Monday, April 30, 2007
An underground concert based on music from the 60s. Abbas Ali Khan was featured on vocals and keyboards as he sang "Little wing" byJimmy Hendrix and "All along the watch tower" by Bob Dylan.
Thursday, April 26, 2007
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
click HERE to download
Monday, April 23, 2007
Following the massive success of the soundtrack of film Zinda, Strings have lent their voice once again to another Sanjay Gupta/Ekta Kapoor joint venture, Shootout at Lokhandwala on a track called Akhri Alvida.
The impressive cast of the movie includes Amitabh Bachchan, Abishek Bachan, Sanjay Dutt, Dia Mirza, Viveik Oberoi and Tushaar Kapoor.
The boys hopped across the fence recently for the music launch of the movie, dubbed the ‘biggest music launch in the history of Bollywood.’ The glitzy evening was hosted by the gorgeous Dia Mirza and was an opportunity for the superstars of the industry to show off their dance moves and stunts.
New kids on the block Neha Oberoi and Sikandar Kher mesmerised the audience with their killer moves, while on the music side of things, live performances by Shivani Kasyap, Euphoria and Aryans received a strong response.
The highlight of the evening, however, was Strings’ live performance. They started off with the classic Duur, followed by the melodic Sir Kye and the groovy Dhaani. While singing Zinda, the duo got off stage and enticed Sanjay Dutt to sing along with them. They concluded with their Akhri Alvida.— Shahzeb Shaikh
Mekaal Hasan Band - Rabba (Live)
Direct Download: click HERE (to download right click and click "save target as")
Mekaal Hasan Band - Sajan (Live)
Direct Download: click HERE (to download right click and click "save target as")
Monday, April 9, 2007
From traditional jazz to grunge, from western classical to American folk, from British psychedelia to plain old rock n’ roll, Coven’s sound encompasses all these genres, and truth be told, they do it very well. Looking back, Coven was one of founding members of the Lahore underground scene, a scene which is now booming and has already given us some nationally renowned artists in the form of Noori, Call, Jal etc.
The primary reason why Pakistani rock music sounds so monotonous and mundane is because it’s all structured in the same manner. From the subject, to the sound composition, to the lyrical content, each tune is literally an imitation of the other, and it thus becomes hard to differentiate who’s who and what’s what. The structure of Coven’s music may well NOT be fundamentally different from that of international musicians in their genre, but it sure sounds and feels different when one listens to their music in light of everything else being played by other bands and artists in Pakistan.
Hear, feel, and experience their 2 music videos "Sailing Fast" & "Third World Celebrity".
Video: Sailing Fast
Third World Celebrity
Jab Koi Baat
Mahiya Ve Sohneya
Wednesday, April 4, 2007
Junoon will release another album with Ali Azmat and Salman Ahmed, lets hope Brian O’connel will join them.
Junoon is going to continue, says Salman Ahmad, founder and lead guitarist of the Sufi rock sensation that swept the subcontinent in the mid-1990s. “When I first conceived of Junoon it had no members. Members have come and gone ever since, ” he said.
Ahmad was speaking after a musical performance at the Asia Society in New York City.
But he is also working on another solo album. Along with tabla player Samir Chatterjee, he played three of his new numbers at the performance.
Ahmad, a former medical doctor, uses the words of Sufi saints to put out a political message. His present inspiration is the Sufi poet Rumi. “We’re celebrating Rumi’s 800th birth anniversar. His love for humanity, I feel, speaks to both the East and West,” says Ahmad. “In this post-9/11 world, when some talk of a clash of civilisations, his words are relevant.”
Ahmad noted that a bluegrass country band in the American heartland, The Illumination, had also adopted lyrics from Sufi saints like Rumi. “This fills me with hope.”
Ahmad is also recording a single for the upcoming Greenpeace album with Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart, both formerly of the Eurythmics. Amid all this, he is an artist-in-residence at Queens College, New York, and still touring and singing. “I was in New Delhi two weeks ago and will be off to Karachi to sing soon.”
Junoon, which released seven albums and his best-known for the hit sing Sayonee, had a reunion concert in March last year. Like Ahmad, however, most of its members are now pursuing solo careers. “Junoon (obsession in Urdu) is sort of my whole approach to life. So it’s going to continue,” says Ahmad.
Ali Azmat performing a solo number added on March 21, 2007.
Salman Ahmed Preforming in Chicago March 4th 2007.
Monday, April 2, 2007
Josh is back in Pakistan with the intent of shooting two more music videos. The chosen director is again Umar Anwar and one of the songs for which the video is being shot is Ajnabi. Umar Anwar, who has also directed Josh’s video for their remake of Zubeida Khanum’s Aaye Mausam Rangeele Suhaane, says that the concept underlying the videos is focused on “inner frustrations, things we compromise upon in our lives due to societal norms. It’s about breaking free from that, only to discover that you’ve landed up in it again.”
During their last visit, Josh had pronounced working with Umar Anwar as the best experience they have had so far with music video directors. The duo incidentally also had two performances scheduled in Lahore that were supposed to happen during this trip, one in a well-known art school and the other in a reputed business school, but according to Qurram, they were cancelled just hours after they landed in Pakistan.
Josh expressed disappointed at the cancellation since such mishaps not only result in a disruption of their schedules but also result in a portion of their trip going to waste.
“The love and affection I have been shown here is something I will cherish forever. I had been looking forward to visit Pakistan for a long time, to meet people and gauge how they are different from us. On this trip, I got the opportunity to do so and found out that we are so alike. I feel very much at home here,” she says.
About the fact that it seems she didn’t find our audience lively enough, Alka dispels any such notion. “Not at all! I just thought they were holding themselves back, when they actually wanted to dance. It was written all over their faces. I believe they had been told to show restrain, whereas I wanted them to have a good time.”
Unlike her counterpart, Abhijeet, who gets distracted by too much movement, Alka has no such issues with her audience and says, “As long as they aren’t disrupting the show, I enjoy it too. Here, of course, I knew there would be no problems with the audience, but often in India, I have to request people not to dance as they tend to get all over the place and go crazy.” Also, she feels that Indian audiences mostly want to hear fast numbers, while here, people wanted to hear all kinds of songs.
Justifying her selection of repertoire for the performance, which comprised a number of duets that she sang solo, Alka says, “Most of my solos are item numbers, so I had to balance them with the duets. People keep telling me I didn’t sing this song or that, and that I should have sung more. But I sang more than 20 songs, so I tell them that it’s good they are yearning for more and that they’ll call me again.”
The Gujarati-speaking Alka talks without a trace of accent that may reveal her origins. She explains, “Although I am Gujarati, we never spoke the language at home. My mother’s hometown was Banaras and my father grew up in Aligarh, so my parents spoke basically in Hindi and we grew up speaking either Hindi or English. I was born and brought up in Calcutta so I also know Bengali very well. As for singing, I’ve sung in all the regional languages, including Gujarati.”
Alka says she was intrigued by the majestic structure of the Mohatta Palace. “One couldn’t ask for a better backdrop — it was romantic and beautiful and the weather was so pleasant. It was a dream scenario for any artiste to perform in.”
Having sung for practically the entire spectrum of Bollywood’s female actors, Alka says there isn’t anyone left she is now keen to sing for. However, she says that she would have loved to sing for the late Madhubala and Waheeda Rehman, but quickly ****, “But I feel no one could have suited them better than Lataji. She is a class apart, and I could definitely not have done a better job.”
Alka says that her voice suits Madhuri Dixit and Juhi Chawla the most, and from the present crop, Rani Mukherjee, in spite of her husky voice. “Ideally, her voice should have been like mine, as she has such a delicate frame and face that you don’t expect such a heavy voice. Even Rani says that my voice is more suited to her than her own. In the song Kya Bolti Tu from the film Ghulam (1998), you can hear my laughter but everyone thinks it is hers as it sounds so natural.”
‘We are living in the age of item songs, so much so that while the films of yesteryear would have six romantic songs and only one item number, today the reverse holds true. However, this is a phase we are going through and the era of melody and romance will return,’ says Alka
Raving about Pakistani TV plays, Alka says she is a big fan, especially the late director Shehzad Khalil’s Tanhaiyaan. “I plan on buying quite a few CDs of Pakistani television plays to take home with me.” Having been somewhat in touch with Pakistani films (she has done playback for quite a few of them) she feels saddened by the fact that our film industry is in such dire straits. “Earlier, I was not willing to sing for Pakistani films as they wouldn’t give me the credit, but later I sang for quite a few, including Khulay Aasman Ke Neechay and Reema Khan’s directorial venture, Koi Tujh Sa Kahan.”
Alka admits that playback singing is difficult, “It has lots of constraints and has to be commercially viable, so that the common person can relate to it and sing it as well. We are constantly short of time and there is no opportunity for rehearsals as we run around to meet deadlines.” And yet, she wouldn’t trade it for anything else. Says she, “It has the widest exposure. People take to film music immediately, and it has a lot of glamour attached to it. In India, playback singers are more in the public eye than album singers. Their lives are far longer than that of the actors they sing for and they remain with the public long after the actor on whom the song is picturised is forgotten.”
Alka has worked with the top music directors of Bollywood such as Laxmikant-Pyarelal, Kalyanji-Anandji, A.R. Rehman and R.D. Burman as well as the relatively new lot. But when it comes to identifying one that she finds most creative, she becomes diplomacy personified. “They are all very talented in their own way and have their own individual style.” However, she does admit that she doesn’t understand the music of “the very new crop of music directors. It has become very noisy and techno. We are living in the age of the item songs, so much so that while the Indian films of yesteryear would have six romantic songs and only a single item number, today the reverse holds true. However, this is just a phase we are going through in Bollywood and the era of melody and romance will return.”
Being primarily occupied with film songs means Alka has not explored too many genres of music, although she has taken out a few albums. However, she admits she wants to explore the genre of semi-classical and religious songs. “When I got the chance to sing for the remake of Umrao Jaan, I grabbed it with both hands because it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to sing ghazals for films. I plan to sing the Geeta, as I have never sung religious songs.”
Inspired by her mother and later, Lata Mangeshkar, she says she grew up “listening to Lataji’s voice and although the tonal quality of my voice is very different from hers, people find our voices similar, because I have observed her nuances very carefully. I note how she says a particular word, how she sings and whether it is subconsciously or consciously, I have adapted her style into my singing.”
It is said that a part of a person’s greatness is admitting his/her limitations and acknowledging the source from where they draw their strength. It is no wonder then that Alka Yagnik has acquired the respect she enjoys in the Indian film industry and oozes self-confidence in her vocal talent and art form.
They have been around for a little more than a decade, and yet Co-VEN made their presence felt only a couple of months ago. Previously underground, they are now featured quite regularly on the airwaves with two of their videos, Sailing Fast and Third World Celebrity, both being the products of the Rola production house headed by Uns Mufti and Ali Jafri.
Co-VEN which stands for Company of Vicious Earth Navigators, recently launched their album through a gig held in the confines of a mall in Karachi, cleverly timed to coincide with the opening of the flagship store of Levi’s, also their main sponsor. The line-up comprises Sikandar Mufti on drums, Omran Shafique (of the band Mauj) on lead guitar, Sameer Ahmed (of Mekaal Hasan Band) on bass guitar and Hamza Jafri on rhythm guitar and vocals.
Now our first piece of news involves Najam Shiraz, a character who’s never too far from making a headline.
Whilst it seems that all the major Pakistani pop stars have got their heads down to pop their next albums, at home or out of India, Najam Shiraz’s next installment is being cooked all the way in Europe.
Working with help from as many as twelve countries, which include Denmark and Holland, Najam has already shot a video that’ll premier soon. As always, we wish him every success!
Spurred on by the success of his album Buri Baat Hai, which contained the hottest hit of his career, Saali, Mr. Roy is said to be working on his forthcoming album with an undisclosed international artist. We really hope this collaborative effort pays off, whatever they decide to call it.
With their debut album Green, released perhaps a little too late, Rungg finally called it a day towards the end of February, 2007. With Noori reduced to a duo without drummer extraordinaire Gumby and Fuzon reforming without Shafqat Amanat Ali Khan, break ups seem to be endemic in the music world. Each parting of ways has its own story.
Rungg was actually a duo, which was founded by Sarmad and myself. When I reflect, the greatest aspect was that we ended up becoming really good friends and that was one of the major sources of motivation to do
music and work together. The experience was great but over the years because of living in two different cities, a communication gap was created which was then followed by personal differences as Sarmad began getting involved in other projects. Priorities changed I guess and I suppose this is why there was a tinge of bitterness that crept into the relationship because on the work front, there weren't any artistic differences, rather, they were of a personal nature.
I think we put up a great album irrespective of what people thought or not and above all, I had a great time working with Sarmad, and if it were anyone other than him, I believe it wouldn't have been the same. I'd also like to add that Xulfi and Wasim really stood by us through thick and thin and even through periods of frustration and disappointments, they were always around.
Ever since the disbandment I've currently decided to work on my solo album which I'm extremely excited about. The songs I've written so far are a totally different sound from Rungg so I'm looking forward as to how it turns out.
Concerning the current circumstances, it was expected. I had a lot of hope for the band to be honest and it was very painful when it came to an end because I had a lot of fond memories attached with Rungg.
Since Ifu was sponsoring the whole thing - being the main investor - resources eventually had to get exhausted. Also, our record label never paid us any royalties for our album... it's been a year now and still we haven't been paid a single penny. It wasn't in our control but maybe the timings, with regard to the album launch, were. But we weren't getting any business. Right now I'm running my own studio and playing for Atif Aslam. I might just venture out into a solo project but let's see. I wish the others a lot of success though and I hope they do great at whatever they set out to.
There were a lot of issues mainly due to the distance factor. For a band to function as a unit, its members have to be accessible. Of course I was upset about the disbandment but frankly I think all of us saw it coming. We really were hopeful after the debut album came out but were dragged down by the label due to it not promoting us effectively, and apart from the usual TV promotion there was nothing else.
I must admit we did have high expectations and enjoyed playing our music very much, but nothing really materialized. Currently though I'm working towards going abroad for my MA in Broadcast Design & Motion Graphics which will also give me a chance to explore music.
The trouble was that no band member was available on a regular basis due to the distance factor (as both Sarmad and I live in Islamabad whereas Ifu and Xulfi reside in Lahore). Due to having jobs alongside the band, no one could commit to it full-time. Yes I would agree that after the album launch we were extremely hopeful but then again we weren't jamming enough.
After the disbandment I started my own event management company by the name of 'RAM' (Rock Align Movement). The difference is that we're not a typical event management company - we only promote serious musicians and target serious listeners. Alongside that, I'm session playing with Zeejah and Lahu but would really love to work with Ifu on his solo project.
Rungg's calling the final shot and packing up was extremely predictable. Perhaps they weren't too 'on the ball' with regard to a speedy album release following the release of three singles. Whatever the reasons for Rungg's disbandment, the lukewarm response from their record company and the fact that it did not honour the band's contract was perhaps the final curtain call for the band to finally dissolve. Unlike E.P, where each band member complemented the 'structure', Rungg's members seem better off going solo. Maybe the creative input from each member didn't mesh well as a final product. But with Ifu's vocal skills and Sarmad's proficient musical deliverance (along with an extremely sound technical know-how), each of them (along with Xulfi and Wasim) will perhaps succeed as solo artistes. But it it won't be Rungg any more.