In just three short years, Lahore Music Meet (LMM), a music symposium co-founded by Natasha Noorani and Zahra Paracha, has managed to become the ultimate gathering of artists, soundscapes and industry insiders under one roof.
Those who still haven’t had a chance to see this festival until now can rejoice because a fourth edition has been announced and will take place on January 6 and 7 of next year.
Held for two consecutive days at the Alhamra Arts Center in Lahore, the event has not only played host to prolific mainstream names since inception but is also the one space to explore the stories, identities and creations of various independent (and multidisciplinary) artists who make the music scene in Pakistan so interesting and visceral. It is the one place that reiterates the belief that music is something to be cherished and has lasting value.
Featuring live performances, panel discussions, workshops and seminars, the event is designed to celebrate music while shedding a light on issues pertaining to music as well as those who work in the industry in various capacities. Solutions can only come from discussion and debate and that conversation, crucial for the growth of music as a whole, is always a given at LMM.
Open to the public with no cost of admission, the two-day event features enthusiasts, artisans, artists, patrons, industry representatives and academics.
A glimpse of the thought that goes into the festival can be gauged from the kind of artists who have participated as well as the various themes that have been the subject of discussion since the event arrived in 2015. Some examples of past seminars held during LMM include ‘The Technique Behind Classical Music’, ‘Marketing Yourself as A Musician, Corporate Patronage Of Music, Music In The World Of Film’, ‘Women In Music’, ‘From PTV to Pakistani Pop’, ‘Heritage & Archiving: Preserving Music in Pakistan’, ‘Score for a Film’, ‘Art Sound & Space’, ‘Patari Tabeer’, ‘Women On The Scene’, ‘Storytelling through Dance’, ‘Talking Tablas & Beats’ and ‘The Composers Guide to Big Screen’.
The festival is also important because it is inclusive in nature and the line-up of participants has expanded over the years in terrific fashion.
In its first year, LMM featured an eclectic line-up of performers such as as Jimmy Khan and the Big Ears, Asrar, Pappu Saeen & Nasir, Keeray Makoray, Sachal Orchestra, Noor Zehra and Rakae Jamil, Ali Suhail, Sikandar Ka Mandar, Alien Panda Jury, Shajie, Sameen Qasim, Dynoman, Those Retard and Toll Crane.
In year two, the performance and participant bill expanded with Attaullah Khan Esakhelvi, Ali Zafar, Mai Dhai, Sounds of Kolachi and indie-rock band Red Blood Cat serving as headlining acts while the event also went on to feature the likes of Afraz Anjum, Mooroo, Shahzad Noor of Shorbanoor, Aaishay Haque, Zoe Viccaji, Takatak, Sikandar Ka Mandar, Keeray Makoray, Naseer & Shahab, Quadrum, Natasha Beyg, Ali Suhail, Tollcrane, Shamoon Ismail, Xarb, Bayaan and Sameen Qasim.
The third coming of LMM, held earlier this year, was possibly the most comprehensive edition of the festival to date.
While the likes of Sajjad Ali, Ali Azmat, Meesha Shafi, Momina Mustehsan, Uzair Jaswal and Javed Bashir headlined the two-day festival, the performance bill featured artists as eclectic as Slowspin, Ali Suhail, Poor Rich Boy, Javed Bashir, Patari Tabeer, Wisdom Salad, Kashmir, Wooly and the Uke, Abdullah Siddiqui, Shorbanoor, Janoobi Khargosh, Keeray Makoray, TMPST, MU, Mohammad Aizaz, Hathi, Ehlerock, Shajie, Saakin, Tonight Us, Jaubi and Noah’s Heark.
In addition, several others took the stage as speakers on various matters such as Sharif Awan (Tehzeeb Foundation), Zain Ali, Danish Khwaja, Anoushey Ashraf, Neini Rafi, Dino Ali, Arshad Mahmud, Mehreen Murtaza, Zain Ahsan, Shehzad Noor, Tabish Habib, Dr Fauzia Saeed (Lok Virsa), Adeel Tahir/Eridu, Babar Sheikh, Danial Hyatt/Nawksh, Syed Misbah Uddin, Mariam Elahi, Altamash Sever, Jamal Rehman, Sameer Ahmed, Ibrahim Akram, Raania Durrani, Selina Rashid, Umnia Iftikhar, Zahra Paracha, Kamal Khan, Umair Dar, Natasha Humera Ejaz, Omran Shafique, Daniel Arthur Panjwaaney, Ziyad Habib, Hassan Moheyuddin and Sara Haider.
This year, LMM also had to deal with directives from Punjab Government and Security Advisory Committee and moved all outdoor proceedings indoor but still pulled off a remarkable event. Given its illustrious past and will to serve the cause of music with thought and vision, we can’t wait to see what LMM conjures up next.