At this present moment, Ali Sethi should be beaming with pride. After all, picking up a magnificent review from The New York Times (NYT) is no small feat. And that’s exactly what has happened. But then neither is playing at Carnegie Hall an ordinary occurrence. But geography won’t keep the multicultural musician that is Ali Sethi from accomplishing great things.
The NYT, noted in a review how a refugee story inspired the film, Where We Lost Our Shadows, “a multimedia work for orchestra, video and three soloists that Mr. [Khaled] Jarrar created with the composer Du Yun.”
The NYT further noted, “The American Composers Orchestra, which commissioned it with Carnegie Hall, played the premiere on Thursday at Zankel Hall. Ms. Du and Mr. Jarrar decided to broaden the work’s focus to encompass timeless themes of human migration, exodus and refugee flights. Ms. Du, who won the Pulitzer Prize in Music for her 2016 opera Angel’s Bone, an allegory of human trafficking, turned to the heritage of ragas, a structure for melodic improvisation that itself migrated over centuries throughout Arab, Central Asian and Indo-Pakistani regions. Working with the Pakistani vocalist Ali Sethi, she chose ragas dealing with themes of water, rain and thunder; these raga-inspired passages were sung by Mr. Sethi on Thursday with both rawness and plaintive delicacy.”
Post-performance, Sethi took to Instagram and while sharing a picture, noted, “Today, some 12 years after I was formally inducted into the study of Khayaal, I sang a classical raga @carnegiehall. Thinking of #Lahore, my city and cradle, and of my teachers, Ustad Naseeruddin Saami and Farida Khanum.”
He also congratulated everybody else involved in the project and performance via another Instagram post.
As Ali Sethi weaves his magic abroad with his US Tour Spring 2019 with performances in New Jersey, New York, The Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., Chicago, Dallas, Oklohoma, Carnegie Hall in New York, Cincinnati, San Francisco and at the Harvard Arts Festival as the Finale, he has also been releasing music he has worked on with Narco title theme music producer and Grammy Award winning artist, Noah Georgeson.
Having released their first collaboration, ‘Chandni Raat’ that came accompanied with a music video co-directed by Sarmad Khoosat, he has put out a second song called ‘Dil Lagaayein’, which is also accompanied by a music video but more on that later.