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Abida Parveen Sings her way to win hearts
It was an exhilarating evening. The Sufi singer from Pakistan Abida Parveen gave a rousing recital on the opening day of the Hindu Friday Review November Fest on November 17, 2009 at The Music Academy. She was focused, sincere and dedicated. And, she was able to evoke myriad moods, which at times pushed the audience into a sense of contemplation.

As she got into the rhythm, she was able to take her voice to top octaves with so much ease. Indeed, she kept the audience spell bound during the entire concert. She had a high command over her voice. And, the percussion artistes on stage Ustad Mansoor Hussain (Harmonium), Ustad Nazir Khan (Tabla) and Ustad Karan Hussain (Dholak) followed her very closely.

A combination of melody and rhythm marked her Sufi singing. As she sang the folk number “Damadam Mast Kalander”, a section in the audience too began to hum, clap and dance. When she did sign off finally, the audience was not ready to move out. She remained calm and composed. She stood humility-personified. Sensing the mood of the audience, Parveen came back yet again on to the stage and sang two more of her favourite ones - “Are Logon tumara Kya” of Hazrat Mansoor and a Dadra “Ishq Ki Inteha Bhi Tum” by Hazrat Bedam Sha Warsi.

She began the evening with a Hazrat Amir Khusro poem “Ho ji Maula” and “Ali Maula Ali” in her resonating voice. She rendered a very melodious alap in Bagyashree. She made “Yaar tha Gulzar tha” richer with swaras. Bulleh Shah’s “Tere Ishq Nachaya,” a gazal, was rendered with fineness. Soon enough, the audience became excited. She took up Amir Khusro’s “Yaar ko Hamne Ja Baja Dekha,” a Sufiana item seeking the Almighty. The interesting part of her concert came when she rendered a Meera bhajan “Paga Gungroo”. The audience loved that. The diction was clear and ``Paga Gungroo Meera Nachi” fell into the ears ever so wonderfully. She improvised “Meera ke prabhu Giridhar Nagar” in her unique way. It proved an extremely likeable item in the end. She then took up the fast-phased “Mahi Yaar di Gharoli,” a Punjabi song. As the audience began to clap, Parveena almost started dancing. Not to be left out, the percussionists, too, joined her with some lovely beats. This turned out to be a star piece of her concert. What followed was Chaap Tilak, a popular poem by Amir Khusro.

In these days of troubled relationship between India and Pakistan, this Sufi singer from the neighbouring nation had indeed managed to spread the message of unity among diversity. Surely, she sang her way into the hearts of people in Chennai. Music, after all, has no boundary and has the power to unify.