“God willing, the entire world will see that Pakistanis are artists, not terrorists.” —Nijat Ali, conductor of The Sachal Ensemble
Co-presented with World Music Institute
No music lover could fail to be moved by the inspiring story of The Sachal Ensemble, the subject of the acclaimed documentary Song of Lahore by two-time Academy Award-winner Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy. The musicians come from the Pakistani city of Lahore, which for hundreds of years was a thriving center of the arts on the Indian subcontinent. But in 1977, with the establishment of a conservative Islamic regime and Sharia law in Pakistan, most non-religious music was discouraged. Esteemed musicians were soon out of work, having to hide their instruments away and to take jobs in coffee shops or driving rickshaws.
In the early 2000s, a devoted group of surviving Lahore musicians gathered privately to rehearse and revive their tradition. They made recordings of classical and folk music at first; but, with local listeners for the music having dwindled away, the group began to make music for a global audience outside Pakistan. Fast forward to May 2016, when Universal Music Classics released the album Song of Lahore, a fully integrated East-meets-West companion album inspired by the sounds and story of the film. Come experience this incredible ensemble live.