LAHORE  - Fortress Stadium was jam-packed enthralled by an impressive band display by Mehteran, a traditional Turkish military band at Lahore Cantonment. The tilting tunes, amidst drum beat and an immaculate performance in a Crescent and Star formation by Mehteran Band captivated the large audience. The stadium burst out of its seams as spectators gave a standing ovation when the Turkish band played the tune of “Jeeway Jeeway Pakistan” as an expression of solidarity with Pakistani nation.
Acting Commander Lahore Corps, Major General Bilal Akbar and Brigadier Necdet Tuna of Turkish army were the Chief guests. The participants of Mehteran Band were presented souvenirs as a token of remembrance.
Mehter is considered as the oldest military band of the world and pioneers of military music. The clothing of Mehter has distinct characteristics and beauty with regard to its color and cut. The instruments used are shrill pipe, pipe, kos drum, kettle drum, bell and human voice.
At the start of the display a band sergeant stepped forward and called ‘Attention Mehterbasi Aga, it is time for happiness and fun’. The concert then began with Mehterbasi shouting ‘Haydi Ya Allah’ – Attention lets go’. The Mehter band members formed a crescent to perform, and played standing except for the nakkare players, who sat crosslegged at the right hand tip of crescent, followed anti-clockwise by the zurnas, bass drums, cymbals and trumpets. While  marching, the band members paused every three steps and turned to right and left in salutation, in a rhythm set by the drums and chanted ‘Rahim Allah, Kerim Allah’ (Merciful God, Gracious God). The band was led by Major Murad a Turkish Army officer.
The Ottomans Mehter music, which accompanied the Ottomans Army in battle, is part of folk culture all over Turkey. It is considered as a symbol of sovereignty, independence and heroism of Turk Nation. Its ardent sound during battle instilled the soldiers with strength and courage.
The rousing songs and crashing sound of the great Kos Drums were at the same time capable of unnerving and demoralising the enemy on the brink of battle. The Mehter band was established in 1299 AD. The band has its own distinctive marching step, whose rhythm is that of words ‘Gracious God is Good - God is compassionate’. In former centuries the Mehter band used to play even at night on the battlefield to prevent the camp guards from falling asleep. They also performed during peace time to cheer up the nation through their stirring music.
The Mehter band display is part of cultural exchange programme between the two brotherly countries of Turkey and Pakistan.
This relationship of fraternity is based on commonalities of faith, history, culture and heritage blended over a thousand years. Both countries have a history of cooperation in the field of trade, communications, culture and defence.
Meanwhile the Turkish military band Mehteran also offered special performance with melodious tunes at the Al-Hamra Cultural Complex on Saturday.
Major Murat Igli was the commander of the band while Deniz Ergdn performed as music conductor for the guest band. This band was invited especially from Turkey to make Pakistan aware of key Turkish music traditions. The band played various military tunes besides presenting a Pakistan national song ‘Jeevay Jeevay Pakistan’ with quite expertise. The 70-member band was impressed the crowd with their music and colourful dresses. A large number of families along students attended the ceremony.
Earlier, Provincial Minister for Sports Rana Mashhood Ahmad Khan and Director General Sports Board Punjab (SBP) Usman Anwar addressed the ceremony and highlighted the significance of friendship between Pakistan and Turkey.
Later, the sports minister and the DG SBP presented a souvenir to Brig Toda of the guest band, who in return, presented a souvenir to the provincial minister from the Turkish Army.