Last night was an astonishing night ever! Had an opportunity to attend the liveliest and mesmerizing Karachi event of year 2017. It was a night never to be forgotten , the queen of Sufism, yes you got it right! Live performance, by Abida Parveen. The concert was organized by The Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture (IVS). One of the main focuses of this school is to promote art and architecture in country.
Abida Parveen is one of the world’s best known Pakistani Sufi singer, musician, painter and entrepreneur being a business woman, often dubbed as the ‘Queen of Sufi music’. Abida Parveen is one of the utmost exponents of this truth in our time. She sang and put spells of Sufism last evening to a crowd of enthusiasts, who drank in every word of her performance with the thirst of a drought-ride. Originally from Sindh, Abida started training at the age of three. She performs in Urdu, Seraiki, Punjabi, Hindi and Sindhi. She was trained by her father Ghulam Haider who was a famous singer and music teacher.
Abida Parveen’s voice would fade away to near silence, until the undercurrents could brook no further restraint. The music would then finally explode into an ecstatic proclamation, the singer’s head shaking frantically with each phrase, her fingers pointing in air, punctuating every accent. As soon as she started singing, Parveen’s extraordinary voice transcended language and cultural barriers.
Such is the power and strength of this woman’s vocal cords you don’t need to know about Sufism or understand the languages she sings in to appreciate an amazing gift. But it’s not just about being blessed with a booming voice.
There’s something deeper than singing going on here and as a non-believer I’d hesitate to call it religious. Suffice to say this purple-clad seated lady in her late 50s adds another dimension to the listener experience. At times she brought tears to everyone’s eyes, perhaps is the power of song and spirituality – to induce a highly emotional response in the individual, irrespective of that individual’s background or beliefs.
The religious believes amplified the music’s impact, but it also carried this observer along by its energy and imagination: not its main point perhaps, but the source of its power in a secular rather than devotional culture. The evening ended with an emotional and mesmerising effects on audience.