In honour of the Diamond Jubilee of His Highness the Aga Khan, and his 60 year long commitment to support pluralism, civil society, and the arts, a sold-out concert was held on June 20, in London's prestigious Royal Albert Hall. Reflecting his approach towards the society, the concert brought together carefully selected musicians from different cultures and parts of the world. All the performers were carefully chosen, are known to be unmatchably brilliant in their fields and hold the ability and versatility to perform and collaborate.
His Highness has in the past six decades, transformed the quality of life for millions of people around the world. He has worked to inspire excellence and improve opportunities in the areas of health, education, cultural revitalisation, and economic empowerment. Titled 'Jubilee: contemporary Expressions of Musical Heritage from the Middle East, West Africa & Central Asia', the concert featured Master Musicians of the Aga Khan Music Initiative with special guests Kronos Quarter and one of Mali's best known musicians Bassekou Kouyaté giving performances. It also featured music, musicians, and musical instruments from Afghanistan, China, Egypt, India, Italy, Mali, Syria, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and the United States.
A special feature of the concert was a dialogue between music, visual imagery and animation in the form of miniature paintings and manuscript illuminations from the collection of His Highness and his family. Artist Homayoun Sakhi played an instrumental for the rubab, an Afghan version of Sitar, as Salar Nader played a bubble of tabla. Nader then had a polite percussion brush with Abbos Kosimov on an Uzbek doira. Virtuoso Wu Man pepped things up with a dancing tune on the pipa. Kronos Quartet played Islam Chispy's 'Zaghlala', to a pulse from Hank Dutt slapping the body of his viola and Sunny Yang plucking her cello. David Harrington and John Sherba played avian shrieks and swoops of violin. They were then joined by Wu Man for one of her 'Four Chinese Paintings', with an aerial footage of the Gobi Desert unveiling behind them. The long-necked dutar in the quintet was joined by Sirojiddin Juraev for the traditional Tajik melody 'Rohat', followed by the full ensemble for Sakhi's thrilling 'Madhuvanti'.
One of the many unique features of Jubilee was the inclusion of young musicians from London's Ismaili community in the concert's finale performance of 'Jama Ko', one of Kouyaté’s most popular songs.