Sunday, February 25, 2007
Saturday, February 24, 2007
No parole from rock n' roll
Mama, I wanna be a rock star
In grade six when most of us were scraping our knees and elbows in the playground, Faraz Anwar was dreaming of playing the guitar like his pin-up hero, Swedish guitar maestro Yngwie Malmsteen. After repeatedly watching one of Malmsteen's videos on the tube, Faraz decided it was high time aspirations were put to action. And so he bought his first guitar.
"My mother had gotten me an eastern classical music tutor in my younger days," Anwar says but Malmsteen had struck a chord (pun intended) deep within and it was only when Faraz was in grade nine that he met Adnan Afaq who helped him with his guitar basics. The rest, as they say, is history.
Today, guitar whiz, Faraz, has been at it for almost two decades now. From playing with some of the music industry's greatest pioneers and big-wigs such as Alamgir, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Vital Signs, Junoon and numerous (fifty) others, Faraz has grown, both as an individual and as an artist, along with the industry's hiccups and smooth voyages.
To say that Faraz has had a lot on his platter would really be an understatement. After his session playing for various bands and musicians kicked off, he left for his very first international tour with Sajjad Ali back in '93 and later went on to form the band, Dusk, with musician and video director, Babar Sheikh (quick recall: bassist for Ganda Banda and the 3D Cats) in 1994. But it didn't stop there.
Having received Berkeley's 'Outstanding Musical Achievement Award' in 1996 for his instrumental piece 'Chairzkuro', the years to follow seemed promising for young Faraz. Every individual (especially an artist) needs that pat on the back - the recognition and validation for one's work makes you want to go that extra mile, burn the midnight oil and sweat it out a bit more. The encouragement and support (especially if it comes from an outside source) almost seems to guide an individual by the hand one step closer to his apex of self-actualization. And in '97, the band (drum roll please), Mizraab (a plectrum made by hand from a continuous strand of iron used to strike the strings of the sitar) was formed.
With their debut album Panchi (1999), the feedback that the band received was as mixed as a can of assorted nuts. While some 'metal-heads' showed their support by head banging to its tracks, the other, 'pop-lot' thought otherwise. Wrinkling their noses in disgust, a majority of them turned away. Panchi's sales plummeted.
Fire in the sky
In the same year (1999), Dusk, released their debut record My infinite nature alone in December via a Portugal based company by the name of Hibernia Productions. The album gave the band a foothold in the international musical arena, albeit it was more underground and semi-mainstream, as Babar Sheikh had put it in one of his interviews. Things were looking up as Dusk was the first Pakistani band to have an album released overseas. But the general public still wasn't all that swayed. They continued 'pooh-poohing' whilst bobbing their heads to nonsensical pop-rip-offs.
2001 proved to be a stellar year for Anwar, regardless of Mizraab's low popularity on the scales. This was because Faraz's second greatest inspiration, Allan Holdsworth, lauded Faraz as a guitar prodigy in Pakistan. The icing on the cake was when Gnarly Geezer Records (Holdsworth's very own record label) released Faraz's first solo album, Abstract point of view.
Following the success of his solo baby, Dusk went on to release Jahilia by a Czech label known as Epidemie Records (that culminated in the band's first international tour of fifteen performances in two straight weeks in 2005). Continuing his session playing at the same time, Mizraab collaborated once again to try their hand at another daring sequel album Mazi Haal Mustaqbil in 2004. The response this time was relatively better than Panchi. Mizraab even picked up a Lux Style Award nomination for Best Music Album. The reason as to why Panchi wasn't given a second glance is because the genre of hardcore metal doesn't go down well with local audiences. "We lack music education and awareness," Faraz had stated, "Back in the day in the early '90s when we were growing up, we didn't have the internet or the option of various channels. Buying a fifty rupees cassette and trying to get our hands on information about music held so much value for us. It's gotten way too easy now."
Time will tell
Apart from Faraz's 'Eastern neo classical' project with Yasir (remember the singer from their song 'Kalawati' featuring Begum Nawazish Ali?), he's all set to release both an English metal album and another that follows along the lines of a pop/rock genre - internationally. With regard to Mizraab's third album, Ujalon Main, Faraz stated, "The album's genre is pretty much pop/rock...but a matured form of it," he says and ****, "I really don't know how to define it but let's just say it has Eastern melody influences and is more technical."
What's interesting to note is the fact that a majority of Mizraab's avid listeners have been somewhat disappointed by Mizraab's first single 'Ujalon Main' (also the name of the third album) and believe the band to have 'sold out' by this thoroughly 'commercial' pop-rock-feel-good number. In his defense, Faraz says, "Being a musician for seventeen years now, I've experimented with quite a few genres of music. Just because I released a metal album doesn't mean I'm a metal head. I mean I grew up listening to Richard Marx and Air Supply as well and I've composed songs like 'Ujalon Main' before. Besides, a musician's true test comes when he is able to be versatile with various music genres."
With Mizraab's third album in the pipeline - to be released any time soon - and Faraz's international releases, it can only get better.
Standing as one of the country's more seasoned artistes, here's hoping local audiences will take to album number three. Hey, as they say...third time's a charm!
Saturday, February 17, 2007
Tuesday, February 13, 2007
Sunday, February 11, 2007
Afridi has been banned for next four one day international matches which means he will miss the first two one day matches of the World Cup.
Fuzon disbanded - Shafqat replaced by Rameez Mukhtar without his knowledge
Rumours about Fuzon breaking up have been doing rounds of the music industry for some months. It's official! Fuzon is over...well, the original line-up anyway. In a recent press statement sent to Instep (along with the entire media brigade) by guitarist Shallum Xavier, it was revealed that Fuzon is coming back with a new album and a new vocalist, Rameez Mukhtar. Yes, Shafqat Amanat Ali Khan has been replaced. Furthermore, there was no mention of Shafqat Amanat Ali Khan in the press release (one of the founding members of the band), no reason given for his departure and even now, one still doesn't know (after 5 years of release of Saagar) when the next NEW Fuzon album will be out.
Gurus Trilogy's Dastaan from the album "Aghaaz" is The Big Hit on MTV India all this month of February 2007. Gurus Trilogy début album Aghaaz released by Universal Music India in December 2006.
Best Playback (Male)
Atif Aslam (Tere Bin - Bas Ek Pal)
Himesh Reshammiya (Jhalak Dikhlaja - Aksar)
Shaan & Kailash Kher (Chand Shifarish - Fanaa)
Sonu Nigaam (Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna - Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna)
Zubin (Ya Ali - Gangster)
Saturday, February 10, 2007
Thursday, February 8, 2007
Check out Atif Aslam new song RUNG BHARDAY.We are not sure if this song is from his new album HANGAMI HALAAT but for all you atif fans its a must listen.
11th February'07 - Chandigarh, India
Ali Azmat Band Live in Concert in Chandigarh for ESPN PHI
17th February'07 - Chandigarh, India
Ali Azmat Band Live in Concert in Chandigarh for Rotract Club
1st March'07 - Delhi, India
Ali Azmat Band at Amity Masscom, Delhi
10th March'07 - Kolkatta, India
Ali Azmat Band at Jadhavpur University for Sanskriti 2007
Date: 16th February, 2007
Venue: The Underground - Student Centre - York University, North York, Ontario
Time: 8:00 p.m.
Tickets: $ 20 - For further details, contact York University PSA
Outlandish - Aisha (Live)
Outlandish - Look Into My Eyes (Live)
Outlandish - I Only Ask for God (Live)
Outlandish - I've Seen (Live)
Monday, February 5, 2007
Friday, February 2, 2007