‘Lion of instruments’ with three melody strings

Pakhtunkhwa government arranges Qissa Khawani Bazaar Festival at Shakarparian

ISLAMABAD – The Qissa Khawani Bazaar festival organised by the National Institute of Folk and Traditional Heritage at Lok Virsa in collaboration with the Directorate of Culture of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is in full swing here at the Garden Avenue of the Shakarparian.

The festival features ambiance of Qissa Khawani Bazaar of Peshawar, craft displays, food court, musical, dance and Rubab performances. The grand finale of the Rubab contest was held at Lok Virsa open air theatre, in which 15 contestants participated from different parts of the country.

They were Bilal Khan Bilal from Malakand Thana, Ihtisham Khan, Muhammad Ali-1, Siraj Gul, Sa’d Haider, Muhammad Ali-2, Muhammad Junaid Khan, Liaquat, Shahid Hussain and Umer Gul from Peshawar, Fazal Diyan from Sawabi, Wahab Ali from Nowshera Kalan, Rahat Gul from Mardan, Adnan Haider from Para Chinar, Sanaan Khan and Ata Khan from Swat.

The Rubab is known as “the lion of instruments”. It is a short-necked lute whose body is carved out of a single piece of wood, with a membrane, covering the hollow bowl of the sound-chamber, upon which the bridge is positioned. It has three melody strings tuned in fourths, three drone strings and 11 or 12 sympathetic strings.

The instrument is made from the trunk of a mulberry tree, the head from an animal skin such as goat, and the strings either gut (from the intestines of young goats, brought to the size of thread) or nylon. Earlier in her welcoming address Executive Director Lok Virsa Dr. Fouzia Saeed said “Time has not dimmed the lure and appeal of the centuries old Qissa Khawani Bazaar of Peshawar, which still stands as a monument of the golden days gone by when the merchants and nomads of Central Asia, middle and far east used to tell tales at night around a bonfire after a hard day of bargaining and business.”

She said that love, war, fairy tales and rivalries and in mythology formed the favourite subjects of the folk tales. That is why it became known as the Bazaar of Story Tellers. Though the business activities still abound in the area dotted with Qehwa Khanas, the story tellers of the yester years, no longer form part of the canvass, lately unfolded. They have vanished from the scene altogether. It is precisely due to this reason that Lok Virsa has painstakingly launched efforts to save this rich treasure for posterity, she said.

Cash awards were granted to the winners for three top positions of 1st, 2nd and 3rd besides consolation prizes. The judges of the contest were Ustad Ghulab Afridi, Ustad Nazir Gul and Ustad Sabz Ali. Outstanding Pushto singers Nabeela Wadood, Bukhtiar Khattak, Shahid Ali Khan and Abasin Yousufzai also performed live in a concert during the grand finale.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister’s Adviser Amjad Khan Afridi, Afghanistan Ambassador Jinan Mosazaiand Portugal Ambassador Dr Joao Paulo Marques Sabido Costawere present on the occasion.

A large number of music lovers from Khyber Paktunkhwa and twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad also attended the event and enjoyed the thrilling performances rendered by the artists, musicians and Rubab players. Other features of the ongoing Qissa Khawani Bazaar are craft displays, artisans at work, food court and many other attractions. The festival will continue till Sunday, September 20 at Lok Virsa open air theater.


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