LAHORE-Sajjad Tafu is a classical guitarist, singer-songwriter and music director.  Tafu has played music in more than 300 films. He received the coveted prize of President of Pakistan’s Pride of Performance Award. He is the only guitarist in Pakistan to get this award. He has been working in the music industry for over 40 years.

In an exclusive interview with The Nation he talks about his career and success. Following are excerpts of the interview:

When and how did you start your career as a guitarist?

I started my career as a guitarist at the age of 12 by playing guitar in a movie Aina (1977). With the passage of time I gained popularity as a solo guitarist from the Pakistani film Bandish’s song “Sona Na Chandi Na Koi Mahal Janeman”.

I belong to Mozang gharana, renowned musical family of artistes who have served this nation for a long time. Since my childhood I was passionate about playing guitar and today I play Ragas, thumaris, folk and ghazals on guitar. I joined Lahore Arts Council in 2009 and today I train students from all over the world at this organization.

What do you love about classical guitar?

I have been teaching classical guitar for 4 decades. What I love about classical guitar is the intimacy one gets when one playing the instrument. Modern classical guitar repertoire draws heavily from jazz, folk, improvised music, art music. Classical technique is perceived to be perhaps one of the most demanding out of any style.

You have travelled all over the world and portrayed a positive image of Pakistani artists. Would you like to share your experience?

Touring and performing turned out to be a very good experience for me because I was very young. It was a dream come true when I was performing in different countries. The exposure helped me in many ways. I learnt about the cultures and ways of life of different civilizations. Working with foreign artistes is always an honour because they appreciate talent and give you the freedom to perform.

In Alhamra Arts Council you teach your students in your guitar class?

Students from all over the province come here to here to learn how to play guitar. Alhamra Arts Council has always promoted artistes and serving as a guitarist teacher is a privilege for me. We teach students how things work in professional music environment. We teach basic natural notes in start on the guitar which are two frets apart, with the exception being the single fret intervals between E and F (open string and the first fret) and between B and C (seventh and eighth frets).

You were the judge of Chief Minister’s talent hunt program 2017. Would you like to share your experience?

Chief Minister’s talent hunt programme gave an opportunity to young artistes to showcase their talent. The response was overwhelming. To be judge of such a huge project was a great experience for me. Out of 26 artistes we had to select three which was not an easy job.  After the grand finale of talent hunt I had a call from an American Music Academy and they offered me to come to USA and teach their children Pakistani music which was a moment to be proud.

I would request the government to make an academy for me so, that I could further promote this art and make Pakistan feels proud.

Would you like to share your upcoming projects?

I recently held 4-day workshop on guitar at Oslo in Norway. I have composed music for a film and drama serial which will be released after Eidul-fitr.