Qawwali takes on a Floydian twist- collaboration done right by Hamza, Bari

East meets West as musicians collaborate to give Qawwali a touch of Pink Floyd

Nadia Faisal

KARACHI: Held at the Alliance Française, this is the latest success in a series of live shows brought on stage as The Southasia Ensemble.

A part of the ongoing series of concerts co-curated by Salt Arts and Ahsan Bari Music, the edition sees an impressive collaboration between Hamza Akram Qawaal and Brothers, and the Sounds of Kolachi front-man accompanied by five other musicians on stage.

A large squad of over a dozen emerging names of exceptional talent, the ensemble brought sheer joy to nearly packed courtyard of the Alliance Francaise de Karachi while exploring the centuries old art form of Qawwali.

Backed by five musicians and the Qawwal Party in classic form of tabla, harmonium, vocals and hand claps to drive the tempo, this live band similar to a small sized orchestra showcasing its East-meets-West sensibility was able to redefine the boundaries of the age-old tradition while retaining its true spirit.

A unique fusion of sounds featuring eight Qawwals with six other musicians taking over the stage in its entirety, the collaboration aims for a sound which is familiar yet new and refreshing in many ways, says Bari.

Keeping the essence of the devotional art form intact while giving it a new-gen twist, the western inspiration according to the co-curator primarily comes from the elaborate sonic experimentations in live shows by the likes of Pink Floyd.

A recipient of the best emerging talent at the recent Lux style awards, Hamza Akram upon his second outing with Bari on stage describes it as a comeback of sorts after years of growth and maturity in their respective genres.

With five years of jamming behind the act, the latest collaboration, according to Hamza, is a culmination of their first performance together at an earlier and much younger stage.