The Urdu Marsiyah:
Text and Performance
presented by the
of Fellows in the Humanities and the
Asian Institute at
Columbia University, and
Institute of Pakistan Studies, and by the
Asia Center at the
University of Pennsylvania
Saturday, February 28, Heyman
Center for the Humanities, 2nd floor
PART ONE: Literary Workshop
10:00-12:30 = Discussion of marsiyah
12:30-1:30 = Lunch
1:30-3:30 = Marsiyah in literary
and cultural history
PART TWO: Marsiyah Recitation
Saqlain Naqvi, marsiyah
Yavar Abbas, marsiyah reciter
4:00, at 301 Philosophy
We regret to announce that due
to difficulties with the visa application process, Professor Sibt-e Ja'far
Zaidi will be unable to perform. We are sorry to miss the opportunity to
hear his recitations after our months of preparation, but are pleased to
announce that reciter Yawar Abbas of London has graciously agreed to join
us and recite taht-ul-lafz marsiyah. The program will continue as scheduled,
with both soz and marsiyah by Syed Ghulam-us-Saqlain Naqvi and Yawar Abbas.
We look forward to seeing you there.
This whole Saturday workshop is
free and open to the public, but please register for Part One in advance:
email Manju Sadarangani <email@example.com> and include a mailing
address for the packet of study materials.
*A related performance at the University
of Pennsylvania, featuring Yavar Abbas*
*A related performance
on the performers*
on the marsiyah*
on Shi'a Islam*
related performance at the University of Pennsylvania ~~
Marsiyah reciter Yavar
Abbas will be featured in a performance at the University of Pennsylvania
on the evening of Friday, February 27th. "The Art of the Urdu Marsiya:
An Evening with Yavar Abbas" will take place in the Hamilton
House Rooftop Lounge, from 6:00-9:00 pm.
related performance at Harvard ~~
Marsiyah reciter Saqlain Naqvi will
also perform at the International Council for Traditional Music colloquium/Radcliffe
Advanced Seminar entitled "Local Theory/Local Practice: Musical culture
in south Asia and beyond." This event will be held at the Harvard University
Music Department, Paine Hall, Feb. 27, 2004. The goal of this seminar is
to broaden the discourse among scholars of South Asian music and to forge
new connections with allied disciplines and areas. Participants include:
Richard K. Wolf, Michael Herzfeld, Regula Qureshi, Stephen Blum, Amanda
Weidman, Rustom Bharucha, Martin Clayton, Susan Reed, Adam Nayyar, Gregory
Booth, Shubha Chaudhuri, Gert-Matthias Wegner, Ashok Ranade, Rolf Groesbeck
and Anthony Seeger. A day of paper presentations and discussion will be
followed by a concert of South Asian folk and religious music. The colloquium
and concert on Feb. 27 is free and open to the public. Full details: on
the Harvard website.
background on the performers~~
Saqlain (Shanne) Naqvi
is an excellent amateur reciter of soz and marsiyah with a vast repertoire
of classical poetry, which he performs in declamatory or melodic modes.
Naqvi hails from a prominent Shi'a clan whose mourning assemblies in the
rural township of Mustafabad, Uttar Pradesh, India, are still remarkable
for their intensity and high literary quality. Shanne's mother, Begam Atiya
Naqvi of Lucknow, and his aunt, Aliya Imam of Karachi, are also aficionados
of the marsiyah and talented reciters. Naqvi grew up in Mustafabad and
Lucknow, was educated in Delhi, and now lives in Lucknow. More information:
the Harvard website.
Sibt-e Jafar Zaidi is
a published author, a trained vocalist, and a professor from Karachi, Pakistan.
Zaidi is much in demand for his beautiful, clear renderings of majlis texts.
He has visited some sixteen countries, and he and his vocal accompanists
have performed throughout Pakistan and internationally. In his book, Sauti
'ulum o funun-e islam, Professor Zaidi claims a high-art status for
the recitation of soz and marsiyah, explaining the genres' classical Hindustani
musical settings and regional variations.
is a writer, broadcaster, journalist, and film-maker from Lucknow. Educated
at Allahabad University, he derives his taht ul-lafz recitation style both
from family tradition, and from a special love for the poetry of Mir Anis.
He has translated many English writers into Urdu, and has produced for
the BBC World Service a number of widely-distributed films on South Asian
and English literary topics, some of which have won awards. Yavar Abbas
is currently based in London, where he lives with his wife Hamida. He has
recited the poetry of Anis in Britain, America, the Gulf countries, and
India. More information about Yavar Abbas: on the U.
background on the marsiyah~~
Muhammad Husain Azad, in his famous
Urdu literary history
Aab-e hayaat (1880), described the history
of marsiyah-composition and recitation as he saw it, and its two most famous
masters, Anis and Dabir. Here's that passage *in
Urdu*, and here's an *English
translation* (in PDF format) of that passage, taken from *a
recently published book*.
and the Imam Husayn in Persian and Indo-Muslim literature*, a fine
general overview by the well-known scholar Annemarie Schimmel.
If you'd like to hear some nauhah
and marsiyah singers, try *azadari.com*.
There are even some *videos
of majalis sessions* available online.
background on Shi'a Islam ~~
world map* of Shi'a-Sunni population distribution.
in perspective*, from Alan Godlas's excellent site
with an architectural and cultural tour.
a general site with a Shi'ite perspective
a Shi'ite site with some *explanatory
Origins and Early Development of Shi`a Islam*, a book by S. H. M. Jafri.
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