Abida Parveen talks to Fashion Central


Iconic, profound, subliminal — to wax lyrical of Abida Parveen is natural. A legend both at home and abroad for her grace and soulful Sufi strains, Parveen over the years has stayed true to her classical origins, which she mastered under the tutelage of Ustad Salamat Ali Khan. Having started off her career from Radio Pakistan, Hyderabad, she credits her husband, late Ghulam Hussain Sheikh, a respected director of music at Radio Pakistan, for its success. A recipient of the 1982 President’s Pride of Performance Award and the 2005 Sitara-e-Imtiaz, Parveen is indeed one of the foremost exponents of kaafi poetry and ghazal singing in Pakistan.

Abida Ji continues to perform at venues both sacred and secular; from the devotional shrines of saints across Pakistan to the world’s greatest concert halls. This year, experience the legendary Abida Parveen’s grace and soulful Sufi strains at Coke Studio.

1. How was the experience of being a part of Coke Studio?

The atmosphere built was similar to the ones at shrines. Coke Studio has its own flavour, concept, colours, everything unique in its truest sense.  It felt like everything has merged into one to produce a fusion which is often only witnessed in shrines. Every person involved, from the producers, to coordinators, to the technicians to the musicians, they have created an environment which has lead to new and undiscovered paths.

2. In the past two years, Coke Studio has introduced a different brand of fusion music to Pakistanis. Is this the only platform left for folk and indigenous music to thrive?

This project which Rohail Hyatt has started is indeed great and I would like to be a part of it for a long time. The music that comes out of this project reaches both the heart and soul and it always compliments the lyrics without overriding the true message of the kalams. This platform builds on those messages of our Sufi elders.

3. What was the highlight for you this year?

To experiment and experience Coke Studio in a manner which commends the nature of shrines, spreads the message of Sufi kalams, the freshness of talent seeking the eternal moment were the highlights.

4. You have worked with younger artists before, but this was an entire cast of young new musicians. How was your experience?

During the recording, I was actually waiting to perform with these musicians as every stage in Coke Studio is different and I was tensed about my performance. I think if you don’t feel a level of heightened tension about your work you cannot prepare properly. This new generation of artists have their own taste and they also respect Sufi kalams. The connection of soul and heart has nothing to do with age and they all felt enlightened from within.

During the recording, I was actually waiting to perform with these musicians as every stage in Coke Studio is different and I was tensed about my performance.

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