Shaam-e-Rekhta: A Cultural Rendezvous is a tribute to the versatility, richness and the timeless beauty of Urdu. It is a step further to mark Urdu’s phenomenal outreach as the language finds its resonance across the length and breadth of the country.
Urdu touches the heart and mind of anyone who comes in contact with it. Urdu is not merely a language but an entire culture unto itself: Sophisticated, sweet, sibilant, evocative, lyrical and timeless!



Teri Mehfil Mein Lekin: Romance and Revolution in Urdu Ghazal – an evening with Ali Sethi

For centuries Urdu poets have used the ghazal form to preach an edgy humanism that artfully eludes the radars of orthodoxy. Pakistan’s young musical prodigy, Ali Sethi, takes us on a whirlwind tour of some iconic Urdu ghazals, each blurring the boundary between sacred and secular, Hindu and Muslim, personal and political. An evening of stories and readings with live music performances of Mir, Siraj, Momin, Ghalib, Iqbal, Faiz and Parveen Shakir’s poetry.


Ali Sethi began his career in music at Harvard where he was pursuing a degree in South Asian Studies, Ali Sethi found comfort in listening to semi-classical folk and traditional music from Pakistan. He established himself as a renowned singer by performing the classic, ‘Aaj Jaane Ki Zid Na Karo’ for the first time in 2005 for an audience at Harvard. Realizing his passion for the genre, and to further add to his knowledge of classical nuances, he started formal training under Ustad Naseeruddin Saami in 2008. Sethi’s original track, ‘Dil Jalaane Ki Baat’ was featured in Mira Nair’s film, The Reluctant Fundamentalist, in 2013. Since then he has independently released a number of reinterpreted Urdu ghazals, ‘Haal Aisa Nahin’ and ‘Mohabbat Karne Wale’ as well as Punjabi folk songs, ‘Kithe Nain Na Jorin’ and ‘Mahi Mera’, to name a few. Sethi has also received critical acclaim for his contribution to Coke Studio where he has performed popular tracks such as ‘Umraan Langiyaan’, ‘Aaqa’ and ‘Tinak Dhin’.


Florence Gould Hall, 55 East 59th Street New York, NY 10022

8:00 pm (EST)