Singing for a Cause in Sacramento
By Ras H. Siddiqui

          
Glimpses of the “Singing Stars 2009 Concert” featuring the vocal talents of Faisal Lucky, Rasika Sekhar, Zaheer Abbas and last but not least Musarrat Abbas

They may be young and are not major stars yet. But even Noor Jahan and Lata Mangeshkar had to start somewhere, as did the late Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. Plus the city was Folsom and not Sacramento.

Billed as the “Singing Stars 2009 Concert”, featuring the vocal talents of Faisal Lucky, Rasika Sekhar, Zaheer Abbas and last but not least Musarrat Abbas, the performance was impressive: the local South Asian crowd appeared quite pleased on the beautiful Saturday evening here on June 13 th and the Folsom Community Center was just one center of activity.

Viewers who watch Zee TV and especially its Sa Re Ga Ma Pa program with its talent competition (somewhat like the American Idol) can relate closely to the young people that periodically come on the show to be discovered. Earlier this year, Sacramento had the privilege of seeing Darshana Menon and Jeffrey Iqbal perform, two finalists from the same show.  And now this “second wave” came to hit us, segments of which were quite pleasing to the ear.

Emcee Naeem Syed introduced the program and its first performer, Faisal Lucky who started things rolling immediately with Shahbaz Qalandar, Sohniyay and a couple of other Punjabi hits for an audience that itself got a late start (people kept a 9:00 pm target of arrival). The spectators were reminded that they were welcome to donate to the cause of displaced people in Pakistan and that boxes for their contributions were there to make this event meaningful too. And for sponsorship, Mehran Restaurant, Geo Insurance Center and Noor Jewelers were recognized.

The second performer Rasika Sekhar started with a surprisingly lovely ballad “Aaj Jaanay Ki Zid Na Karo” made famous by Habib Wali Mohammed. Rasika has a touch of the classical to her voice but since we live in the Bollywood age, it appears that no program is complete these days without at least two songs from the film “Rab ne bana di Jodi”. And for the Sacramento Rasika’s duet with the next performer Zaheer Abbas (not the cricket player), the song “Billo Rani” followed and was also very well received as were Sajna, Bin Tere Kiya Jeena” inspired many a romantic in the audience. Zaheer’s version of Haulay Haulay and Shawa Shaawa were also very popular.

The last performer Musarrat Abbas owes a bit of his fame to Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, the late singing pride of the city of Faisalabad in Punjab, Pakistan, and one of the main reasons that the Sufi Qawwali singing art form has gained popularity in America . Musarrat sang “Terey Bin Jia Jayay Na, Dholna, Piya, Afreen Afreen, Yaari, and the Punjabi hit Maujain Maujan” to name a few. One needs to give full credit to his effort, because from those of us who have had the opportunity of seeing Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan perform, we know how difficult he is to duplicate.

In conclusion, it was good to see the local South Asian community in the Sacramento area having some fun and seeing these newcomers perform. Thanks are in order to Sohail, Nadeem, Haq Nawaz and Mehran for putting this effort together for a good cause.

 

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Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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