“If Music Be the Food of Love Play on”, And Play on It Did and Rapture Flowed…
Pictures by Annie Athar
On the evening of Sunday, August 21, The Pakistan Arts Council of the USC Pacific Asia Museum and LA Grand Performances proved once again that music has the power to transcend all boundaries. That Sunday evening there was no creed, no color, no religion, no walls and no language barrier as the music played, and the dancers danced, and the lovers loved. The night mesmerized and brought the crowd to their feet as Fuzon, the Pakistani band from Karachi, sang of love, God and evoked Saints.
The mission of The Pakistan Arts Council is to create awareness of the arts of Pakistan and the mission has certainly been accomplished as thousands gathered to hear Pakistani pop songs and qawwalis rendered to perfection by the best of Pakistan. The fusion of the fabulous LA Grand Performance and Pakistan Arts Council teams has been a collaboration that has succeeded where diplomacy and politics have failed. The mission has been accomplished through music.
Ayesha Kamran, the president of The Pakistan Arts Council said it best, “We know we have achieved our goals when we look across the thousands of Angelenos in the audience and feel the joy in their souls as they sway and give themselves completely to the call of the music. We can actually feel the barriers break as the music touches the deepest core of humanity.” She elaborated that the success of an event of this magnitude is only possible through the selfless dedication of Michael Alexander and the magnificent LA Grand Performance team, the tireless Arts Council members, and of course, the generous donations and support of the Pakistan Consulate of LA and Consul General, JabbarMemon, and the many, many magnanimous donors within the larger Pakistani American community.
FaridAyaz of the FaridAyaz and Abu Mohammad Qawwal group, started his performance by stating that "Pakistan is a spiritual land, a land of peace, we believe in peace, we teach peace and we follow peace.” FaridAyaz and Abu Mohammad qawwals continued the echoes of love and ecstasy with their mesmerizing songs of devotion to God: the god of Muslims, Christians, Jews and Hindus and every other creed, the God of Humanity.
The message was a message of peace and it was delivered with joy and drums and beats. The message was in the poetry of Sufis, in the evocation of prophets. We heard it loud and clear, and we echo the artists as we join our voices with theirs and announce, "We bring peace, love, joy and harmony, and we are here to stay. We will not be defeated, our voices our louder, our hearts bigger, our love will overcome divisions and differences. We are all One!"
The Arts Council and Grand Performance proved yet again that collaboration and cooperation delivers perfection. Thanks to both of these organizations, downtown Los Angeles was once again transformed into a beacon of spirituality as the crowd of thousands reveled in the beauty of the evening.
Delivering perfection is not an easy feat. Casting a spell and transfixing a crowd is an even harder task, yet as the transfixed audience sat mesmerized while the modern and the ancient fused into one, the two organizations proved once again that they have mastered the art of flawless execution.