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Moment of musical humanism

PRAKASH WADHERA

Sufi-based renditions by Zila Khan in New Delhi commemorated World Hospice and Palliative Care Day.



SINGING FOR A CAUSE: Zila Khan. Photo: Shiv Kumar Pushpakar .

Linking the world with the ring of music is invariably dismissed as a metaphorical thought except on World Hospice and Palliative Care Day, when musicians and vocalists hold a global concert in their respective regions, on that day. This week, the organisers of this event in India, CanSupport, who work for quality care and palliative support for cancer victims and their families, hosted the fourth concert of this world-series.

The decisive moment of this musical humanism began at 7.30 p.m. local time, with an inaugural concert in New Zealand. Thereon, the baton was passed from country to country and was slated to end in Hawai.

In India, the precise moment was commemorated with a recital of Sufi-based renditions by the much acclaimed artiste Zila Khan. In consonance with the prevalent mood of the occasion, Zila Khan rendered a vocal recital of Iqbal's poem, `Zindagi,' regaling her listeners into a mesmerising warp by touching upon the emotive pull of the notes ga, ma, pacham, nishad and swara. This high touch start by Zila Khan also brought into focus the highlights of Zila's personal oeuvre. Her sound vocal training enabled her to delight her listeners with soul stirring content that did justice to the phraseology of the immortal verse.

Structured

The choice of classical insets into an overall ghazal format was a sanguine compositional choice by the artiste. Her penchant for singing medium paced, poised and well-accented literary verse came to the fore, in her rendering. The highly structured methodology of the geet-numa ghazal that Zila chose, recounted the universal appeal of tradition in the midst of thoughtless innovation. The audience was left satiated with her compositional flair, her intrinsic musical command and her easy mannerisms even through the trickiest passages of the verse. The next rendering of the verse of Hasrate Mohani gave listeners a chance to savour her musical talents a notch further. The singer in her remained in full control as she accented the phraseology with deliberation and combining it into an inviting musical weave. The tenets of the gayaki gharana that Zila Khan hails from, as part of the Imdadkhani tradition of her late guru and father Ustad Vilayat Khan, remained in the forefront without taking on a dominating role. Her concert thus immersed audiences in its strong content and serious listeners were able to decipher the guiding presence of the gayaki tradition just beneath the ringing tones of the artistic appeal.

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