KARACHI: Consul General of USA’s ceremonial residence at FJR here was the venue where the Deputy CG John Warner welcomed karachiites on the evening of 2nd October (2018).
People from various locales of the Metropolis converged there to observe Daniel Pearl World Music Day to pay tribute to Wall Street journalist Daniel Pearl and all those journalists who had sacrificed their lives in the line of their duty.
Such musical performances have been held since 2002 all over the world. One may marvel why a melodious homage to a slain pressman? Danny was a talented writer who was adept enough with the written words to make a living in the top ranks of journalism. But it was in music that he found an essential form of expression. A talented violinist, fiddler and mandolin player Danny kept the passion for music ignited throughout his career. During numerous postings all over the world, he joined town bands, orchestras and chamber groups. Consequently, he left behind a long trail of musician friends in cities across the world stretching from Los Angeles, Hong Kong, Atlanta, Paris, Tehran to Mumbai. Daniel Pearl’s family chose music to celebrate the ideals of tolerance, friendship and shared humanity. They formed a foundation to further the ideals that inspired Danny’s life and work, spotlight his love of music to build bridges and create a friendship.
Remarks by Deputy Consul General John Warner:
• I’ve always felt that music and culture have the unique nature to bring people together. They reveal our common humanity, and they allow us to celebrate our aspirations to live together in peace and harmony.
• Music transcends all boundaries, allowing us to enjoy and appreciate different cultural forms. Daniel Pearl was a gifted musician; he truly believed that music had the power to build bridges between people and spread the message of ‘harmony for humanity.” This is for you Danny!
• This concert has become a wonderful tradition, and I couldn’t be happier that Pakistanis and Americans tonight are once again standing together for tolerance, respect, and mutual understanding.
KIMBALL GALLAGHER (American Pianist) has risen to prominence as one of the most dynamic and multifaceted pianists on the stage today. His sensitive insights at the keyboard, coupled with his singular entrepreneurial sensibilities, have enabled him to explore a broad scope of creative endeavors. Critics have described him as a “dynamo,” “sunlit and rapturous” and “a lightning bolt,” Gallagher’s sold-out 2008 debut at Carnegie Hall launched his international The 88- Concert Tour, a tour reviving the salon culture through a series of 300+ performances in a variety of non-traditional venues. Gallagher has blazed a trail across the 7 continents, appearing in 30 countries, and has performed in distinguished venues and intimate gatherings all over the world, from the Kennedy Center to Kabul, Bombay to Boulder, Chicago to Shanghai, and Tuscany to Tunisia. The 88 Concert Tour concluded with a culmination recital by Gallagher at Carnegie Hall in 2015, in New York City, leading to initiation of 88 International, an international organization initiating and executing unique musical projects across the globe.
ASIF SINAN is a Pakistani guitarist and singer. He is known for blending Indian classical music with jazz and playing guitar in the style of a sitar. Sinan is a graduate of the National Academy of Performing Arts. Asif Sinan is an alumnus of IVLP entitled “Bringing Social Change through Arts.” He and his band “Jazzical” will perform a medley of popular Pakistani music and American English songs. Relevant pieces published earlier:
Lok Virsa to launch Lok Baithak on 9th Jan
ISLAMABAD: National Institute of Folk and Traditional Heritage, Lok Virsa has announced to start a new fortnightly series of folklore and folk music called “Lok Baithak” here from 9th of January.
With the advent of new year, “Lok Baithak” Program has been presented by Research and Media section of Lok Virsa. The first program will take place on Wednesday and that will be arranged on alternate Wednesdays.
The main purpose behind “Lok Baithak” is to revive the informal settings of the traditional and rural communities. These Lok Baithaks were multifaceted and used to serve the multiple purposes of associationalism, camaraderie, entertainment, social cohesion, knowledge sharing, the creation of disciplinarian and organizational spirit, and above all hub of promotion of art and culture in the general communities.
“Lok Baithak” at Lok Virsa would be run while being true to the mandate of Lok Virsa i.e. the promotion of folk and traditional heritage of Pakistan. This program would be open to the people of all age groups and to all ethnicities, in the style that they themselves would be the speakers and listeners with Lok Virsa as regulator and facilitator only. Agenda of the next Baithak sittings would also be set in the general meetings of the Baithaks making people feel this as their very own program.
“Our audience is encouraged and allowed to bring their musical instruments and crafts that they specialize in. They would be mobilized to share the values, knowledge, wisdom, stories, songs, tales, fables, epics, jokes, traditional games, riddles etc. Overall everything falling within the domain of folklore of their respective regions. Singers and musicians among them would sing and play music. Lok Virsa would make its contribution through inviting a folk/ semi-classical / classical singer or through musical performance. We would also invite traditional treasurers (gunny, sughars people etc.) who have a lot to share about the folk and traditional heritage of their respective regions”, said the organizers.
The star artist of first “Lok Baithak” would be Muhammad Ali a renowned ghazal, semi-classical and folk singer. He learned music from Ustad Mehdi Hassan, Ustad Shokat Manzoor, and Ustad Allah Rakha. Among accompanist, Ustad Nizakat Ali Khan on harmonium and Ustad Amanat Ali Khan on tabla will show their skills.
Credits roll for Moscow’s Soviet-era cinemas
MOSCOW: Scattered throughout the city’s outlying neighbourhoods, Moscow’s Soviet-era cinemas have for decades served as the centre of communities.
With names like “Mars” and “The Diamond”, the cinemas were mostly built in the 1960s and 70s during a Soviet film boom and were popular even after the collapse of the USSR, offering cheaper tickets than their counterparts in shopping centres.
Now – as part of a wider plan changing the face of the Russian capital – almost 40 of them are being turned into modern glass complexes.
Developers say the project will brighten up dreary suburbs and bring more life to dormant residential districts.
But it has faced a backlash from activists and residents, who say it will deprive locals of community focal points and destroy important architectural heritage.
The plan is part of a major city redevelopment programme led by Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin that has included the construction of a multi-billion-dollar park and the demolition of Soviet-era pre-fab apartments.
Real estate company ADG Group bought 39 Soviet-built cinemas from the government and plans to turn them into what it calls “neighbourhood centres”.
Grigory Pechersky, ADG Group’s founder and co-director, said the majority of the cinemas were in “extremely poor” condition when his company bought them in 2014.
“Around half of them were closed since the 1990s,” he told AFP in the group’s central Moscow office.
Pechersky said the project aims to “recreate the historical function of the cinemas, which is for residents to spend their free time comfortably.”
Moscow’s infrastructure in residential areas is limited, he said, and Muscovites tend to travel to the huge city’s centre for quality entertainment and shopping.
“Those areas are very densely populated but in many cases there is nothing there,” he said, adding that around 10 million people live between Moscow’s two main beltways where the cinemas are located.
All but three of the cinemas will be completely torn down and rebuilt.
One of those surviving is the 1938 Rodina (Motherland) cinema, a Stalinist landmark in northeastern Moscow with huge pillars and Soviet mosaics, where ADG Group plans to reopen the building’s original rooftop terrace.
The rest of the cinemas were built in the brutalist style – a utilitarian form of architecture popular in the Soviet Union in the second half of the 20th century.
Built in the shape of simple squares, some are on local high streets such as Almaz (The Diamond), a 1964 cinema painted turquoise in southern Moscow’s leafy Shabolovka district.
Others – like the Angara, which is named after a Siberian river and already under reconstruction — are surrounded by typical late-Soviet housing blocks.
According to ADG Group, they have “little architectural value”.
The company hired the British architectural firm run by Amanda Levete – who has worked on London’s V&A Museum and Lisbon’s MAAT contemporary art centre — to design a concept for the new cinemas.
The group’s main architect Alexei Belyakov said the cinemas will be reconstructed in a similar style, to form a recognisable “network” across the far-flung districts.
In drawings seen by AFP, they will all have a glass front and will be considerably larger, to make room for retail space and cafes.
All they will retain is the logos of their original names – taken from cities and rivers of the Soviet Union, planets, mountains and precious stones.
Belyakov said that while the cinemas “were built in the spirit of the time, they are not practical anymore.”
But many Moscow architects disagree.
Ruben Arakelyan, who runs a Moscow-based architectural bureau, said that while it’s “right” to revive the cinemas, the brutalist buildings could have been preserved.
He said some of the cinemas began “dying out” when people increasingly started to travel to the city centre for work after the fall of the Soviet Union.
Local activists worry the cinemas will be turned into regular shopping malls — of which Moscow already has an abundance.
“They tell us that these are depressing places that need to be torn down,” said Klim Likhachev, the head of a residents’ group to save the Almaz cinema.
“But this is our favourite cinema. Nobody asked the residents,” Likhachev said. “By reconstruction they actually mean demolition. They are calling it a ‘neighbourhood centre’, but it will in fact be another banal shopping centre.”
Activist Pyotr Ivanov said the problem with the plan was that it assumed each neighbourhood where the cinemas are based had the same needs.
“All of them are different. You could only make universal decisions like that in a command economy like the Soviet Union,” he said.
Two Metro stations away from Almaz, residents have also been fighting to preserve the Ulaanbaatar, named after the capital of once Soviet-friendly Mongolia.
Another of the movie theatres, the Baku Cinema in northwestern Moscow, has served as a community centre for the Azerbaijani diaspora since the Soviet era.
ADG Group’s Belyakov brushed aside criticism, saying it was important for the Russian capital to look to the future.
“Moscow is moving forward,” he said.
Endangered, extinct musical instruments
ISLAMABAD: National Institute of Folk and Traditional Heritage (Lok Virsa) Thursday organized a Muzakra – a literary session – titled, Endangered and Extinct Musical Instruments of Pakistan.
Director General at the Office of the Auditor General of Pakistan Sheraz Haider was the guest of honor on the occasion. The speakers, in their copies on topic, illuminated the details of the extinct and the endangered instruments through discussion and visuals. At the same time, they also deliberated upon the threats, challenges, opportunities and possible revival of such instruments through an open and interactive session. “It was a matter of grave concern that this music and these musicians are dying out. We need to preserve this music and part of the problem is that this is an expensive instrument that most people can’t afford. There are no institutions teaching instrument, and we need to teach this free of cost to save it,” the speakers added.
One of the oldest bowed instruments of the region, the body of the Sarangi is hollow and made of teak wood adorned with ivory inlays. Some of the extinct instruments include: Vichatar Veena, Sur Bahar, Israaj, Pakhawaj, Chung, Jaltarang, and Dilruba. Likewise, some of the dying musical instruments include: Sarangi, Israj, Tanpura, Sarinda, Alghoza, Sitar, Tabla, Narr Bait, and Santoor, Borondo.
Shehraz Haider is also a cultural historian, an ethno-musicologist, a dance critic and a playwright also highlighted the history and importance of instruments in his copy. He remained an anchorperson for Pakistan Television Corporation and Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation (1988-2008). He has served Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation as Program Producer, (1988-94). On classical, folk, film music, and dance, he has been contributing articles to newspapers and magazines since 1990.
Haider also produced a series of documentaries on lost genre of light classical music of North India. One of his video documentaries was screened at an international competition hosted by the Japanese television in 1999. From 2to 2005, Haider hosted Pakistan Television’s longest running music daily live programme ‘Mayri Mouseeqi’, which featured live discussions on various thematic areas of film and non-film music.