It is with great honour that LMK has received an interview with the distinguished Mr. Azad Iqbal.
We posted an article about his band however was asked to remove it recently because of the situation in Karachi.
‘Devil’s Disciples’ to ‘The Fore Thoughts’
And here below is his Artistic Background ~
Born in Lahore, Pakistan, Azad Iqbal received his early education in Karachi Grammar School, after which he was sent to England for further education. He holds LL.B. (Hons.) from the University of London and, like his father and grandfather, is a Barrister, having been called to the Bar from Lincoln’s Inn, London. He returned to Pakistan in 1975 where he practised law along with his father. In 1983 he came to Saudi Arabia as the Group Legal Counsel to the Olayan Group of Companies. Currently he is the Group Legal Counsel to the Saudi Binladin Group, based in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
Azad is the eldest grandson of Sir Muhammad Allama Iqbal, the internationally renowned poet-philosopher of the Indian subcontinent.
Azad’s artistic and literary pursuits are quite noteworthy. Not surprisingly perhaps, he is a competent Urdu and English poet, his Urdu poetry having the distinct flavour of his grandfather’s works. It is hoped that in the near future a collection of Azad’s poems (“Diwan”) will be published.
From an early age he has been interested in the arts, music and poetry. It was when he returned to Pakistan from England in 1975 that he seriously entered the world of Eastern classical music.
He purchased a harmonium and was coached in the art of classical music by a noted musicologist in Karachi, the late Baba Inayatullah. Over the years Azad pursued, and is still pursuing, this great art with passionate dedication, having now become a seasoned singer and composer, not only of classical music but also semi-classical music, ghazals and light music. Over the years he has written and composed several classical works.
In 1990, Azad Iqbal turned his attention to the philosophical works of his grandfather,
Dr. Sir Muhammad Allama Iqbal, and began to compose selected works in classical and semi-classical music – something that had not been done so far. It proved to be a most rewarding experience, and today Azad is proud to have composed music to over forty of his grandfather’s works, including “Shikwa” and “Jawab-ey-Shikwa” and sings them with passionate fervour that always evokes not only admiration, but also the emergence of latent nationalistic tendencies that often lie hidden in the hearts and souls of his audience. Incidentally, “Shikwa” and “Jawab-ey-Shikwa” have also been recorded by the late great vocalist, Umm Kulsoom of Egypt under the title of “Hadees-al-Rooh.” Azad’s quest to compose and sing further poetical works continues. He has also composed music for several selected works by noted poets like Mirza Ghalib, Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Sajjad Shamsi, Ahmed Faraaz, and several others, including his own poems too.
Azad maintains his obsession for his music by rigidly following a discipline of daily vocal practice (“riaz”). According to him, this not only serves to constantly enhance his musical talents and voice but also provides a perfect mode of soothing meditation.
Apart from the several selected private concerts that Azad Iqbal has performed occasionally in Saudi Arabia, Canada, and Pakistan, he has appeared publicly on four rare occasions. His first public appearance was in August 2003 when he performed, under the sponsorship of a leading organisation, at a concert entitled “Shaam-ey-Mashriq” (a tribute to Allama Iqbal) organised in Karachi on the eve of Pakistan’s Independence Day. In February 2004 he was invited and performed as a special and personal guest of the Indian ambassador in Oman before a large distinguished audience.
In April 2004 Azad Iqbal was invited as a special guest of the Indian Consul General in Saudi Arabia to perform at a concert entitled “Harf-o-Saut” that was held in Jeddah. This concert was attended by leading Pakistani and Indian dignitaries and was organised to acknowledge and promote the growing friendly relations between the two neighbouring countries. In August 2006 Azad Iqbal was invited by the Indian Council of World Affairs to perform his poetry and music before a very selected audience at the renowned Sapru House in New Delhi.
It should also be noted that Azad Iqbal is a great fan of Western music, another passion that has stayed with him since his childhood. Today, he is a great fan of traditional and contemporary jazz and blues, having a collection of well over 3,000 CDs. He has had the privilege of visiting leading jazz clubs all over the world, particularly New Orleans, Los Angeles, Paris, and London. He also plays the guitar and piano.
Azad Iqbal is married and has two children.
© Legendary Musicians of Karachi