Dubai: Meet the Pakistani street performer with Indian music expertise

Shabbir Ahmed has been playing the Indian musical instrument dhol at the Global Village for last eight years


SM Ayaz Zakir

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Shabbir Ahmed performs at the Global Village. — Supplied photo
Shabbir Ahmed performs at the Global Village. — Supplied photo

Published: Sat 31 Dec 2022, 10:33 PM

Last updated: Sun 1 Jan 2023, 12:54 AM

This Pakistani national could be among the few first in the list who has experienced culture beyond borders. Shabbir Ahmed, an artist who plays dhol (an Indian musical instrument) has been into traditional music from his childhood. Although he is a Pakistani, love for Indian music grew irrespective of boundaries.

“There is no differentiation. We belong to the same ethnicity and more than the division people love my music, no matter where they are from,” said Ahmed.

Ahmed has been playing the instrument for the last eight years at the Global Village and enjoys the attention he gets from the visitors. “It’s not only the Indians, Pakistanis, or expats from the sub-continent dance to my tunes, but also the Arabs, Europeans and Americans love whatever I do with this instrument,” said Ahmed.

“Many visitors from the West specially walk up to me to take a selfie with me. It’s not that I am attractive, but music bonds people from many parts of the world,” added Ahmed.

He performs 10 shows near India Pavilion at an interval of 30 minutes with large number or crowd gathered around him from the first show starting at 4pm. “The best part is that children are a lot excited as compared to the adults. They move, dance and shake their legs which provide me with more energy,” said Ahmed.

For Ahmed, music is something that is ingrained in him since his birth as his father and grandfather were also musicians. “My grandfather was a known musician in my home country, and he had also been associated with renowned artists. My father was also a renowned musician, which made me follow their footsteps,” said Ahmed.

The street performer visits Dubai every six months to perform at the Global Village and feels that his music reaches every corner of the world. “I am very privileged. I can proudly say that my audience has been from almost every country in the world. I have met people from Croatia, Italy, Argentina and many more who fell in love with my work.”

Every year after the Global Village season ends, Ahmed awaits and looks forward for the next edition. “During the gap of six months, I work with the local music groups in Pakistan. Apart from that I work on new notes and tunes to showcase during the Global Village,” said Ahmed.

Ahmed is looking forward to perform at the entertainment venue for a few more years, as he believes there is no better arena than this.

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