Stories about Pakistani Music

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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Mooroo: Cool is mass marketed, quality has to be found

YouTube is the most prominent source of consuming entertainment. In this post-cable era, YouTube is the chief provider of quality content on a regular basis. I find myself lost in its inter-web for hours. Occasionally I find a channel that really hits the right spot and I find myself binging all its videos in a marathon that can last for days. Namely: The Nerdwriter, How It Should Have Ended, and Casey Neistat are a few channels that I could sit back and watch for hours. They’re talented people with great ideas and excellent execution. If I had to make a ...

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It’s good to be back…

There are expats and then there are people like me, returnees. I’m going to take a literary liberty – without meaning to offend any intellectuals – and call myself an ‘inpat’. I think people like me deserve a special made-up name. Mine is a story like many others. I went to London 25 years ago to study and it took me that long to return. Not because I was particularly dumb and took 25 years to finish my education, but because the rat race rollercoaster of life took over. To cut a long story short, after 13 years in London ...

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When Quratulain Baloch made Sain Allan Faqir roll in his grave with Tere Ishq Nachaya

The Express Tribune had earlier predicted that the government will initiate a historic move in 2016 — slap a ban on companies making fizzy drinks, SIM cards and coffee from ‘manufacturing’ Pakistani music. Sources say ‘honouring’ folk music, making tributes and covers, and pushing them down people’s throats will be punishable by law. Until that happens, we present to you the latest that the corporate-backed music scene has on offer – Quratulain Balouch’s Tere Ishq Nachaya. At the finale of Pepsi Unplugged, the very talented singer unleashed a vicious cover of a song she has been performing for long. In fact, Quratulain made her first mainstream appearance ...

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Best Independence Day gift ever: Sohni Dharti by Coke Studio

Let me declare firstly, that I’m no music critic. But Coke Studio’s latest rendition of Sohni Dharti has made me so proud, that I’m compelled to chatter about it. The reason behind the song’s success is simply that it nailed all the components of a hit! Firstly, the occasion it catered to was Independence Day. Coke Studio celebrates diverse musical talent; has made a significant presence in the international music scene, and thus gave back to the country, on its birthday. Secondly, the song Sohni Dharti, originally sung by Shehnaz Begum, is a milli naghma (national song) every child and adult has been singing since childhood. So ...

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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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Coke Studio 7 comes with strings attached

What an opening! The much-awaited Coke Studio season seven begins with the hope of fresh music, sounds, return-to-roots and much more. Strings have teamed up to become the sound producers of a huge franchise even though they have no prior music production experience. It was but expected that, apart from picking all the right people, their overall presentation would be a ‘celebration of strings’, given Bilal Maqsood’s love for the guitar. Episode one fared well and stumbled a little as well, but gave much to celebrate. Ustad Raees Khan and Abida Perveen: Mein Sufi Hoon Who can go wrong placing these two maestros together? It was a joy to see ...

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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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Mathira and her 12-year-old ‘jhoota’ Arbaz – does it get any weirder?

I spent much of the last week of 2013 writing a review about the fantastic year Pakistani music had just had. On the first day of 2014, I woke up to the video of Arbaz Khan and Mathira’s song, Jhoota. My life will never be the same again. To start off with, I was a bit disappointed that Arbaz was not Salman Khan’s brother/Malaika Arora’s husband, a fact which said more about how irrelevant my references were and less about the situation. In fact, when Malaika Arora was actually worth knowing about (MTV Loveline, circa 2000) this particular Arbaz was still ...

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