A Jazzical evening

A ‘Jazzical’ evening

German jazz band, UnderkarlSeptember 18, 2013

Perhaps cliché but true – music is a universal language. Proof of it was on hand at the Aga Khan University auditorium on the evening of September 18, 2013, when a German jazz band combined with a Pakistani musician/composer to entertain a varied gathering of the AKU family. Co-organised with the Karachi chapter of the Goethe Institute, the evening heralded the arrival of the arts on campus.

The anticipation could be felt as AKU staff members from different strata filed through the doors of the auditorium not knowing what to expect from a German jazz band, Underkarl, and a young Pakistani composer known for his renditions of famous ragas on his guitar. Many of the audience seemed shocked to see musical instruments on stage; more used to seeing tables for panel discussion and wondered if this was the sign of things to come at AKU.

 Underkarl’s repertoire was warmly received although it did seem to those present that the nuances of jazz music were totally lost and perhaps rightly so. Jazz is an acquired taste, and for most Pakistanis the brassy sounds of jazz instruments seemed over powering. After 20 or so minutes there was a palpable change in the mood as Asif Sinan came on stage and presented his first piece. 

The crowd came alive as an instantaneous connection was established between them and the familiar tones of classical raags emanating from Sinan’s six strings. The number Jo ata hai, anay do, drew a vociferous response with the accompanying sing along and clapping customary of any concert and for a minute one forgot that this concert was being held at the auditorium of AKU.

The evening ended with a combined performance by Underkarl and Sinan which was also well received and as the crowd left many felt that an important milestone had been achieved.


Rida Turabi
Department of Public Affairs
Aga Khan University
+92 21 3486 2931​​


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