Stories about Junoon

Kashmir: The perfect combination of Vital Signs and EP, all rolled into one

Despite being an avid music lover, I’ve stopped following contemporary Pakistani music for quite a while now. It would not be incorrect to claim that things took a wrong turn ever since Rohail Hyatt left Coke Studio. However, the recently concluded Pepsi Battle of the Bands has changed that. And it really is down to one band alone – the eventual winners, Kashmir. I was mildly surprised when they won the competition even though I was rooting for them myself. Badnaam, the runner up, had been impeccable throughout the competition, managed to stay out of the danger zone every time and ...

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How Bollywood’s curtain call became a blessing in disguise for Pakistan

This has been a year of reformation and introspection for Pakistan’s entertainment industry. After India closed its doors to Pakistani artists in the wake of the Uri attack last year, Pakistani artistes – who were minting a heavy buck from the biggest culture industry in Asia, Bollywood – were forced to come up with a plan B. Nothing can compare to the attention and recognition a successful project in India can bring. In fact, a lot of Pakistani artistes still bank on that one short role (that nobody remembers) to enhance their portfolio. But as Junoon said in their song, “khwaab ...

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How could Salman Ahmed let his masterpiece die a sad death at the hands of singers who were not meant for it?

Being a 90s child, it won’t be wrong to say that we’re the last generation, that among many other endeavours, still like playing the real, traditional Ludo (not Ludo Star). We grew up having a total of two television channels to watch and ran down the hills to find who reached the ground first. We spent all our nights playing board games with our cousins during long summer nights, saved money for a Walkman and eventually witnessed the glorious pop music era in Pakistan. I might sound like an old grandfather glorifying everything from his past while shunning everything today. But I am very certain that ...

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Coke Studio 10: A season of tributes that is too star-studded to be true?

You cannot make everyone happy. And nowhere does this apply more fittingly than to every offering of Pakistan’s musical opus: Coke Studio. The show, a success story like no other, has put Pakistan on the global culture map, but continues to divide opinions roaringly, more so of late. If the show plays it safe with covers, it’s unoriginal; if it delves into too much innovation, it becomes another Nescafe Basement. Navigating through the public complaints doesn’t always seem smooth for this show that has single-handedly rejuvenated Pakistan’s musical scene. With the line-up for the latest season having just been released, the furore is already upon us. For ...

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Why can’t we have Pakistani bands, DJs, and solo artists with massive fan bases in our own country?

Pakistan is home to a large population. It is harbouring so many talented musicians, some who we may never hear of, and Coke Studio hits. Then why is our music-loving population either humming Bollywood hits or songs from the Billboard Top 40 chart? This is because there is a lack of opportunities and exposure for local artists. Pakistan only has a handful of record labels that are famous for not promoting “unknown artists” and for taking away all creative control from the performer. One prime example of this is the now discontinued Fire Records that at one point managed every mainstream Pakistani artist with any notable fame. ...

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What implications would celebrating a murderer have on our national heritage narrative?

Now that Islamabad is back to some degree of normalcy after a frenetic four or so days, let’s emphasise on a particular aspect of the protests which we might have overlooked. When the protesters managed to work out a sense of coherence within, they put forth a set of 10 demands. These demands, unlike the 10 commandments revealed to Moses, are ominous of a much darker reality. It’s not clear whether the government paid heed to all or some of the 10 demands, but a particular demand, which asked for the recognition of Salman Taseer’s murderer’s prison cell as a ...

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Will Patari.pk be successful in a country like Pakistan?

I like to listen to music, just like anybody else. And like a lot of people out there, I crave a musical atmosphere where I don’t have to listen to Bollywood music blaring out the speakers all the time. And it makes me wonder, whatever happened to the Pakistani music industry? Did it just die? Are we not good enough? Has everyone abandoned it? In this social media and gadget-infested world, it is not hard to find answers to these questions. I have had discussions with famous artists about it, talked about this on television and even had drawing room discussions about ...

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Pakistan vs South Africa: Team green chase the dream

There are three certainties in life: death, taxes and the unpredictability of Pakistan’s cricket team. Most of Pakistan does not even expect this team to beat Ireland, let alone South Africa, arguably the best cricket team in world cricket. Not only did we do that, we managed to defend a score of 222. I wouldn’t have been surprised to see AB De Villiers alone to score that against us. Judging by our team’s performance in the past few matches, it seems like the only thing restricting our team was Moin Khan’s late rendezvous to the Australian casinos. The nation woke up with ...

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Vital Signs 1: Bringing vitality to Pakistani music since 1987

The generation that grew up listening to Atif has always associated Salman Ahmad with Junoon, completely oblivious to the fact that he was a part of Vital Signs first and had it not been for a bust up with Rohail Hyatt, Junoon might never have come into existence. As pseudo-underground bands cover redundant black and death metal covers in the name of underground music, what most of these bands, and even a large chunk of our biggest musicians remain unaware of is the fact this year marks the 25th anniversary of one of the greatest pop albums released by a ...

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Vital Signs: The soundtrack of my memories

Talking to one of my old friends, my pal of 21 years, and sharing some pictures from 1994 to 1998 with him, something really interesting struck me. My memories have a soundtrack. In simple words, each time I think of my school and college life, I hear background music; beautiful melodies of the days gone by but fresh in my memory forever. And not surprisingly, all of them are from the one and only, Vital Signs. It was in the fall of 1987 or ’88 when I first heard Dil Dil Pakistan. A school friend came to me one morning during break-time with her fancy new ‘walkman’ (remember those? Such a ...

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