The credo’s of the music department of the National Academy of Performing Arts (NAPA) says: “It is foolish and myopic to condemn ‘pop’ music as an insidious Western plot to corrupt our youth”. We could convince ourselves on a chinking afternoon with Nafees Ahmad Khan, Head of the Music Department, and his students, who proof the credo right.
Nafees is the son of the very well renown sitar genius Ustad Fateh Ali Khan. The hard circumstances under which the father agreed to teach his son shaped Nafees, his career and his idea about teaching.
Girls are a matter of fact on NAPA’s premises. Although there is still more effort to convince parents: family loyalties which are traditionally sacrosanct are getting more and more sidelined. The way to understand themselves, music and how to fight for it seems to be part of the way music is communicated.
Sufism plays a great part in the way Nafees interacts with music, musicians and it’s listeners. According to the etymology of the term Sufi the word is connected with safi, the pure. Nafees gave us a short, but nevertheless convincing introduction into his interpretation of Sufism with the help of a one string sitar – a persuasive approach towards both issues.
Before we left – of course – Nafees singers and musicians invited us to an audition of a diminutive blend of traditional and folk sounds. That proves what we learnt: One needs to at least to know the basics of the gamut before the mix of various styles is possible.
Singer, student and daughter Sajar Nafees
Sara Waqar studies medicine and guitar
NAPA music department coordinator Akbar Zaidi stayed after finishing his guitar studies at NAPA