Pakistan's legendary folk singer Attaullah Khan Niazi Esakhelvi, who is here for his first public performance in India, hopes that he leaves behind good memories and carries some with him back home.
"I will perform for Indian public for the first time. Earlier, I had performed (privately) for a few friends. But this is my first performance for the public and it feels good. I will try to leave behind good memories and take back home a few good memories," Niazi told IANS in an interview.
Fondly called Lala (elder brother in Punjabi dialect), the 62-year-old is known for hits like "Dil lagaya tha dillagi ke liye", "Ek phul motiye ka", "Qameez teri kaali", "Ither zindagi ka janaza" and "We Bol Sanwal".
He was set to perform at Purana Quila here Saturday evening for a concert Ibaadat: Mehfil-E-Ruhaaniyat, where 92.7 BIG FM is the exclusive radio partner. The concert is being held for cervical cancer awareness.
He will treat the audience to Sufi songs and then sing "what the audience requests for," said Niazi, who would like to sing live in India again and again if given a chance.
The Pakistani Pride of Performance award-winning musician, who usually sings in his Seraiki dialect but has also sung in Punjabi and Urdu, is also open to working with Indian composers.
"If someone invites me, I will do it. There is nothing as of now. If I get an offer, I will see how the song is and the melody," he said.
Being an artist from across the border, he says there are difficulties in working in India, but luckily, things worked out in his favour this time.
"Firstly, ministry of tourism is involved and the concert is for cancer awareness. So, there weren't many difficulties. But I hope in future also, no issue arises," said Niazi, who grew up listening to late legendary singer Mohammed Rafi in his native Mianwali.
Known for his livewire shows involving the use of traditional instruments like harmonium, tabla and dholak, he is still in love with music from the old and gold times.
"I still listen to Kishore Kumar, Lata Mangeshkar and Mohammed Rafi's songs and I feel at peace. Contemporary music doesn't have the same charm. I can't give opinion on a particular artist as every flower has distinctive smell," he said.
His 27-year-old son is also set to break into the music industry and the proud father says that he will sing contemporary songs as well as folk.
"My son will also soon join this field and you will get to hear him soon. He has got talent and the rest depends on the listeners.
"It's about moving forward with folk music. That's our culture and irrespective of what makeover you give...folk is the genre that is becoming a hit with some help from technology. He is also using that," said Niazi, who himself took up a career in music against his parents' wishes.
"Nowadays, it's different. Media has educated people and even people from good families are taking up this profession," added the singer, who hopes that the charm of folk music continues for generations to come.
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