This little music video just made my day when a friend sent it to me yesterday: a Spanish love song by his cousin Hamza Khan, with co-singer Syed Zaryab and guitarist Naveed Ahmed. Students at Balochistan University of Information Technology Engineering and Management Sciences, BUITEMS, a leading private university in Quetta, they are also members of the Artists’ League Quetta (ALQ), a platform for the arts started by fellow student and self-taught dancer Farrukh Shaikh earlier this year. The group includes students from different departments in the University – including girls.
The cellphone video of a spontaneous performance in a college corridor makes for an uplifting viewing. Remember, they don’t know Spanish. Hamza, 21, a second year Computer Science student, had just sung a Balochi song that didn’t get recorded. Fluent in English, Urdu and his native Pashto, he also speaks some Farsi and knows a bit of “Italian-style Arabic” that he picked up on a visit to Libya.
“Music has no language,” he told me when we spoke. “It connects the world. If I like a Japanese song, I’ll learnt it and sing it.”
His goal, said, is to “enhance our music” by taking the good things from other cultures and adding acoustic elements. “Just like we listen to the music from other places, I want people to listen to our music”.
“I want to leave an impression on this earth that I visited it,” he added.
“What really moved me about this was that it’s so positive, especially coming out of an atmosphere of ghuTTan (suffocation), fear, and tensions,” says his cousin, Faraz Jamil Kakar, a medical doctor who works on prison health and refugees with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). He has just returned to Quetta from a posting in Sri Lanka.
He wanted, he said, to ensure that “the unheard voices of this unfortunate valley are also heard somewhere.”
Thanks Faraz, Hamza, Zaryab, Naveed, Farrukh and friends. You made me feel really happy and hopeful. More power to you in your quest to bring about positive change through humanitarian work and the arts.