Wahdat: A soul- stirring voice from Pakpattan

Lahore-Wahdat Rameez is a classical Sufi and folk singer, who hails from Pakpattan with a perfect blend of traditional music and contemporary creativity. He has carved a niche for himself through his soulful voice and performed at many Sufi festivals in the world. His singing style is full-throated. In an exclusive interview with The Nation, he talks about his ‘career and success’.

Could you tell us about your early music training?

I have no musical background, but music has been an intrinsic part of my life due to a God-given gift of a great voice. My father Dr Niaz and elder brother Toheed Ahmad (MA Music Gold Medalist) were the best inspiration for my musical career. My father was the one, who taught me music. I have honour to perform at various international Sufi music festivals globally with him. I was trained in the art of classical music by Ustad Ghulam Hussain Shaghan (Pride of Performance) and Ustad Badar-ur-Zaman (Pride of Performance).

How would you define music?

I was inspired by the voice of Mehdi Hassan and Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. Music is transcendental. It touches us, moves us and triggers a connection that can prove to be therapeutic. Classical music is performed with the intention of bringing listeners to a state of religious ecstasy and is known to hypnotize both performers and listeners.

What are you performing this year at Sufi Festival?

I have prepared a Kalam (Verse) of Hazrat Shah Hussain Sarkar, which I am going to perform this year.

Your new song is coming soon with Sanam Marvi, would you like to tell us something about it?

It is a sad title song for an upcoming Pakistani drama serial ‘Pyar Ki Dor’. The serial is produced by Doctor Mazhar Hussain and Dyan brother. I have collaborated with Sanam Marwi in this song and have high hopes from it. We are deciding to shoot the song abroad.

What changes do you feel need to be in Pakistani

music industry?

Music and musicians can never be limited by things as small as borders or ethnicities. Historically, music has always been a social equalizer. In Pakistan, the problem is that there is no musical platform which is large enough to draw musicians from various regions and traditions to bring them together to produce music. We need to establish music industry like our film industry has started emerging.

Do you agree that Classical music is becoming fashion more than art?

I don’t agree with it because classical music is an act of worship. It has particular characteristic that has led cultures around the world to use this music as an agent of healing, as well as a way to appeal to mass sentiments.

You were the one from Pakistan to perform in ‘Virasat Festival’ in India. Would you like to share your experience about it?

‘Virasat Festival’ is an Indian festival that celebrates all aspects of the country’s cultural heritage. More than 500 artistes came from across the country and presented their music at this festival and I was also a part of this festival and amused the spectators with my performance. The experience was overwhelming and people from all walks of life applauded my performance.

Would you like to reveal your upcoming projects?

These days, I’m working on the music of upcoming serial ‘Pyar Ki Dor’ in collaboration with very adorned Sufi singer Sanam Marvi. There are many exciting projects in the pipeline and I will unveil them soon.

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