By Ahsan Mehmood.
Aaj Rang hai! It was chaos everywhere. Men, women and children across the borders sat on the edge of their chairs, in fear and anticipation of what follows next amidst the extreme strategic tensions and a possible war outbreak. Suddenly, a melody broke the tensed silence. This beautiful symphony served as a tranquilizer across the region, it contained inside itself, an enchanting and heartbreaking mix of voices, including a voice that could only be heard this one last time. Four decades ago, musical maestro Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and the legendary Qawwal Farid Sabri, sat together in a cosmic collaboration and entranced the world with the Kalaam, Aaj Rang hai. This performance made a colossal impact across musical spectrums. You could feel the Earth embracing every note, all the highs and lows of the symphony were from the chasms of nature itself. This performance would be remembered forevermore.
This legacy could only be carried through blood. Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, followed suit and grew into one of the greatest musicians of modern times. Amjad Fareed Sabri, would grow up to be the last Qawwal. Qawwali, the musical conversation art, the brain child of the musical pioneers from the Mughal era, breathed it’s last with Amjad Sabri.
Coke Studio season 9, contained within itself the final performance of the slain musician. A modern rendition of Aaj Rang hai, the descendants of the original Masters brought justice to the magic. Aaj Rang hai was a fitting farewell to the late Qawwal Amjad Fareed Sabri, to the Shehenshah e Qawwali Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, to the veteran Fareed Sabri and to the genre of Qawwali itself.
With a broken heart and enchanted soul, enthusiasts around the world bid farewell to Karachi’s Amjad bhai. His final performance has revived the grief of his loss in our hearts, and strengthened our resolve to keep the crafts alive and all the things he stood for. Thank you, Coke Studio, for bringing out the best of yourself. Thank you for bringing us a form of closure.
Thank you for doing justice to the slain master, and thank you, for giving us a reason to be happy and forget about our grieves for a while and remember Amjad Sabri, and to appreciate the living legend that is Rahat Fateh Ali Khan.
Thank you for everything, Coke Studio! Until next time!
The writer is a business student at Institute of Business Management, hailing from Karachi.