Qawwali, jazz concert restore city’s pre-pandemic mojo

Poetry workshop also held; all events witness huge gatherings

A qawwali performance inside a restored stepwell, a jazz concert in an open pavilion and a poetry workshop inside a 200-year-old wooden pavilion over the past one week appeared to show that Hyderabad has regained its pre-pandemic mojo. All the events were full house with the audience wearing masks.

“It was incredible. Locals sitting and enjoying jazz, children and adults alike, apart from the regular music lovers. This was a treat to watch. Women in burkhas and men. You wouldn’t traditionally see them at this kind of a gig. Curiosity brought them in, music made them stay. There was a floating crowd of 1,000-1,200 people. And most of them sat for 4.5 hours,” says Anuj Gurwara, emcee of the jazz concert at the Deccan Park, who kept a steady tempo of history lessons of Hyderabad on the occasion.

Interestingly, this was only the second occasion when the Deccan Park amphitheatre was used for a public event, the earlier one being a performance by a Sufi singer. At the restored stepwell at Bapughat, the voice of Amjad Warsi and his brother boomed and echoed as they sang some well known compositions from their repertoire. “I quite enjoyed their performance. The rhythm and rousing performance suited the beautiful ambience. An unusual setting, with a hopeful story/message woven around heritage, water and restoration, with Hyderabad’s very own qawwali duo made for a magical evening,” says Kobita Das, a member of the audience.

While the two locations were the newest addition to the cultural milieu of the city, the use of Raja Bhagwandas’ wooden pavilion for Urdu poetry session was mesmerising. “I am worried how this place would be used. As there was no loudspeakers or lights, I agreed it to be used for the poetry session,” said Satish Shah, owner of the garden which has a beautiful carved wooden pavilion with Rajasthani jharokas.

“First, the location itself made for a great setting. There are so many options they could choose from even in terms of heritage but the organisers made a perfect choice — unique in terms of heritage, and very comfortable with the light and air circulation,” said Maleeha Fatima, who attended the session.

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