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Soul Stirring Qawwali Evening with Amjad Sabri

29 December 2012

By Saeed Qureshi

Amjad Sabri is the proud and gifted inheritor of the tradition of Qwwali associated with the celebrated group of Sabri brothers. It is sung in a chorus employing different, tunes, pitches and rhythms of voice. Qwwali is a Sufi devotional music. With a history of 700 years, originally it was performed at Sufi shrines mausoleums and tombs throughout South Asia, particularly in India and Pakistan. Now it has also become a genre of modern music presented at parties and special occasions such a marriages and birthday parties.

Youthful and inimitable Amjad Sabri attired in traditional shalwar and Qameez (trouser and shirt) along with his band, displayed his unmatched skill before a packed hall on the evening of December 28. He is a true replica of his illustrious father late Ghulam Farid Sabri both in physical stature, quality of voice and the unique presentation of the melodious lyrics eulogizing the Islamic apostles and famous saints and mystics.

The Sabri family execels in this line of music and singing that is primarily pecualir to the subcontinent. A succession of mystics and saints spread Islam through their mystical discourses and by cultivation of obedience to god, love and humanity through extreme humanism and spirituality. The singers would pay homage to them for their great services in breeding a culture peace and love. The three most distinguished figures in the Sabri Qawalls family are Ghulam Farid Sabri, Maqbool Sabir Qawwal and now Amjad Sabri. Ghulam Farid and Maqbool Sabri have died.

On the illuminated stage, there sat a group of five persons, with impressive expertise in playing different instruments such as Tabla, the drum, the piano and the harmonimum. The audiences were immensely swayed and were transported in a state mystical ecstasy for over three hours that the group remained on the stage.

Intermittently the more spiritually thrilled, excited or ecstatic person would come to the stage and shower currency bills on the singers in quick succession. It is one of those traditions during the Qwwali session that is observed as a token of appreciation of the captivating delivery of the group and by way of rewarding them monetarily.

There was a sharp contrast between the freezing cold outside and the warmth and enthusiasm generated inside by the heartwarming melody of the Sabri band. The Irving Arts Center at MacArthur Avenue was booming with the rich and powerful rhythmic and rhetorical voice of the chorus. The audience wholeheartedly admired and acknowledged the highly professional performance of the adept singers by enthusiastically applauding and vigorously cheering the mystical outpourings laced with immaculate melody and soothing rhyme.

Jinab Pervez Malik the owner of the popular radio Hot Pepper 1220 am and his adorable wife Seema Malik( she was unfortunately indisposed because of eye surgery) must be complimented for offering a unique, wonderful, enjoyable and spiritually nourishing evening to our community after a .long spell of time. The other sponsors especially Indus Performing Art Promoters deserve glowing tribute and our community's gratitude for the unique entertainment that was overdue for long and that has stimulated and reenergized our slumbering souls.

Let us once again give three cheers to the organizers and hugely thank and applaud them for this magnificent function that would be long remembered.



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