Hina Nasrullah is a promising Sufi singer from Lahore. She started as a naat-khwan, someone who recites hymns in praise of the Prophet. Since childhood, she performed on Pakistani television in programmes such as Aangan Aangan Taaray, Music Room, and others. She is an Urdu Literature graduate from Punjab University in Lahore. In her performances, she is usually accompanied by her brother, Hasan Nasrullah, and talented music students from her hometown. Hina captivated the audience with tracks based on the Kalam (melodic verses) of sufi poets, Bulleh Shah, Sultan Bahu and Shah Hossain, among others, at the Dhaka International Folk Fest, yesterday. She also performed covers of songs by renowned singer Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. Ahead of her performance, The Daily Star caught up with Hina to find out more about her music.
How does it feel to be in Bangladesh for the Dhaka International Folk Fest?
I came across a video of Shafqat Amanat Ali Khan’s performance at the Dhaka International Folk Fest last year. I have been wanting to come here since then. I think the audience at the fest is absolutely incredible, and I am looking forward to a memorable night.
Who are some of your greatest inspirations in music?
I come from a musical family, and their support has always been an inspiration for me. My brother, Hasan, plays an integral role in my success as an artiste. Other than that, I have grown up listening to Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, and reading the works of poet and scholar, Allama Iqbal. I am inspired by both of them.
What do you hope to communicate to the audience through your music?
Sufism promotes the message of love, beauty, harmony, tolerance and worship - which are the core values of my music as well. I want my audience to stay happy and healthy, and I hope to bring peace in their lives through my music.
What are your comments on fusions of Sufi music with other genres?
As a Sufi singer myself, I have carried out extensive research on the genre, because making the music accessible to people and presenting it in simple terms is important to me. I believe that fusion artistes and bands are helping Sufi music to reach a much wider audience, which is excellent.
Have you listened to any folk artistes from Bangladesh?
Of course! In fact, I have been listening to the participating Bangladeshi folk artistes ever since the teasers for the Dhaka International Folk Fest came out. Their music is beautiful.