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November 21, 2019

German Jazz quartet entertains enthusiasts at PNCA


November 21, 2019

Islamabad : It was a fascinating experience to listen to lilting Persian poetry pouring from the mouth of Ms Cymin Samawatie, a German of Iranian heritage, singing classical Persian poetry, including those of highly revered Maulana Jalaluddin Rumi, Khawaja Shams-ud-Din Muhammad Hafiz Sherazi and one of the most controversial but very famous poetess of Iran, Farough Farrokhzad.

And that too in a performance by the internationally acclaimed Berlin-based German Jazz quartet, ‘Cyminology’ that is presently on a tour of Pakistan. The band has already performed in Lahore at the ‘Faiz Mela’ and today (Tuesday), the Goethe Institute, in collaboration with the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Islamabad, arranged the performance of ‘Cyminology band’ at the Pakistan National Council of the Arts (PNCA) as part of the on-going ‘Islamabad Art Festival’.

It was really fantastic to listen to live Persian music for the first time. The last time we heard Persian music being televised was by the PTV, probably back in early 1970s that a famous Iranian singer, Madam Gogosh, sang a beautiful Persian song on PTV, ‘Man amade am, which still rings out in ears some time. Recently a Pakistani singer also sang the same song in a very popular music programme on a private TV channel.

However, listening to Ms Cymin Samawatie live created entirely different feelings. Persian mystic poetry sung in company of a Piano, double bass and drum, the presentation created an entirely different atmosphere. Though the lyrics were Persian, some of which the Urdu speaking folks can pick up here and there and understand as well, the rendition by Ms Cymin, the vocalist, created a very strong impact.

The quartet, led by vocalist Ms Cymin Samawatie with Mr Benedikt Jahnel on Piano, Mr Ralf Schwarz on Double Bass and Mr Ketan Bhatti on drum, gave one of those sterling performance for which the music lovers of Islamabad crave for. And one must say that their cravings were amply served and satisfied.

The rendition from Maulana Rumi’s ‘Masnavi’ was particularly soul lifting and the dramatic ups and downs by the vocalist, starting from humming and gradually cascading to alto to low note and continuing to hit crescendo, with her head thrown back and body arched like a bow, enthralled the audience.

She also communicated in Urdu with the audience, making a promise that if she had a chance to come to Pakistan again she will come with her Urdu much improved! Then she sung an Urdu song, ‘Aaj ki raat’ and earned a big hand of applause.

The band earned a standing ovation as they bowed of the stage at the end of the performance only to return to take a second bow as the audience continued clapping appreciating the performance.

And as a parting gift to audience Ms Cymin sang another song, written by Ms Forough Farrokhzad. She explained to the audience that the poetess, who died quite young at the age of 32, spent an eventful but traumatic life as after her divorce from her first husband, the husband took away her only son, never allowing her to see her song again.

Forough Farrokhzad wrote this song especially for her son, letting him know that no matter what he would be told by anybody around him but she was her real mother!

She also introduced the members of her Band which was founded in 2002 in Berlin. Benedikt Jahnel, who learned playing piano later went on to study Mathematics and received his doctorate in the subject. Benedikt Jahnel had always loved playing music and eventually settled to a double bass player while the Delhi-born Ketan Bhatti was described as a ‘fantastic drummer’ who met and became part of the group.

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