The Sachal Ensemble – Song of Lahore

Shows and Attractions, World Music and Jazz


The Sachal Ensemble presents Song of Lahore – inspired by the acclaimed documentary film of the same name by two-time Academy Award-winner Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy and Andy Schocken – a cross-cultural re-creation of songs made iconic by the likes of Duke Ellington, The Beatles, Dave Brubeck, Henry Mancini, and Richard Rodgers as well as traditional Pakistani folk songs.

In the relatively safe space of the Western world, artists and listeners enjoy the ability to follow their muse wherever it takes them – to create and commune with music freely, to express themselves and exchange with others. But in other, far less fortunate places, this can never be taken for granted; even venerable musical traditions can be repressed or even banned, causing a living culture to wither. No music lover could fail to be moved by the inspiring story of The Sachal Ensemble as depicted in the documentary film Song of Lahore by two-time Academy Award-winning director Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy and Andy Schocken. The musicians of The Sachal Ensemble come from the Pakistani city of Lahore, for hundreds of years a thriving center of the arts on the Indian subcontinent. By the 1960s and ’70s, Lahore was the home of “Lollywood,” the Pakistani equivalent of India’s Bollywood film production center, employing many musicians who were virtuosos on their instruments and had developed a distinctive sound and sensibility. But in 1977, with the establishment of a conservative Islamic regime and Sharia law in Pakistan, most non-religious music was discouraged.  Esteemed musicians were soon out of work, having to hide their instruments away to take jobs in coffee shops or driving rickshaws.

Read more