Director hits the right note with film on folk music

1 / 3
‘Indus Blues’ weaves the story of the reality facing those holding strong to the folk music, the rapidly disappearing instruments and threatened craftsmanship that have been intertwined with the diverse cultures present in Pakistan along the Indus for ages. (Photo courtesy: Jawad Sharif)
2 / 3
‘Indus Blues’ weaves the story of the reality facing those holding strong to the folk music, the rapidly disappearing instruments and threatened craftsmanship that have been intertwined with the diverse cultures present in Pakistan along the Indus for ages. (Photo courtesy: Jawad Sharif)
3 / 3
‘Indus Blues’ weaves the story of the reality facing those holding strong to the folk music, the rapidly disappearing instruments and threatened craftsmanship that have been intertwined with the diverse cultures present in Pakistan along the Indus for ages. (Photo courtesy: Jawad Sharif)
Updated 31 October 2018
0

Director hits the right note with film on folk music

  • Documentary aims to highlight difficulties faced by artistes in Pakistan, Sharif says
  • Indus Blues also throws light on endangered genre of music and instruments used

DUBAI: By panning the camera on the dying breed of folk artistes across the country, Pakistani filmmaker Jawad Sharif said that he hoped to unearth the genre’s “hidden gems” through his latest venture, Indus Blues.
Speaking exclusively to Arab News, Sharif said that virtuosos in the field continue to live a difficult life in Pakistan, as “being a music performer is a social taboo in society.”
During the research phase of his project, Sharif says he came across several instances of people who were of the opinion that the income earned by musicians was haram (against Islamic principles or forbidden), thereby making it an arduous task for the folk artistes to earn a decent livelihood.
“While we had a general impression about people looking down upon musicians as a lower segment of the society, we were shocked during our research about how difficult life was for them. This is why folk musicians are leaving their art form in droves,” he said, adding that this very experience forced him to create “Indus Blues.”
Having won notable awards for ‘K2 & the Invisible Footmen,’ a feature film which was screened at several international film festivals, Sharif said he was hoping to reach a wider audience in the Gulf region through his latest venture.
‘Indus Blues’ premiered at the Regina International Film Festival in Canada earlier this year and earned critical acclaim, taking home the Grand Jury Award for Best Documentary Feature at the Guam International Film Festival 2018, in October this year.

idher

The film, which took more than three years to complete, weaves the story of nine instruments and a group of musicians who choose to face society's harsh realities every day in order to protect their endangered craft – the very art form that has been an integral aspect of the diverse cultures representing Pakistan, along the Indus, for ages.
Through his journey of a thousand miles, Sharif takes us through the northern Karakoram mountains to the southern coastline, all the while in search of Pakistan’s folk treasures.
When he finally chances upon them, he discovers that instead of a culture that should be thriving, artistes from this specific genre of music were struggling to make ends meet as they continued to fight the odds against those who did not see the value in keeping the art alive. “There are elements in the society who are against this valuable heritage,” he said, analyzing conversations with several community members who expressed resentment for the craft.
Narrating details of one such interaction, he talked about an incident whereby his production team was moments away from being attacked. “In the concluding sequence of the trailer, a student union at a prominent educational institution in Peshawar stopped us from covering a sarinda (a stringed folk musical instrument similar to lutes or fiddles popular across the Indian subcontinent) performance, even though we had the permissions to do so, because, according to them, it was not a part of their culture,” he said.
With a desire to compel people to think otherwise, Sharif lamented that our culture would be half empty “if [we] close our eyes to our rich musical heritage.”
“In a country riddled with political turmoil, economic challenges, and social identity crisis, musicians and instrument craftsmen find it hard to survive and sustain their art. We have to share these hidden gems. The world should know that Pakistan is a home of beautiful instruments and musicians,” he said.


Pakistan train collision kills at least three: officials

Updated 20 June 2019
0

Pakistan train collision kills at least three: officials

  • Hundreds of people gathered to rescue the injured
  • Investigation has been launched to determine the causes of the accident

KARACHI: At least three people were killed and several others injured when two trains collided in Pakistan’s southern Sindh province on Thursday, officials said.
A driver, assistant driver and a guard were killed when a passenger train traveling to Lahore from the southern port city of Karachi hit a goods train that had stopped at a crossing, railway spokesman Riaz Abbasi told AFP.
Ishaq Baloch, a railway official confirmed the death toll and told AFP that an investigation has been launched to determine the causes of the collision.
Baloch said the crash occurred on the main railway track and that train services from Karachi were suspended while the wreckage was being removed.
All passengers on the train were safe, Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed, the country’s minister for railways told private TV channel ARY.
Video footage on local media showed the damaged engine and bogies of the trains and rescue workers and hundreds of people gathering to rescue the injured.
Train accidents are common in Pakistan, where railways have seen decades of decline due to corruption, mismanagement and lack of investment.