Shazia Manzoor concert to celebrate culture and community

September 09 2022

The Pakistani Students Association at the University of Utah (PSA) is teaming up with the U School of Music for an exciting performance that will truly be the first of its kind. 

Shazia Manzoor, world renowned Qawwali singer from Rawalpindi, Pakistan will perform in Libby Gardner Concert Hall on September 17th in an event that PSA’s leaders are hoping will bring a multi-generational audience together in celebration. 

“Shazia targets our parents’ generation but we have also heard her on the radio and TV – so it fit the best of both worlds,” explained PSA president Dua Azhar, a junior majoring in physics. “A lot of us are from the province of Pakistan called Punjab. Shazia’s music is primarily Punjabi folk music. That kind of music is fun for me to listen to, it gets me hyped up.”

Eman Mahmood, a sophomore studying psychology and the treasurer of PSA, shares her enthusiasm. “I’ve been really into Pakistani music lately. I like how she has different genres – some are more classical, some are soulful, and then she has more upbeat pop. I’m really into all different kinds of music, so I like that she has that variety.” 

"I am imagining groups of families laughing and chatting, and enjoying the music. I really hope that a lot of our community shows up."

Bringing an international guest to campus, let alone one with celebrity status, requires quite a bit of organizing: from navigating a 12-hour time difference, to coordinating the schedules of both Manzoor and the five musicians she will travel with. But the group explained that every challenge since they began last fall has been worth it, and has helped them grow. 

“When someone is a celebrity, it feels like we could never work with them,” Azhar said. “But they are just normal people. I feel like, ‘wow, we are really doing this.’” She went on to explain the partnerships that have made the event possible. “We really want to thank the Dee Foundation for providing a majority of the funding for this concert. We also have other amazing sponsors like Utah Humanities Group, Utah Division of Arts and Museums, as well as donations from Pakistani families in our community. We are happy they would support something that we as Pakistani students have never gotten here in Utah – and for everyone in general to gain a new cultural experience.”  

For Taimur Iftikhar, a senior studying economics and PSA’s international relations officer, Manzoor’s concert is a reminder of home. “I was born and raised in Pakistan and haven’t been able to go back since 2019. So, for me, it’s a lot more nostalgic,” he said. “When I was a kid, I listened to her a lot, so it has certain memories associated with it.”

This connection to culture is what excites the students most as they imagine how the night will go.

“I am imagining groups of families laughing and chatting, and enjoying the music,” Mahmood said. “I really hope that a lot of our community shows up. We really need something to bring us all together. Sometimes we can be divided, and this is a great way to bring us all together.”

Azhar added, “We are hoping that this event tells our community, we are one. And for others, whatever stereotypes you might have of Pakistani people are not necessarily true. The best way to come together is to celebrate through music.” 

Shazia Manzoor
Saturday, September 17 @ 7:30p
Libby Gardner Concert Hall 
Click here for tickets! 

Remember, U students get in for free through Arts Pass! Just use your UCard.