LAHORE - The stunning Sitar performance of eminent American Ethnomusicologist and teaching artist Dr Amie (Amelia) Maciszewski put the audience into trance at a concert organized by the United States Consulate and Quaid-e-Azam Political Science Society at the Government College University Lahore.

Dr Amelia, who believes that music has no boundaries, began her Sitar performance sitar of “Puriya Dhanashree Raga” (Melody), which she says, is “Raga” of evening.

Dr Amelia, PhD ethnomusicology from University of Texas, USA, has come to Pakistan after 40 years, and due to her deep in interest Sufism, she calls this visit a ‘spiritual journey’. For her, spiritualism is something different from religion. She has a strong desire to visit the shrines of Hazart Fariduddin Ganj Shakar, Hazrat Shah Hussain and other Sufi saints in Punjab.

The ethnomusicologist, who had published many research papers on South Asian music culture, says that Sufism forms crux of her beliefs. “I believe Sufism has an eclectic nature and acceptability towards everybody irrespective of their religion, caste, gender or creed.” she said while talking to media after the concert.

In support of her arguments, she sang the Bulleh Shah’s poetry “Je Rub Milda Nahateyaan Dhoteyan.” She said in Sufism, a clean heart is prerequisite for enlightenment. It’s the love for Sufism that makes her a great fan of legendary Sufi singer “Abida Parveen.” Besides, she is also a great admirer of the late Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and lately, she has been listening to Ustad Fariduddin Ayaz Al-Hussaini Qawwal.

At the GCU concert, she also played “peace”, which is her own light composition and has a folk-like ambiance. She also sang the word peace in different languages of the world.

“It sounds really idealistic but music has vital role for peace in the world. We fear people who are different from us. It’s just because we don’t understand them.

With music you don’t need a common language to communicate. It could help us understand each other’s cultures, customs and beliefs,” she said.

Dr Amelia, who has served as teaching artist on the faculties of top universities of the world, said that it’s very disheartening to know that there is admiration and following for music performers in Pakistan but there is not much respect and appreciation for music teachers in the society.

She said that music must be taught in schools because it develops critical thinking in children and makes them smarter. She hoped that in a short three-week visit to Pakistan, she could get time to hold music workshops in schools, colleges and universities.

Besides students, Vice Chancellor Prof Hassan Amir Shah, Nazir Ahmed Music Society Inchareg Mr Tariq Farhani, Political Science Chairperson Dr Khalid Manzoor Butt and a large number of faculty members also attended the concert.

Talking to the American artist, the Vice Chancellor said that there is a strong tradition of music and other performing arts at GCU, adding that they also grant admissions to students in different disciplines by virtue of their acting and music skills.