The New York Sufi Music Festival

Pakistani Peace Builders, A New Peace Building Initiative, Launched

Jul 20, 2010, 08:00 ET from Pakistani Peace Builders

NEW YORK, July 20 /PRNewswire/ -- The first New York Sufi Music Festival will begin with a free, public performance with several Sufi-inspired Pakistani ensembles at Union Square Park, 5:00 PM EDT, Tuesday, July 20, 2010.

Organized by the Pakistani Peace Builders, a new initiative of New Yorkers, Pakistani-Americans, and Pakistanis, the New York Sufi Music Festival will be a series of musical concerts featuring multi-generational Pakistani artists, representing Pakistan's diverse regions, who will perform in the Sufi tradition.  

The Mohatta Palace Museum, Karachi, is the lead partner for the Festival and played a key curatorial role in bringing together a full roster of performers including, Pakistan's Living Legend Abida Parveen, Balochistan's Akhtar Chanal Zehri, Mekaal Hasan Band, Nadir Abbas, Rafaqat Ali Khan, Soung Faqirs from Sindh's shrine of the revered Sufi saint Sachal Sarmast, Zeb and Haniya.  Virtuoso instrumentalists include flutist Ghous Bux Brohi; Haji Sultan Chaney on rabab; Sachoo Khan on Sarangi/Surindo; Riaz Hussain on damboori; dhol/percussionists Abdul Rasheed and Abid Hussain; matka/clay pot percussionist Muhammad Ahmed; and tabla/percussionist Tari Khan.

A second public and free performance by Mekaal Hasan Band and Zeb and Haniya will be held as a part of the Spiral Music Series at the Rubin Museum of Art, 150 West 17th Street, at 5:00 PM EDT, Wednesday, July 21, 2010.

According to Festival Co-Directors, Mahnaz Fancy and Zeyba Rahman, "Arts and culture have a wide-reaching transformative power that, by touching us emotionally, can shift perspectives in a moment. In this troubled time, as lifelong New Yorkers and cultural professionals, we are dedicated to engaging artistic means to provide a more nuanced understanding of Muslim and South-Asian culture.  We see this Festival as an offering from Pakistan that carries an important healing message at a time when it is most urgently needed."

The festival will also include two private, invitation-only concerts: a performance at The Asia Society as part of the Creative Voices of Islam series will take place on Thursday, July 22nd for a members-only audience, and a performance for the United Nations community held on Wednesday, July 21, 2010.

Initiated in the U.S. by His Excellency Ambassador Abdullah Hussain Haroon, Pakistan's Permanent Representative to the United Nations, the New York Sufi Music Festival will celebrate the common bonds and shared values of peace and solidarity that the vast majority of Pakistanis have traditionally affirmed, and continue to reaffirm today.

In the immediate context of the terrorist attack on the Sufi shrine of Data Durbar in Lahore, Pakistan on July 1, 2010 and recalling the attempted terrorist bombing in Times Square in May, the Festival asserts the urgency of a public expression of the longstanding values of tolerance, respect, and commitment to universal human rights which characterize the vast majority of Pakistanis.

"Individual acts of violence espoused by any minority cannot be allowed to define us all.  We need to urgently give voice to the true Pakistan by showing our peaceful human face and culture to demonstrate the tolerant moderate Islam practiced by the overwhelming majority," said Ambassador Haroon. "In order for Pakistan's people and culture to be better understood, we are calling on all Pakistanis, Muslims and global citizens to come together to celebrate in the peaceful and healing spirit of our Sufi tradition as expressed through the arts."

Pakistan International Airlines and the Roosevelt Hotel are the lead sponsors for the Festival. The National Bank of Pakistan is a sponsor along with several individual donors.

Muslim Consultative Network, a New York City-based nonprofit seeking to build bridges amongst communities, is serving as fiscal sponsor of the PPB New York Sufi Music Festival. Several tri-state area Pakistani-American, Muslim-American community and human rights organizations serve as outreach partners, including American Pakistan Foundation, Breakthrough, Council for the Advancement of Muslim Professionals (CAMP-New York), Council of the Peoples Organization (COPO), DIL, LRBT America, OPEN-New York, Pakistan American Public Affairs Committee (PAKPAC), Pakistan League of America, Pakistan League of USA, and Your DIL.

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SOURCE Pakistani Peace Builders