THE sound of the tabla drum is once again – albeit quietly – resounding in the former cultural mecca of Lahore, Pakistan.
In “Song of Lahore,” Oscar winner Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy and Andy Schocken, chronicle a group of master musicians who started to play again, nearly 30 years after a draconian form of Islam was imposed on all of Pakistan.
In this new world order, music was frowned upon. War, ethnic divisions and corruption also muted the sounds of the tabla, flute, violin and other instruments.
The film continues its world premiere run at the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival this evening. (Other screenings are scheduled for 21 April and 23 April).
Fast forward to 2004 when Izzat Majeed founded Sachal Studios and the artists – under pain of severe censure – would be coaxed into picking up their instruments, producing music combining traditional music with Western forms, including jazz.
This engaging sound caught the attention of Wynton Marsalis, among others outside of Pakistan, and an invitation to the Sachal Jazz Ensemble to perform in New York with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra.
Part master class and subversive treatise, “Song of Lahore” reveals a triumph and a travesty: the Sachal Jazz Ensemble should take a bow, but few in Pakistan are aware that the musicians are making this beautiful, exotic-sounding music. One can only hope that this film and other international appearances will help change this.
Yet, reason for celebration is that these rebels are defying edicts and allowing long-dormant art reflourish.
Films/events on today's TFF2015 schedule: "Shut Up and Drive," "Roseanne for President," “Very Semi-Serious,” “Five Star,” “A Ballerina's Tale,” “Good Kill,” “Tribeca Talks Script & Screen Hosted by Barnes and Noble: This Is the Real Life” “In Transit,” “Man Up, “Bare,” “Virgin Mountain,” “Havana Motor Club” and "Toto and His Sisters." (See video above).
Visit http://www.tribecafilm.com/festival to learn more about it and the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival, including tickets and schedule.