Text | Numair A. Abbasi
Visuals | Courtesy V M Art Gallery
Pakistan and the larger Subcontinent boast a rich music industry that ranges from qawwali, ghazal, Sufi, and folk, to contemporary pop, fusion, and indie. Time and again, the region birthed music legends who received accolades both within their country and across the globe. When surveying the top echelons of the local music industry, one of the names which instantly surfaces is that of the late Madam Noor Jehan. She is unarguably one of the greatest and most influential singers ever, especially in South Asia.
Madam Noor Jehan started her career as a child singer and actor in British India. She later migrated to Pakistan during the partition, where she bolstered her career for another five decades. Her contribution to the evolution of this region’s music and film industry remains unparalleled and acknowledged in the form of various honorific titles and awards, including most notably, ‘Malika e tarannum’ or ‘Queen of the melody’.
Aptly titled “Gaye Gi Duniya Geet Mere”, Amara Sikandar’s recently concluded exhibition at the VM Gallery in Karachi highlights how Madam predicted the lasting influence of her music in one of her songs. The exhibition underscores the common knowledge that her music remains relevant and thoroughly savored by audiences across generations and borders.