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Songs of lament: Watch how this Lucknow lawyer narrate the tragedy of Karbala

A lawyer from Lucknow will narrate the tragedy of Karbala through a solo performance featuring poetry and song

Askari Naqvi sits alone on stage as he narrates the story of the tragedy at Karbala — where the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad, Imam Hussain, was martyred along with 72 of his followers in the battle against Caliph Yazid. This is a Soz Khwani (songs of lament) performance.

"Soz Khwani is essentially a poetic and musical description and expression of the battle of Karbala. It is performed during Muharram, the period of mourning, at a religious gathering called Majalis," explains the human rights lawyer and performing artist, who grew up in Lucknow. "My idea was to take the art form out of that religious space and context and bring it into the mainstream."

"This is a personal family tradition. Naqvi wants to keep it alive and bring it to a larger, more cosmopolitan audience as a form of music. It aligned with our mission of embracing the forgotten cultural art forms," adds Radhi Parekh of ARTISANS', where the performance will be held.

For the past year, Naqvi has been travelling with his one-hour solo performance called Soz, where he sings or recites poems, with some story and narration in between. "It includes poems in Persian, Urdu and Hindustani compositions and some in Awadhi," he explains.

As Muharram is a sorrowful occasion, this art form doesn't use instruments. "Four men surround the singer and just sing sa, the first musical syllable. Their voices offer the singer a base. This is called aas," says Naqvi, who will be using a recorded aas. "I will also be giving commentary between each composition, so people can connect to the story better," he adds.

ON: May 20, 7.30pm onwards
AT: ARTISANS',VB Gandhi Marg, Kala Ghoda.
CALL: 9820145397

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