ISLAMABAD – A star studded grand finale event was held on Friday evening at Serena Hotels to conclude the Season 5 of Serena Hotel’s Sarangi countrywide music talent hunt competition.

The event, held with full Covid-19 SOPs including social distancing and vaccination card checks, was attended by prominent members of the diplomatic corps, business community and Islamabad societygathered to listen to the musical performances and the announcement of winner.

The First Lady Samina Alvialongwith jury members Shehzad Roy and Sarmad Ghafoor as well as CEO Serena Hotels Aziz Boolani jointly announced the results. The judges declared the contest a tie between Ali Baloch from Islamabad and Ghayas Haider from Lahore.

A call for submissions had been given earlier this year through Serena Hotel’s social media platforms as a result of which 5 talented contestants, hailing from diverse backgrounds and different parts of the country, were shortlisted for the grand finale. The contestants also included Ayesha Afzal from Pakpattan, AddenSohail from Faisalabad and Fida Mughal from Neelum Valley, Kashmir.

This year’s Sarangi jury panel once againconsisted of renowned figures of music industry including singers Shezad Roy andZoe Viccajiand music producer Sarmad Ghafoor.

Sarangi is a Cultural Diplomacy initiative of Serena Hotelsand aims to promote the arts and culture of Pakistan. Since its inception in 2017, the Sarangi initiative has givena large pool of promising musical talent from around the country a platform to be discovered, polished and become the nation’s rising star.

Ayesha Rasheed from Lahore, who was the winner of Sarangi Season 4, also performed a powerful rendition of “LambiJudai” on the occasion.

Speaking to the press, Shehzad Roy said, “I am blown away by the talent that is to be found all over Pakistan. It was a tough challenge for us judges to select only five people from the 50 shortlisted submissions, but we tried to do justice.”

“With the dearth of a proper music industry and opportunities for younger people, projects like Sarangi gives young musicians a platform to work towards and be heard on a larger platform. The final prize which is a song recording and music video is so apt and something I would have truly valued when I first started pursuing music,” commented ZoeViccaji via a video message.

CEO Serena Hotels South and Central Asia, Mr. Aziz Boolani, speaking at the occasion, said: “Serena has promoted the arts and intercultural activities to inspire a culture of peace and hope. And we truly believe in giving recognition and platform to the emerging artists that need recognition. I am grateful to the judges and the guests for coming together to support this initiative and encourage the creative talent that Pakistan possesses.”