Kashmiris eagerly await Pakistani band Junoon

By F. Ahmed

Srinagar, May 21 (IANS) The youth in Jammu and Kashmir, especially in the state capital, are eagerly awaiting the arrival of the Pakistani rock band Junoon, scheduled to perform here Sunday.

“It is really going to be a musical feast. Their craft to combine the loud guitar notes with the tranquility and calm of Sufi poetry is simply out of this World,” said Irfan Ahmad, a college student here.

Ahmad is now awaiting an opportunity to see the stars of the rock band in flesh Sunday.

“Their rendering of the poetry of Maulana Rumi, Iqbal and Bulleh Shah with loud pop effects is fantastic," he said.

“I am a great fan of their vocalist Ali Azmat,” said Shagufta, a student at a local college here.

It's just not the youth. Even middle-aged locals are enthusiastic about the arrival of the Pakistani pop stars.

“It was simply not imaginable about a few years back. This is a welcome development and I sincerely hope it brings the two countries closer. Both of them have a common past and a closely interlinked future,” said Muzaffar Ahmad, a college professor.

The concert will be held at the Sher-e-Kashmir International Convention Complex (SKICC) on the banks of the Dal Lake.

In the 1960s, it was on the banks of this lake that the legendary Indian sitar maestro Ravi Shankar taught George Harrison, the renowned Beatles star, how to play the sitar.

“That tradition of fusion between western music and eastern elements would once again reverberate on May 25 when the Junoon stars perform here,” said Aijaz Hussain, a local journalist.

“I regularly listen to the band's 'Parwaaz' (Flight) album, which has Baba Bulleh Shah's poetry. It is an untiring journey to listen to the melody of this great band. I shall do my best to be among the audience,” said Bilal Ahmad, a doctor here.

The organisers say entry will be by invitation only.

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