f you go on Spotify and search for Zahra Paracha, a bunch of singles will emerge under her name. In no chronological order, songs like ‘Tum Kaafi Ho’, ‘Khatt’, ‘Bekhudi’, Roshni’ and ‘Baat Bann Jaye’ will jump out. With each release, you can hear her evolving musical aesthetic. And these days, the track that has captured our hearts is ‘Tum Kaafi Ho’ even though it’s not her newest release, going by the YouTube release date.
With a running time of 2 minutes and 44 seconds, there is no unduly effort to stretch the single and the duration also means any listener can devote less than 3 minutes.
Without watching the music video and relying solely on the song, the stripped down, sparse beginning tells us what we all must know: she’s no ordinary artist.
As you listen, it speaks of how the fear that was once present doesn’t exist anymore. The music changes gear and its narrative refer to the stars above while the music builds from sparseness to a delightful concoction of additional sonic sounds. As she sings on, “Kisne Bola Ke Aasan Hoga Ye,” the lyrics feel like a personal story being told with a ubiquitous quality. Understated and beautiful, the song’s arc – musically and visually is a reflection of both hopefulness (“Logon Ki Baton Se Hosla Na Torho Aur Saans Lo”) and the idea that you are enough. In these days of uncertainty, ‘Tum Kaafi Ho’ and the perspective it offers is as refreshing as it was when the song was first released. And the idea it narrates is very important at a time where trolling and lack of understanding is most common.
An essay called ‘The Ethical Values of the Music Art of the Ancient Greeks: A Semiotic Essay’ offers language that applies to Zahra Paracha’s musicality where it states: “In its structure, in its act and its functionality which means communication and signification.“
And that significance is present in this song with an animated music video that carries the song into another dimension.
It cannot be forgotten that apart from these beautiful songs, Zahra Paracha (along with Natasha Noorani) has been impressing us for years. From the early years as Biryani Brothers to co-founding music symposium Lahore Music Meet, they’ve collectively and as solo artists set a benchmark few can reach.
Apart from Lahore Music Meet and Biryani Brothers, both artists have also forged a solo path.
Zahra Paracha’s contribution to music is significant since she can handle its technical side as well and has her own narrative that appears with each music release.
Apart from her solo run, she was impressive with her contribution to Sikandar Ka Mandar’ sophomore album, 36, where she played the role of backing vocalist, rhythm guitarist, synth, and mandolin player, scaling new heights.
The band is no longer together but Zahra Paracha’s arc as an artist goes beyond playing multiple instruments and singing.
Watching her contribute to the technical side of music – an area that has been dominated by male musicians in the music scene – is a thrill and what a giant leap it is for female musicians.
For example, she is the sound designer and editor for Wooly and the Uke’s ethereal song, ‘How’. And that’s just one example.
Zahra also has her own brand of music, and lending your ears to her work is worth every second.
One of the most collaborative artists, she has worked with Wooly and the Uke, Rutaba Yaqub ft. Nayab Batool and Ustad Yousaf, where she produced, mixed and master their song, ‘Throne’. The quality of that production cannot be described for it carries a unique signature. She has also produced a Rap Demon x RFP song called ‘Taan’. 2022 seems to be her year as she also produced, mixed and mastered Salor’s track, ‘Naye Maslay’ and the prolific Maanu’s ‘Kidhar’ as a co-producer with Talal Qureshi. There are other songs where her technical wizardry shines as well.
So, whether you listen to a song because Zahra is on its technical side or her own brand of music, you will not come out of the experience feeling miserable for she can make magic. ‘Tum Kaafi Ho’ is a universal example.
– Zahra Paracha photo credit: Noor (noorulainali)