Salahuddin Haider

Friday, October 16, 2015 – THE German and the US consulates in Karachi,held musical evenings at their respective premises. Both of these were a real delight as a blonde Hieki Matthiesen, internationally acclaimed German guitarist was remarkable with her instrument, but the show at the residence of the US consul general last week, were a rare fusion of Pakistani and western vocal and instrumental music.

Both these shows were a great entertainment for Karachiites, who have over the years been through a trauma, but now that the security situation is much improved than before, such shows are like fresh puff of air in a suffocating environment.

The young Hieki was not only a stunning beauty, but was a genuine maestro in her job. She performed for almost 90 minutes solo, with only a short break, but the numbers played by her from Beethoven and several other German musical themes, mesmerized the select audience. She was given repeated standing ovation for that. Her finger works displayed a perfection of rare quality.

The German consul general Rainer Schiemedschen, and his wife Annie, deserved full marks for being the moving spirit, promising greater involvement in future in cultural activities, along with the consul general’s assignment of building bilateral fields like political, economic, investment etc.

Few days earlier, a festive crowd of more than 600 movie lovers, celebrated Daniel Pearl World Music Days. Daniel was an eminent, and devoted journalist, but was unfortunately kidnapped in Pakistan, and done to death later by the Taliban. Hailing from America, he was a music lover, apart from a writer. His anniversary was celebrated the world over.

A press release about the Daniel Pearl show noted that top of the billing was US saxophonist Lee Redfield and an ensemble of musicians from the National Academy of Performing Arts (NAPA), followed by a rock band of well known vocalist Raahi.

“Daniel Pearl World Music Days celebrate the life and work of journalists and musician Daniel Pearl” said the US consul general Brian Heath. ‘The performance—one of many held around the world this month—affirmed “ our firm belief in the ideals of international friendship and harmony”, he remarked.

“Daniel Pear worked to promote cross-cultural understanding with simply pen and fiddle” said Brian,adding “ I am confident that he would have been delighted to witness the evening’s performances. It was a wonderful way to celebrate Daniel Pearl’s life and harness the power of music to promote cross-cultural understanding”.

Across the world , journalists like Daniel Pearl were working to strengthen democracy and promote peaceful understanding between people, often at great personal risk, he said noting that this was the most dangerous and deadly period for journalists in recent history.

Among the musicians performing was Lee Redfield, who was visiting Karachi as part of a three-year University partnership—funded by the US State Department— between the University of Texas at Austin and NAPA. The State Department also sent two of Rahee’s musicians to United States on exchange programme. In 2012, drummer and band organizer, Louis “Gumby” Pinto, joined the Centre Stage artist exchange programme, while vocalist,Ahsan Bari, participated in the International Visitor Leadership Programme” promoting social good through the arts”. The theme chosen for Daniel Pearl world music day was “Harmony for Humanity” which supports tolerance, diversity and the belief that the power of music can bridge differences.

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