Stories about music

Living on the Edge: it’s entertainment not ethics!

TV is for entertainment, not for preaching. If it is messages on morals that you want, we have schools. So don’t judge a reality show like Living on the Edge from Oprah’s eyes or from an ethical angle; judge a reality show for the entertainment that it provides. Write-ups like Cruelty to animals is not ‘Living on the Edge’ discourage Pakistani initiative; why can’t our people learn to appreciate rather than putting people down all the time? Surprisingly, even the Hindustan Times wrote good things about our show at the launch of Roadies Season 9 while in Pakistan, people are only propagating ...

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Zubaida Khanum’s voice will live on forever in our hearts

Getting stuck in Karachi’s downtown traffic jam in the month of June is never pleasant and that jam was a brute. After an hour in the searing heat and the never ending snarl of cars, bikes and rickshaws I was on the verge of a breakdown when from the car radio came Zubaida Khanum’s lilting voice. The song was ‘Masti mein jhoom jhoom re’ from Noor Jehan’s classic ‘Koel’ and I was transported from the inferno to an idyll-like place because of the mellifluous song. The song, much like much of Zubaida Apa’s work, represented so much. It harked back to ...

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I like Disney movies and Katy Perry, but I am not gay!

Since I was a child, I have been bullied and called names. People have always been cruel to me and it took me a few years to understand that I should not let it get to me. Growing up, nobody wanted to hang out with me; children my age hated me and I was never picked for anything – let alone being picked last. Even the mothers of these kids despised me and adults made fun of me. All this, and only because I was a boy with effeminate traits. ‘I say ‘was’ because I like to think that I have evolved ...

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3 reasons I will watch Coke Studio Season 6

There are a few things a Pakistani can be proud of and music tops the list. From the eternal Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan to the evergreen Noor Jehan; from the refreshing Nazia Hasan to the quirky Hadiqa Kiani; from the cheery Alamgir to the likes of Ali Azmat, Ali Zafar et al; from the soulful Alan Fakir to the ear soothing Mekaal Hasan Band and Fuzon, we’ve got it all! In fact, anyone would give their Led Zeppelin guitars for the talent Pakistan has. The newest and the most successful (probably after Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan) addition to the list ...

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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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Nazia Hassan: Remembering our subcontinental princess

Hendon Cemetery, London NW7 on Holder’s Hill Road is a serene space with the usual poignancy and hush that accompanies cemeteries. There, tucked away among other graves is a simple tomb with a black headstone. “786”, the numerical translation of Bismillah is etched along with this touching epitaph: “In the loving memory of Nazia Hassan. Loving daughter, sister and mother. Beloved and cherished by millions of people. Died in her youth, August 13, 2000.” Every word rang true and took me back to July 2000. I was driving my friend and Nazia’s songs were playing on the stereo. “She is about to die”, he ...

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Wali Flo Shah’s success story: When he refused to let poverty break him

“I know you’d expect this kid to be a criminal, But before you judge someone, don’t be as cynical Because that child wasn’t a story, That child was me.” Thus, eighteen-year-old Wali Shah ended his powerful spoken word ‘The Child’, narrating his journey as an immigrant child – battling economic hardships at home and a troubled gangster life outside in Toronto, Canada. For his narration, he received a standing ovation at a prestigious event at United Way, attended by dignitaries in the city of Mississauga. I met Wali Shah later in his home, located in a modest, middle class rental apartment building. As his Mom received ...

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Random Access Memories: Daft Punk’s new album hit a home run for me

Random Access Memories (RAM) is the fourth studio album released by the French duo, Guy-Manuel and Thomas Bangalter – better known to the world as Daft Punk. After a sabbatical of eight years since their last studio release, the iconic team of electronic musicians finally dropped their much anticipated latest album. I decided to give it a listen, in lieu of all the hype and let’s just say that it exceeded my expectations. Known for worldwide hits such as “Around The World” and “Harder Better Faster Stronger”, I had hoped that they would stay true to their roots and would not resort ...

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Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani: Let the badtameezi begin!

With the music of the Ranbir-Deepika starrer Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani, music director Pritam brings to us one of the most widely anticipated soundtracks of this year. There are still two weeks left for the May 31 release but the buzz around the film has already reached fever pitch. With Ayan Mukerjee at the helm, the film is expected to have a certain amount of youthful energy and breeziness to it (remember Wake up Sid?) and the music has been a success so far. Moreover, through one of the highlights of the soundtrack we are able to see the variety that it offers. The album utilises the ...

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German glue, pinching ears and music — Zoe Viccaji’s favourite things

You may not know this about her, but Zoe Viccaji loves to put German glue on her hands and peel it off; she also loves to pinch ears, but her greatest love remains music. At the age of 15, when most of her teenage friends had the high-school blues, Zoe wrote songs for her friends and performed at open mic sessions as a hobby. She joined the college choir and majored in Arts and Sociology; even turned towards advertising for two years post-college, only to return to her first love – music. Born in Kharian to a Parsi father and a ...

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