Pakistani singer Arif Lohar is bridging rifts through folk music

A new fixture on the Bollywood scene, Arif Lohar has taken the folk music tradition made popular by his celebrated father, Alam Lohar, and popularised it among a new generation in both nations.
Arif Lohar, who sang the title track for Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, the Bollywood biopic of the Indian athlete Milkha Singh, seems to spend more time in India these days than in his native ­Pakistan.

A new fixture on the Bollywood scene, with his unique sound, Lohar has taken the folk music tradition made popular by his celebrated father, Alam Lohar, and popularised it among a new generation in both nations.

Perhaps best known for the 2010 chart-topping single Jugni, which he sang with the Pakistani singer Meesha Shafi for Coke Studio, Lohar continues to charm music lovers.

"You cannot say that a certain style [of singing] belongs to a particular era," says the 50-year-old during a visit to India. "Over the centuries, the folk tradition has continued. I am blessed that I am instrumental in continuing this great tradition."

As for his frequent visits to India, he says: "I have got a lot of love from all generations in India and Pakistan and from people settled in other parts of the world. I get a lot of love and respect in India. That is one reason why I keep coming here regularly. Every moment here is yaadgar ­[memorable]."

Lohar, who grew up in Aach Gosh village in the Gujrat district of Punjab, attributes his success to his father.

"When he died in a road accident in 1979, I started going to villages across Pakistan to sing folk songs. My father was so popular that thousands used to converge in villages where he performed. I feel happy that I am able to continue the tradition started by him."

Published: December 29, 2014 04:00 AM

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