Asad Sadiq

Asad Sadiq (b. 1953) is a jazz guitarist who was born in Lahore. His father, Master Sadiq Hussain, played the piano in spite of being blind, and was also the one who taught him how to play music. Mr. Sadiq started playing music professionally when he was 15 years old, in 1968. Interestingly, he played the bongo drums in the start of his career, and only began playing the guitar afterwards. In addition to giving live concerts, he has performed both on TV and on the radio, as well as giving live performances. Amongst other things, he has worked at Sachal Studios, which is a group working to restore Pakistani classical music by mixing it with jazz, and has collaborated with famous musicians such as Ustad Rahat Fateh Ali Khan and Abrar-ul-Haq. He also recently went to New York in 2018 to help record an album for the world-famous company Universal Pictures. Apart from this, he has taught music to many university students and continues to play music actively nowadays.


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Hassan Ali

Hassan Ali is a musician who plays both the harmonium and flute. The harmonium was his first instrument, but he learnt the flute later on in his life. Born in Lahore to a family with a long background in music, he was taught how to play the harmonium when he was thirteen years old by his ustad, Lala Gulzar Hussain through much hard work and practice. His grandfather was the esteemed sarangi virtuoso Ustad Nathu Khan, whose students include the famous singer Farida Khanum. He has performed in many concerts around the world in places such as the Middle East and the UK, and has taught several students, who are now professionally participating in the music industry, with some singing and others playing various instruments. He is currently active and plays music.


Hassan Ali has been interviewed by Save the Sitar. If you want to check out his interview, please visit our post: The Forgotten Flute


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Sahafat Hussain

Sahafat Hussain (b. 1955), is a tabla player and music teacher. His father, Ustad Inayat Ali Khan, who used to play for Radio Pakistan, taught him to play the tabla. Moreover, Sahafat Hussain’s ancestry includes the late tabla player, Ustad Mian Qadir Bakhsh, who was the khalifa, or head, of the Punjab tabla gharana. He started his career at the age of 16 and went on to play both on radio and PTV, in addition to touring many cities such as Dubai and Hong Kong. His children do not follow his footsteps but rather pursue pop music, with one playing the drums while his two nephews play the tabla, much like himself. Sahafat Hussain continues to teach nowadays, and, despite his old age, is still active professionally.


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Sahawat Ali

Sahawat Ali is a seasoned harmonium player who — despite being retired — still teaches students to play the harmonium. Mr. Ali started playing music when he was only seven, with his chacha, or paternal uncle, Liaquat Ali having taught him. He was then taught by an elder named Abdul Rashid. He learned music from the music director Akhtar Hussain Akhiyan, as well as the music director Wazir Afzal. Apart from playing on radio and television, he recorded several music cassettes as well, and has participated in some music festivals like the Jashn-e-Kabul and the Jashn-e-Iran, and has also toured some Middle East countries like Oman, the UAE, Bahrain etc. In addition to this, he once worked at Sachal Studios, a group working to restore Pakistani classical music by mingling it with jazz, and has worked with famous musical personalities like Mohsin Raza or Mashir Manzoor. Nowadays, he mainly teaches students to earn a living.


Save the Sitar has interviewed Sahawat Ali. If you want to learn more about him, visit his interview: The Harmonium’s Voice.


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The Forgotten Flute

A Fresh Perspective

on Lahore’s Musical Culture

Hassan Ali is a middle-aged musician who plays the harmonium and the bansuri (flute). His grandfather, the sarangi virtuoso Ustad Nathu Khan, taught the famed singer Farida Khanum. Though his main instrument of choice is the harmonium, Mr.Ali learnt the flute later on and enjoys its intrinsic beauty. He started playing music when he was around thirteen years old and has worked in both genres: classical and light music, often mixing the two in his work. He has performed in many concerts around the world such as in the UK and the Middle East. 

In his interview, he expresses his belief that classical music is the main juz, or ingredient, of all music. One should always learn it before venturing into other musical fields. Other genres, like pop music, are good to learn but are more like icing on the cake rather than the true base.

He also criticises the modern way of learning music, which is ever too often conducted through video courses, especially in the age of the coronavirus pandemic. In his opinion, learning face-to-face is always better, because only then can one truly absorb the teacher’s wisdom and experience. He believes that staring at a computer screen is nothing but a poor substitute for the traditional method of learning, in which the teacher can actively correct any of the student’s errors or misunderstandings.  


Alongside performing, Hassan Ali has taught several students, of whom many have adopted music as a profession. He remembers how he used to tutor them when they came back from school.

He aso fondly reminisces how his ustad, Lala Gulzar Hussain, taught him to play the harmonium by continously making him practice his pultain, or scales. Sometimes, his hand would go numb from the continuous practice! But he strongly believes that the hard work paid off and without such effort, a musician can never become truly competent.


At the end of his interview, Hassan Ali wishes to pass on a message to the future generation, urging them to carry on the ancient tradition of Pakistani classical music. He reminds them that there is nothing wrong with playing music, and dispels the common belief that music is sinful by reminding us of how devotional music like Qawwalis and Naats are also forms of music.  


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