Islamabad: The National Institute of Folk and Traditional Heritage (Lok Virsa) organized a grand finale of the Saroz competition (traditional Baloch music) during its ongoing Folk Festival ‘Lok Mela’ here at Shakarparian.
Former Chief Minister Balochistan Dr. Abdul Malik Baloch was the chief guest, whereas Mir Mujeeb-ur-Rehman Mohammad Hassani, Minister for Culture, Tourism and Archives, Government of Baluchistan attended the event as guest of honour.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Malik said ‘Lok Virsa deserves commendation for promoting Saroz in such a beautiful way. The personal efforts of Dr. Fouzia Saeed in projecting the true culture of Balochistan is praiseworthy. We will support every initiative that can lead to create national harmony and integration among the nation, which is need of the hour’. He also congratulated prize winning contestants.
Provincial Minister Culture Mir Mujeeb ur Rehman also spoke during the finale and appreciated the contribution of Lok Virsa in highlighting indigenous folk culture of all provinces and regions through mega event like Lok Mela.
Earlier in her welcoming remarks, Dr. Fouzia Saeed, Executive Director, Lok Virsa said “Lok Virsa is a national institution established for the promotion and preservation of Pakistan’s folk and traditional heritage. It includes folklore of every province and region. We undertook an initiative to promote “Saroz” as a symbol of peace, love and progress and to make it an instrument of youth where they learn it as an expression of love for their heritage and creativity for their future. We believe that this symbol will reflect the real people of Balochistan and bring the youth closer to their cultural identity”.
During an extensive visit to Balochistan, Lok Virsa carried out auditions of Saroz players in different places and organized performances in Turbat and Quetta, she added.
Fifteen short-listed candidates were invited for a final round of performances during the festival. They were Asghar from Rujhan, Azizullah from Kashmore, Riaz Hussain from Sui, Imam Bakhsh from Sibi, Jhangu Khan from Tando Allayar, Beram Khan from Kharan, Horaan from Kohlu, Muhammad Shakir from Chaghi, Ghulam Nabi from Kallat, Abdul Hakim from Loralai, Rehmatullah from Panjgoor, Fida Ahmad & Abdul Baqi from Gawdar, Muhammad Amin from Kech and Dad Shah from Pasni.
Three cash awards and two consolation prizes were granted to the best performers on the decision of a jury comprising established musician Ustad Sachu Khan from Sui, eminent musicologist & author from Karachi S.M. Shahid and outstanding Sarangi player Taimoor Khan.
Colourful musical performances were also presented during the finale. Those who performed include Jhangi Khan, Khadim Hussain, Leva dance group and others.
On the other hand, Lok Mela continued with all its festivities. It focuses on diversity within provinces and provides an opportunity to craftspeople not only to display their artisanship at the federal capital for ten consecutive days but also to sell their products to public without involvement of middleman, thus enabling them to understand the marketing mechanism of various crafts. The Mela also serves to afford an opportunity to the diplomatic community to witness authentic folk musical and cultural entertainment besides buying traditional items on affordable prices.
Around 500 artisans and artists from different parts including remotest regions are participating in Lok Mela, bringing with them their creativity in arts, crafts and innovation.
The daily features of the Mela include provincial cultural pavilions, folkloric song & dance ensembles, rural musicians, cultural nights, shopping mall, craft bazaar, artisans at work, traditional food court and many other attractions.
The special events of the festival are a thrilling performance of emerging child folk stars on 3rd April, celebrating diversity folk performances on 4th & 6th April, Sindhi musical night on 5th April, musical night of Gilgit Baltistan & Kashmir on 7th April, Punjab musical night on 8th April, provincial award ceremony & Balochistan musical night on 9th April, concluding ceremony & awards to artisans & artists and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa musical night on 10th April, 2016.
Lok Mela is open for public daily from 11 am to 10 pm. Entry ticket is Rs.30/- per head for adults and discounted Rs. 20/- per head for students.