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Zila Khan Shares Her Divine Secrets With Bostonians

Siraj Khan

What Zila Khan shared with the audience on that pleasant September 24th evening at the Chinmaya Mission auditorium was not just a stage performance. It wasn’t even an intimate musical evening as stated on the event program book. Zila Khan, with her mesmerizing vocals, managed to connect all present to the Almighty, irrespective of what faith one belonged to.

Zila opened the evening and set the tone with Baqaul-e-Murshad-e-Ma aap hein sub se juda Khwaja, which ensured that the minds of everybody was cut off from the rest of the world and was mentally and physically wired with her. Dil ja raha hai hath se hath aa raha hai kia, received tremendous applause, after which she unleashed several amazing Sufi compositions, many not heard at her previous programs. Zila weaved her thoughts, comments and spontaneous remarks around her songs, which became an integral part of her presentation.

The Sufi legend of the new millennium escalated the listeners to a new level of ecstasy with Khwaja mere Khwaja dil me sama ja followed by Aah ko dard chahiye, in which she immersed herself in such a way that she almost seemed intoxicated. She brought the evening’s intermission with an absolutely phenomenal rendition of Amir Khusro’s Chhaap tilak sub chheen li, which held everyone spellbound, losing all sense of time or space.

Post-break, Zila steered into a lighter groove and hearing her version of Aaj jaane ki zid na karo, I am confident that had Pakistani music maestro Sohail Rana been present amongst the audience that evening, he would have been delighted (and flattered) with the improvisation that Zila made to his original composition, which has now become almost universal.

Zila tried to engage the audience throughout her performance by prompting the more enterprising and the adventurous to join her in many of her more popular vocals. She sang several ghazals in a classical style and an Amir Khusro tarana for the extra spark. When she brought the enchanting evening to a close with Laal meri, many from the audience appeared to be in a trance and could not help swaying and dancing, landing right in front of the stage to move with the captivating beat. I doubt whether anybody wanted the evening to end and clearly Zila left the stage, with the thirst unquenched for most. I left with the consoling message from the inner voice assuring me that this wasn’t Zila’s first appearance and surely not the last one. We will anxiously wait for Zila Khan’s next spellbinding musical evening in times to come.

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