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Artistes at Lahooti Melo Stress on Need To Include Music To Curricula

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Artistes at Lahooti Melo Stress on Need To Include Music To Curricula

Hyderabad: The need to include courses on music and dance in the curricula for educational institutes in Sindh was stressed at the Lahooti Melo 2018.

The bureaucrats of Sindh do enjoy the songs of Abida Parveen but they do nothing when it comes to taking practical steps such as adding music to curricula of educational institutes, journalist Wusatullah Khan said during one of the sessions at the two-day festival.

Saif Samejo’s Lahooti Melo returns for its third edition in 2018. The two-day festival, starting March 3, offers a marathon of music, poetry, dance and panel discussions around several subjects.

As to what’s in store for the festival, Samejo spoke with The Express Tribune, saying, We have a lot planned for this year. Apart from the musical performances, we have sessions about climate change with people such as Afia Salam and others talking about policies. Then there is no one talking about sex education and that causes cases like Zainab’s to happen. We have one session regarding that too.

While addressing Barrister Zamir Ghoomro, who was representing the Sindh government at the event, Wusatullah raised a question on the impediments in making performing arts a part of the curricula.

Wusatullah said music and dance were taught at educational institutes until 1970s, before the regime of General Zia-ul-Haq.

Also present at the two-day festival, television artist Khaled Anam said art in all forms is important for a country like Pakistan, which is being eaten up by terrorism.

He added that people in the entertainment industry were willing to work on the promotion of arts and culture and that too without charging money.

Anam spoke about the possibility of having performing arts as a part of the curricula, saying it was feasible as universities abroad offered doctorate in subjects such as music too.

Jami Chandio, a writer and literary critic, who was also present at the event, said the work that had to be carried out in the field of performing arts did not occur as the society was more focused on division on the basis of language and religion.

However, he added, events like the Lahooti Melo are a wake-up call for such a society as it reminds them that there is more to the world than division among people.

He continued, Another revolves around the role of music in education. The idea is to make music part of the curriculum, not merely as an extra-curricular activity. We’ve gathered policy makers to talk about it. Then we have a session about folklore. We live in stories, even religion is full of stories right or wrong but we believe in them. So, the session revolves around folk storytelling in our lives.

Samejo shared that one session will include poet and storyteller from New Mexico, who preserves native American indigenous stories and sounds, while another will be about poet Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai’s poetry.

There are over 50 artists performing at Lahooti Melo 2018 such as Aaroh, Samejo’s very own The Sketches, Somewhat Super, Lyari Underground, Akbar Khameeso Khan and Suhaee Abro a dance performance being a part of it.

The Sketches front man shared they will also celebrate Holi as part of the Lahooti Melo this year. Another segment will revolve around the upcoming Aamina Sheikh and Sanam Saeed-starrer film Cake, whose music has been composed by Samejo himself. In the segment, director Asim Abbasi and the cast (Sheikh, Adnan Malik, and Saeed) will talk about the relation between Sindh and their film and its music.

Cake includes three songs in Sindhi one of which titled, Meri Dunya was released just yesterday. Cake’s music is very interesting and it’s a fusion of Sindhi indigenous instruments, said Samejo.

When Samejo started Lahooti Melo a couple of years ago, the idea was to bridge the gap within the music industry and provide a social event for the people.

Being questioned if he has succeeded in doing it so far, the musician said that he likes to think they had made a slight difference. I look at the society and it’s getting darker. Even the industry is biased, especially against Balochis and Sindhis. As a musician, I am just being honest. Sindhi artists aren’t given space and we have tried to create some influence. It’s just a few lobbies that rule the industry. So, Lahooti Melo gives such artists a space.

Calling art a catalyst for change in such a society, founder and vocalist of Sketches band, Saif Samejo, said art plays its role when the society gets suffocated.

He said the society should open up to change and discussion on grave issues such as sexual violence. While speaking about the recent incident of rape and murder of Zainab in Kasur, Samejo said if people cannot explicitly talk about issues then they could at least create awareness in some way or the other among the youth so that they take the message forward.

The two-day festival that was held at a club close to Niaz Stadium where people from different walks of life participated.

Liaquat University of Medical and Health Sciences Vice Chancellor Dr Bikha Ram spoke about the importance of performing arts, saying there was a time when snakebite and epilepsy would be treated through music.

A poet and storyteller from the United States also attended the festival, where during one of the sessions he told the audience his family and friends were apprehensive of him visiting Pakistan. But, he added, the event changed his image of the country.

University of Sindh Vice Chancellor Dr Fateh Muhammad Burfat said Lahooti Melo was the beautiful face of Sindh, which was also a reflection of how the people of the province were.

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