A Sufi Voice of Pakistan: A Conversation with Sanam Marvi


NEW YORK, April 5, 2017 — Pakistani singer Sanam Marvi offers insights into her music, vocal techniques, and philosophy in this lecture-demonstration, which includes Marvi performing several songs. The conversation was moderated by Rachel Cooper and includes additional performances and insights with Pakistani singer Arieb Azhar. (1 hr., 17 min.)

“Deeply resonant. Sublime. Transporting.”
The International News (Pakistan)

Preceding her rare, one-night only performance at BAM, Asia Society presents an intimate evening of music and conversation with superstar Pakistani singer Sanam Marvi, offering insights into the music, vocal techniques, and philosophy of her repertory in this lecture-demonstration, which will include Marvi performing several songs.

Sanam Marvi will be in conversation with Arieb Azhar and Rachel Cooper, Asia Society,

About Sanam Marvi:

Born in 1986, Marvi hails from the small city of Hyderabad, in Sindh. By the age of 7, she began singing with her father, Faqir Ghulam Rasool, during festivals and ceremonies held at shrines throughout Pakistan’s Sindh and Punjab provinces. Female performers are fairly common at these festivals, but Marvi’s voice stood out for its range and clarity. She continued her studies under noted gurus, including Ustad Fateh Ali Khan at the Gwailor gharana (school). Now a rising star across the subcontinent, Marvi made a breakout performance on Pakistan national television in 2009. Her powerful and revelatory interpretations of the sub-continent’s mystics reach across cultural borders and generations to offer solace in our uncertain and often troubled times.

Marvi’s interpretations -- she sings in Urdu, Sindhi, Punjabi, and Saraiki -- transcend the ordinary, drawing listeners from outside the cultural world of the South Asian Sufi saints into their message. “Vocal music across cultures shares many attributes; people shouldn’t feel intimidated musically,” she insists. “It’s great to understand the poetry, but that’s not the most important thing. If you come with an open heart, we will connect.”

About Arieb Azhar:

Arieb Azhar was born in Rawalpindi, grew up in Karachi, spent much of his life in Zagreb, and is currently based in Islamabad. Irish blues, Croatian gypsy music, Panjabi kafi, and Urdu qawwali are only a few of Azhar's many inspirations. During Azhar's 13 years in Croatia, he spent six years playing Irish music in a band called the Shamrock Rovers. There he also started becoming interested in qawwali and other Sufi styles of South Asian music. Although Azhar often sings Sufi music he is very careful not to identify himself as a Sufi. He has previously stated "I'm not officially initiated into a Sufi order, though I have many friends from orders who encourage me in my music, and I feel that connection is strong enough for me to continue growing in my work." Among other projects, Arieb Azhar is in post-production for a television series about the endangered musical instruments of Pakistan, and is currently on tour with Sanam Marvi.

Presented in conjunction with Sanam Marvi at BAM, Thursday, April 6 at 7:30 pm.

Listen to Sanam Marvi's perform here:

Center Stage is a public diplomacy initiative of the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, administered by the New England Foundation for the Arts in cooperation with the U.S. Regional Arts organizations, with support from the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art. Center Stage Pakistan is made possible by the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan, and the Henry Luce Foundation. General management is provided by Lisa Booth Management, Inc.

Part of Asia Society's ongoing initiative Creative Voices of Muslim Asia, supported by the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art and the New York State Council on the Arts.

Event Details

Wed 05 Apr 2017
6:30 - 8 p.m.

725 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10021
Buy Tickets
$8 members; $10 students/seniors; $12 nonmembers
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