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A selfie with Arif Lohar in Chandigarh

A selfie with Arif Lohar in Chandigarh

Hands in the air, mobile phones, camera, and action! As Pakistan-based folk musician, Arif Lohar, arrived at Paara, a night club in Chandigarh, to perform, the audience that kept waiting for three hours pulled their Smartphones out and clicked selfies and videos with Arif in the backdrop! What followed later was a Friday night drunk on the beats of dhol and intoxicated by the sufi music.

Arif performed over five songs, including Jhulle Jhulle Laal and Katteya Karoon that were stitched together with a common thread—Jugni ji. “I am a huge fan of Arif Lohar and we were told that the concert will begin at 8. I didn’t want to miss a thing so we were here at 7.30 pm sharp. It was quite heartbreaking to wait for three hours, but I am so glad that I got to see him,” shares Jagbir Singh, Police officer, Crime Branch. While we wondered what caused the delay of three hours for the concert that was scheduled at 8 pm, a meeting with Arif on the following day, cleared not just a few doubts, but also tendered a more meaningful and soulful perspective of Sufi music. “Well, I was ready by 7pm and in fact, we arrived in Chandigarh a day before the concert. In fact, we kept waiting in the car outside the venue for over half an hour before I was asked to perform,” he says. Quite a tried and tested scheme to boost the sales of food and alcohol, we are certain the audience had its fill before Lohar performed and so did the organisers. Never mind, we deemed it best to shift the topic to a more meaningful subject that he’s a pro at—Music. “I think music is all about choices and what you settle for. While music that suits the need of time is commercial, the one that I consider timeless and classic is the one that comes from your roots,” says Arif. While explaining to us with reference to context, he illustrates the literal meaning of maa boli (mother tongue). “For example, when you say mom, it wouldn’t touch the chords of your heart, while the word, maa would, that’s what maa boli and folk music does too,” he illustrates his point with a suitable example. He also doles out a few names in India, whose music he feels in rooted to the soil. “I am wondrous fond of Gurdas Maan, Hans Raj Hans and Wadali brothers.”

Of India and Pakistan

About the Ghulam Ali controversy he doesn’t indulge in mudslinging. “People in Pakistan love Bollywood. Everywhere we go to perform, just the mention of the word ‘artiste’ it melts hearts and brings smiles on people’s faces. An artiste, I believe is a messenger of peace,” he says.

Fusion fundamental

“I feel people, especially youngsters like listening to fusion music but that too needs careful influences, like the best of both worlds. I think Nusrat ji’s collaboration with Pearl Jam’s lead singer, Eddie Vedder, is the best example of good fusion music,” explains Arif as he signs off.

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