Lok Virsa, previously recognized as the National Institute of Folk and Traditional Heritage, has embarked on a monumental initiative by digitizing its extensive musical archives. This pioneering effort is set to offer music enthusiasts worldwide the opportunity to relish remarkable recordings by Pakistani musical icons.
Salman Sufi, the head of the Prime Minister’s Strategic Reforms Unit, took to X (formerly Twitter) to unveil this significant development. The digitized musical treasures are now readily accessible through YouTube and the Lok Virsa website, effectively broadening the reach of Pakistan’s musical heritage.
In a video message, Sufi emphasized the profound impact of music on society, dubbing it the very soul of culture. He lauded Pakistani artists for creating an enchanting realm of melodies that have enriched the world with celebrations of rhythm and sound.
Sufi extended an open invitation to music enthusiasts worldwide, urging them to delve into the Lok Virsa archives. Functioning as a platform for artists since the 1970s, Lok Virsa has meticulously curated original recordings from the analogue era, which were previously confined to VHS tapes.
A notable milestone, this marks the first instance where Pakistan’s rich folk musical legacy is presented to the global audience through these modern digital platforms.
The online Lok Virsa archives boast a treasure trove of recordings featuring luminaries like Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, Abida Parveen, Attaullah Khan Esakhelvi, Ghulam Ali, Iqbal Bano, Mansoor Malangi, Tufail Niazi, Farida Khanum, Pathany Khan, and Ustad Salamat Ali.
Salman Sufi revealed that this ambitious project is just the beginning. Over 50,000 songs, videos, and behind-the-scenes footage are poised to be gradually uploaded. Beyond merely sharing these gems, the initiative is also aimed at ensuring copyright protection for these musical masterpieces, while providing worldwide accessibility.
Sufi underlined the global significance of this endeavor, recognizing the outstanding contributions of Pakistani artists to the world of music. The initiative seeks to make their extraordinary creations universally available, promising a virtual symphony that transcends borders and cultures.