Culture gala: Folk artists highlight soft image of K-P

Tuesday, February 19th, 2013 7:00:04 by


Every day terror incidents related to Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) are splashed across newspapers, shown on TV and debated in conferences and seminars. However other aspects of the province such as its rich culture, art and music are often overshadowed.

In the spirit of celebrating K-P’s culture and all that it has to offer a gala was organised at the Pakistan National Council of the Arts (PNCA)on Sunday. Even though the main attraction were a troupe of dancers and singers, rows of stalls bedecked with rugs, handicrafts, precious and semi-precious stones managed to attract a sizeable crowd including foreigners.

While two foreigners haggled with a stall owner over the price of a pair of diamonds, another family could be seen carefully examining a set of lamps carved out of pure brass. “You will not find this work anywhere, it is becoming extinct now. Buy it while you can,” said Ayaz Khan, owner of a brass handicrafts stall who had come from Peshawar to showcase his products. Limestone carvings made by stone carver Muhammad Illyas and Peshawari chappals were also crowd-pullers at the cultural gala.

An eager crowd lined up to witness the enthusiastic dance performances outside the PNCA. “The performers seem to be in full form tonight, however it would have been good to see more people from other provinces and foreigners witness a different side of a region constantly marred with unfortunate events,” said Amir Orakzai who had come with his family to the event.

Upbeat performances by popular singers Neelo, and Nazia Iqbal from K-P who had the crowd whistling and cheering, while instrumental performances on sarinda, tambal, dhol and a soothing rendition on rabab captured the diversity of traditional music.

Chief guest provincial Information Minister Iftikhar Hussain said, “There are so many misconceptions that need to be addressed. Perhaps such events will create a little more awareness about a province that has so much to offer besides all the negative images that are shown every day.”

The event concluded with the Attan dance with the dancers gradually forming larger circles, whirling in unison to the beat as they waved their handkerchiefs with the precision of professional performers.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 19th, 2013.

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