Sachal Jazz Ensemble enthralls big audience at UN concert marking Pak’s 70th anniversary

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UNITED NATIONS, Aug 15 (APP): Pakistani Sachal Jazz Ensemble gave an exhilarating performance before a jam-packed UN General Assembly Hall, with a blend of traditional and modern music, as Pakistan celebrated the 70th anniversary of its independence at the world stage.
The prestigious gold-and-blue Hall resounded with slogans of “Pakistan
Zinda Bad” and “Jeeway, Jeeway Pakistan” as Pakistan’s Ambassador to the UN, Maleeha Lodhi, welcomed to the concert a galaxy of ambassadors and representatives of a number of countries as well as members of Pakistani community.
Introducing the acclaimed group to the distinguished audience,
Ambassador Lodhi said, “The music from the Sachal Jazz Ensemble you will hear tonight is part of the cultural renaissance underway in Pakistan today, in art, music and literature.”
Calling it a reflection of a vibrant society undiminished by many
challenges, she said, “This profusion of creative voices also reflects the confidence of a new generation of Pakistanis, proud of its traditions but also connected to the wider world.”
UN Deputy Secretary General Amina Mohammed, who was the chief guest, praised Pakistan’s positive role and its contribution to United Nations efforts to promote peace and stability in the world.
“We recognize Pakistan’s outstanding contributions to the work of the
United Nations, including being elected seven times to the Security Council,” she said.
“We commend Pakistan’s remarkable dedication to the United Nations
peacekeeping — with more than 7,000 Pakistanis serving as blue helmets today — and more than 170,000 who have served over the decades.
“We applaud Pakistan’s commitment to sustainable development — and its pledge to make Sustainable Development Goals its own national goals.”
Pointing out that she was raised in the same place that later gave birth
to Boko Haram militant group, Amina Mohammed said, “I know what it’s like to see your home maligned and misunderstood because it was hijacked by those who sought to give us a face that is not ours but that of extremists, lost souls.’
“Tonight, we embrace the narrative of peace, culture, diversity, honour.
Tonight, as we celebrate Pakistan, we also celebrate what makes us unique and what makes us United.”
Noting that the jazz great Dave Brubeck was a big fan if the Sachal Jazz Ensembe, the UN deputy secretary-general said, Jazz unites continents, transcends barriers, and thrives on collaboration, creativity and innovation.
“What better place to celebrate that than here in this great town hall
of the world’s people.”
In her remarks, Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi said Pakistan was home to one of the world’s oldest Civilizations like Mohenjo Daro and Taxila, among others.
‘At the cross-roads of cultures and civilizations, the infusion of
ideas, thought and intellect, have enriched the tapestry of our identity and national soul,” she said.
“Inspired by such rich civilizational roots, the vision of our founding
fathers and the resilience of our people, my country has forged ahead to make progress in virtually every area of life and to take our rightful place as a respected member of the international community.” The story of Pakistan was an unremitting tale of the courage and conviction of its people, who have continued to defy all odds, not only to achieve a homeland of their own, but also in preserving their hopes and aspirations in times of hardship and uncertainty.
“From the majestic heights of the Himalayas to the rich and fertile
plains of Central and Southern Pakistan, it is this indomitable spirit that has enabled my people to navigate the pathways of daily life, with the confidence that no challenge is insurmountable to the scale of their ambition.” the Pakistani envoy said.
Drawing on the growing strength of a robust democracy, and an improved security environment, and driven by a stable and crisis-free macro-economic environment and strong domestic demand, Pakistan had achieved a remarkable economic turnaround and was set on an upward trajectory of growth.
The Pakistani envoy said the emergence of a vibrant middle class was
laying the foundations of Pakistan’s long-term economic progress and sustainable democracy.
“Music, it is rightly said, transcends borders and helps to build
bridges across culture. It is therefore an invaluable medium to promote understanding between civilizations,” she said.
“Today, this is needed more than ever. At a time when we see the rise of intense xenophobia and hear talk of building walls and barriers nothing is more important than the need to listen to each other, build respect for the “other” and promote greater engagement across cultures. It is by enhancing our understanding of the values of cultural diversity that helps us to learn to live together better.”
Ambassador Lodhi said events such as today’s music performance would contribute to that process and promote that critical exchange of culture, which deepens mutual respect and understanding.
Led by master flutist Baqir Abbas, the music produced by the ensemble
mesmerized the world community for about an hour and half hour with its popular tracks including its founder Izzat Majeed’s Shalamar, Dave Brubeck’s Classic Take Five, Lahore Jazz and Tere Ishaq Nachaya.
The evening was rounded off the highly popular track Shahbaz Qalandar that brought the audience to their feet.
The concert, organized by the Pakistan Mission to the UN, was
oversubscribed and attracted people from all walks of life and across all nationalities. It was largely-attended by diplomats, UN officials, members of the civil society organizations, institutions of performing arts, international media and Pakistani diaspora.