January 2015 saw the realisation of a great ambition of mine, to perform in Pakistan, a country whose music I have long admired.
I toured Karachi and Islamabad in duo with tabla master Sarvar Sabri for a one off British Music and Food Festival, with performances at the British High Commission, Marriott hotels, ARY's "Good morning Pakistan" TV show, "Aaj Subh with Nusrat Haris" on Aaj TV (excerpts are below), PTV and Pakistan State Radio. We also gave a workshop at Hunerkada College.
The programme consisted of my music along with a special reimagining of Pakistan's "2nd national anthem", Dil dil Pakistan, which I transformed pretty radically. This was in response to a request to prepare a piece in solidarity with the Peshawar school atrocity victims. The reworking grew and developed with every performance and Sarvar and I are intend to record it soon.
I made countless new friends and found the people in general to be incredibly welcoming and open, quite in contrast to how some Western media outlets portray the country. There was time to take in many of the sights, exploring some of the bustling city that is Karachi and the contrastingly open expanses around Islamabad.
I also came back with a fantastic selection of CDs, including many from the Tehzeeb Foundation's catalogue, a real mine of brilliant performances currently providing even more inspiration. It has long been in my mind to collaborate with some leading Pakistani artists from the folk and classical traditions and I now feel this more strongly than ever....watch this space....
Simon on Pakistani TV and radio, highlights compilation