Stories about rock

Rocks and ambulances

“Couldn’t we have gone to a better mechanic, gotten a new and reliable battery, so this wouldn’t have happened?” “I don’t know. This is not the first time this has happened, anyway.” “What? How can you talk about it like this? Every time!” “Like what?” “You know!” He looked at him, his eyes had been previously glued to the movements of the people around him, “If we thought in such detail, you know what would happen. And you also know I hate repeating things!” Ali knew his friend was right, as always, and, as usual, he bit his tongue. “Drive faster,” moaned two voices from the interior. Hearing ...

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Jehangir Aziz Hayat and the Pashtun rock scene, finally uncovered!

A few of the bands that I grew up listening to were U2, Nirvana, Matchbox Twenty and Lifehouse, among others. The genres of these bands included rock, alternative rock, post-grunge and elements of metal in their songs. I remember attending rock fests that were held in Lahore during 2002 and 2003. They featured some rocking underground bands that were quite awesome, to say the least. Bands like EP, Aaroh and Call are some that I recall playing live at these fests, before they achieved mainstream success in Pakistan. However, almost all the songs sung by the bands that went on to receiving ...

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Is it too risky to become a Pakistani rock star instead of a banker?

My accounting teacher back in O-level (Grade 11) gave us an example of how conservative and hypocritical our Pakistani society can be. She said there are certain tribal areas in Pakistan that are against the education of women and would oppose it on every front. But when one of the girls from their area would end up becoming a successful doctor they would proudly exclaim, “Ye dekho, humara larki doctor ban gaya hai!” (Look at that, our daughter has become a doctor!) I have realised this attitude is not just restricted to the tribal areas. Pakistanis do not recognise or appreciate good things while they are ...

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Sights and sounds at the Karachi Literature Festival

Foreign correspondents like conjuring the “books, not bombs” angle to justify the expense of flying down to Karachi to hear a bunch of people talk about politics and their books (in that order). But at this year’s Karachi Literature Festival there were bombs everywhere. Pervez Hoodbhoy led a discussion on bombs of the nuclear kind, Ayesha Siddiqa lobbed a few verbal bombs in Anatol Lieven’s direction for not nursing sufficient hatred for the Pakistan Army while Mohammed Hanif even dropped the deadliest bomb of all: the F-bomb. I began my annual pilgrimage to the Karachi Literature Festival by making a mental ...

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Ready: Brainless entertainment

For all of you who had great expectations from Salman Khan after Wanted and Dabangg, Ready does not disappoint. The movie has all the elements of a typical Bollywood masala film – songs, goons, chases and fights. Of course, serious movie watchers may wish to opt out of this movie, but if you are looking for a great time with friends and family, Ready is for you! Salman Khan, plays the hero named Prem (for the fourteenth time) who is under familial pressure to get married. Sanjana (Asin), a run away bride on the run, lands at his house as the potential ...

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Piracy: What stands between Pakistani music, and greatness

Pakistani music is recognised around the world for its distinct and creative style. The diversities in Pakistani music are there for everyone to hear, with artists coming up with everything from hip hop and rock, all the way to classical eastern music, with some musicians even putting them together. The fact that we don’t have a prestigious film industry helps rather than hurts. Since artists don’t look towards movies to be their main form of advertisement or the medium for people to be exposed to their music, they don’t need to make specific types of tracks to please producers and ...

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My heroes: Jal, Noori, EP, Aaroh, Fuzon

I remember jumping to the first Noori record during my teenage years, and I wasn’t the only one. An entire generation of youngsters during that time was crazy about the band. Inspired by the pop-rock industry’s boom during 2003 to 2006, which saw bands such as Jal, Noori, EP, Aaroh and Fuzon emerge, the phenomenon forced me to pick up a guitar during my A-levels. I can proudly say that as a school-going kid, my idols were not Zepplin’s Jimmy Page, or Jimi Hendrix. To be honest, I did not even know back then that these people existed. My inspirations ...

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Did Islamabad’s underground sell its soul?

There have been countless debates over the real definition of ‘underground music’ and both sides are have strong arguments. Is it music that hasn’t really gotten the commercial stamp or music that doesn’t cater to a big audience (like Annie ‘the pop princess’)? Definitions aside, the fact that some music that comes out from the underground scene per se is top quality. A homeless underground I’ve been part of the Islamabad music scene for quite some time and the difference between what it was and what it is now, saddens me. Islamabad is a small city and there are definitely not enough venues to play concerts at compared to ...

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Faraz Haider’s Andher: Hits and misses

Faraz Haider derives his musical inspiration from life, be it human emotions or current affairs. His debut album Andher reflects this, as most of the songs on the album have been composed by him and the relation of the artist to his lyrics lends them honesty – as if he is relating real life experiences. As soon as I popped the CD into the disc drive and hit the play button, I was greeted with an Audioslave inspired rock intro. Faraz Haider’s classic rock-esque wails and croons in the title track Andher are disappointing; the music and angry-guy lyrics are predictable ...

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Coke Studio: musical tradition rediscovered

Two Words: Coke Studio They move us, inspire us, take us back to our roots, and entertain us. Inculcate pride of our culture and heritage. Allows different musical traditions to come together and create magic. In my research on history, particularly pertaining to the influences and traditions of the Muslim Empires extending from the Prophet’s (PBUH) time until the Mughal Empire, I could not help but marvel at the close parallels between the “traditions” of Coke Studio and 8th Century Muslim Andalusia (Southern Spain), the Ottoman Empire of Turkey and later the Mughal Empire of the Subcontinent. Historical traditions quote that Spain was ...

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