French embassy hosts ‘an evening dedicated to mystical music, performance’

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45 years of Rafi Peer Theatre’s contributions to art, culture praised

Zubair Qureshi

Rarely such evenings occur at Islamabad’s otherwise dead cultural scene. There was music, dance and singing all at one place i.e. residence of French Ambassador Dr Marc Barety.
The French Embassy Friday evening hosted a reception and cultural event to honour the members of the Rafi Peer Theatre for its outstanding contribution to arts and culture in Pakistan.
The event coincided with 45th anniversary of the Rafi Peer Theatre Workshops that have been continuing without break facing all odds and challenges.
Ambassadors and high commissioners, diplomats and notable figures of the town had come to attend the event that was jointly organized by the French embassy and the Rafi Peer Theatre teams. Ambassador Marc Barety had picked a selective number of guests to the performance, ‘those who have ear for music.’
In order to lend the venue (lawn of the Ambassador’s residence) striking resemblance to royal court of Mughal era where such performances took place and the king and his vezirs threw words of appreciation as well as golden coins towards the artists, the Rafi Peer Theatre had set up a stage with three white domes and two minarets overseeing artists from the background.
Pakistan’s eminent folk singers and artists including Sain Zahoor, Tehsin Sakina, Shoukat Dholya, Nighat Chaudhry, Wahab Shah and Sher Mian Dad Qawal performed on the occasion and won audience’s appreciation.
Most of their performances included popular mystical notes and kalam of the mystical poets and while listening to them and witnessing the performances one could not help realizing not only local audience was moved but ‘excellencies’ and their spouses were also enjoying the show that lasted for a little over one hour.
Among the noted guests included former Minister for Law Babar Awan, Senator Walid Iqbal, Senator Lt Gen (R) Malik Abdul Qayyum, Shoaib Sultan, ambassadors, high commissioners and diplomats who had made a beeline to the Residence of France to get a taste for mystical music. Well-known artist in mural art Zahid Mayo, Tayyaba Sabir and their team were also present there. They had come all the way from Lahore to attend the performances.
Ambassador Dr Marc Barety welcoming the guests to the reception and cultural event said it was a special event to celebrate Rafi Peer Tehatre’s wonderful journey. Rafi Peer Theatre Workshop started its journey in 1974 with the National Theatre Cultural Project and in 1982 the first permanent puppet theatre was setup at the Alliance Francaise Karachi, said he. Well-known artist Usman Pirzada on behalf of the Rafi Peer thanked the ambassador and the French embassy for extending support and for organizing an event to mark 45 years of Rafi Peer’s theatrical workshops.
Through our work, we are trying to build bridges he said adding the Rafi Peer would remain committed to performing art, culture to promote art, culture, tolerance and coexistence in society.