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Senior Pashto singer Ustad Shah Wali

Senior Pashto singer Ustad Shah Wali Afghan enthralls audience

By Sher Alam Shinwari

Peshawar: Starved audience on Sunday night at PTV Peshawar Centre. Senior Afghan singer Ustad Shah Wali based in Canada for the last many years is widely known for his velvety voice and command over Pashto folk, light, semi-classical and classical ghazal singing. The sexagenarian Ustad Shah Wali Afghan kept mesmerizing the select-gathering for more than six hours with his 10- member orchestra.

He migrated to Pakistan after the Russian aggression in Afghanistan and settled in Jamrud –subdivision of Khyber Agency in late 80s. After receiving a due response from Pashto music lovers he shifted his family to Tehkal Bala Peshawar and began living there at a dingy rented home. Shaukat Ali a former producer introduced Ustad Shah Wali Afghan on PTV while PBC, Peshawar also began airing his folk songs which gained widespread popularity among the listeners across the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Fata.

During his stay in Pakistan he received regular music training from various music maestros including Mehdi Hassan, Ghulam Ali, Rafiq Shinwari and a few others. In late 90s financial constraints forced him to settle in Canada, he opened a music school there where he began teaching traditional and classical South Asian music along with Urdu, Persian and Pashto music architectonics. “ I have 200 students at my art school, they are from different countries , they like traditional music more than any other music
genres , Pashto traditional music is matchless and everlasting while pop music has no bright future ,” said Shah Wali while talking to this scribe.

He is the recipient of 400 awards from various literary and cultural organizations. He has 2000 audio and video cassettes and CDS to his credit. He came to Peshawar in 2005 after spending a decade in Canada and pledged that he would visit his fans every winter both in Kabul and Peshawar. Howver, he could not keep his promise last year due to worst law and order situation in Peshawar. His two singer sons Zar Wali and Mumtaz Wali are residing in Peshawar; the former has recently started work as a music director with an Afghan State- run TV –RTA in Kabul.

Ustad Shah Wali Afghan this time recorded new and unsung items of Rahman Baba, Abdul Hameed Baba, Khushhal Khan Khattak Hamza Baba, Qalandar Moomand, Rahmat Shah Sail, Abaseen Yousafzai, Khatir Afridi, Khyber Afridi, and Murad Shinwari. He also sang popular numbers of two Afghan poets – Said murad Baacha and Malang Jan which he said he had sung 30 years ago in Afghanistan.

The audio speaker meant for the involvement of the audience remained off while a lack of coordination among the singer, music composer and producer was also noticed which left a very bad impression on the participants. PTV, Peshawar Centre is facing some serious technical problems as it had suffered a huge loss when the militants attacked in Nowshera on its crew recording Eid Show last year at an IDPS camp. According to sources privy to this scribe militants had broken cameras and an audio mixer worth Rs 60 millions. ‘The demand for new equipments had been placed but PTV high-ups in Islamabad. don’t seem to be interested in improving the situation, the sources said. Also more than a dozen senior Produces have been retired from the Centre during the lat few years and replaced by fresh, unskilled and untrained lot which has adversely affected PTV, Peshawar centre performance, the sources said and added that seasoned and experienced retired producers could be hired on meager salaries instead of appointing a non professional retired army personnel on perky huge package for proper training of the newly appointed procurers.

Produced by Nisar Khalil , anchored by seasoned compere Abaseen Yousafzai with the music composition of Mas Khan Wisal would be put on air on Tuesday , 25the of January at 4 P.M on PTV Home and then on PTV National.

- Shinwari -  بېرته شاته