving, as students rejoiced with Sufi music extravaganza. The three hour show reached its climax when Mast Qalandar was played, which induced the crowd into a total trance. As the music played, the audience moved to the beat and faded into its mystical abyss.
The audience commended the organisational efforts of the PakSoc committee and encouraged them to hold more events like it in future. They were excited to celebrate Pakistan’s culture, music and colour away from home. One student felt “literally goose bumps throughout the evening”. Another commented that the event was full of “music, knowledge, awareness, and spiritual enlightenment.”
Shedding light on the event, Vice President of PakSoc, Zukhruf Khan said “Qawwali night allows a younger generation to appreciate this traditional music genre.” Events Officer Rida Munawer said that Qawwali Night is precisely the kind of gathering that serves PakSoc's objective: to bring cultures together and send a message of peace and love.