A Delightful Performance
By Ahmad and Nuzhat Faruqui

We spent an enchanted evening last night (April 30) at Chandni's in Fremont. I would like to share some of the moods and feelings that were triggered in me by the magical voice of Habib Wali Mohammad. The singer was at the height of his powers. His voice has not changed an iota since we first heard him on PTV in 1969, which was also the first year for both of us at Karachi University. You can imagine the impact his words and voice had on our teenage hearts then. Well, the impact has not diminished with time. If anything, last night I felt it more intensely than I ever before.
The evening began with a delicious round of appetizers followed by a multi-course dinner, desserts and tea. Then came the main event, in another tastefully decorated room with excellent acoustics. The first number was sung around 10:30 pm and the last one at 2 am. I can't recall any other event where we have stayed till the "curtain came down." Last night was a very special event.
He sang all of his great hits effortlessly, with remarkable vigor and verve. The tabalchi was outstanding. Habib sahib's younger son, Nadeem, joined him in playing the harmonium and also sang a couple of numbers.
Habib began with, "Ratain theen chandni,..." and then came, after a few lesser known numbers, "Aashian jull gaya......" Then came, "Yeh na thee humari qismat...(interfaced with a ghazal from Daag that seemed to answer each verse of Ghalib, which was sung by his son)." He concluded the program with, "Lugta naheen jay jeey mera...", which certainly made my eyes wet.
During the interval, we picked up a complete set of five CDs, one tape and one DVD all for the incredible price of $40.
I found out that the singer was born in 1921 and had completed his MBA from Syracuse University in 1946, a year ahead of partition! He lives in Southern California and will occasionally grace private evenings.
The good news, for those who missed the event, is that Habib sahib will be back on July 16 at the Santa Clara Marriott. He will entertain the audience at a Human Development in Pakistan event organized by Javed Khan. Rumor has it that Imran Khan will be the keynote speaker but this is still unconfirmed.
I would estimate the crowd last night at about 150. Several friends of ours from the South Bay were in the audience but only one other couple from Danville: Mr. and Mrs. Akbar. Mashallah, they were observing their 40th wedding anniversary. Well, our 30th is coming in August, and last night got us in the right mood.


Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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