Speaking to Instep on the sidelines of Mad Decent Block Party 2018, Farhan Bogra and Aamir Shafiq from the band confirm release of debut album.
2018 opened on a rather beautiful note as music group Khumariyaan staged a wonderful comeback with their new single, ‘Gulmast’. Backed by Patari, Pakistan’s largest audio streaming platform, the song came attached with an equally stunning music video, shot in snow-covered Nathiagali, on the Huawei Mate 10 series phones.
Director Raza Shah, who also directed the video for Abid Brohi and SomewhatSuper’s ‘The Sibbi Song’ and is up for an LSA nod this year, while speaking about the project said, “I really enjoyed working with the phones. It is remarkable to see how much freedom the cameras on them provide, and it really showcases how rapidly this technology is evolving.”
Upon the release of the single, Khumariyaan member Sparlay Rawail had said that “the track is an homage to the Peshawar pop beat that is so well known among all Pashtuns. The band has used a dying instrument called the Pashtun Sehtaar in hopes of bringing its sound back into the conscious of our listeners.”
When Instep ran into Farhan Bogra and Aamir Shafiq from Khumariyaan as well as music producer Sarmad Ghafoor, who has produced the instrumental group’s biggest hits including ‘Tamasha’, on the sidelines of Mad Decent Block Party 2018 in Islamabad, they spoke about the idea behind ‘Gulmast’ and more.
“With ’Gulmast’ we want to popularize the Pashtun Sehtaar,” noted Bogra, who plays the Pashtun Sehtaar. “We’ve been promoting the rubab through our music and it has taken flight because there are more rubab players and makers now. It is time for the Sehtaar to gain some recognition because it is also a dying instrument.”
Sarmad Ghafoor, who was also present at MDBP 2018, while speaking to Instep about the experience of producing this unique four-man music outfit from Peshawar noted, “It’s a lot of fun. The thing is their music has this primal wave and no matter who listens to it, it will instantly tap into their brain. It is very pure.”
Khumariyaan, the instrument folk-rock outfit that counts Sparlay Rawail, Shiraz Khan, Farhan Bogra and Aamer Shafiq as members had a terrific run, particularly last year. They represented Pakistan in Ireland and the United Kingdom, playing at the prestigious Alchemy Festival in London. Known for their exceptional live performances, the group’s Irish and UK debut lived up to their reputation as it was said in a review: “Most gratifying though was how the music brought the audience together – with strangers dancing, engaging, connecting with one another. Khumariyaan are often asked what role their music plays in responding to the violence affecting their home city – the answer is that it cuts through cynical political rhetoric and division, speaks to the heart and the sense of beauty that lives within us, and reminds us what makes us human. And it’s not just Peshawar that needs that.”
The band also released a gorgeous cover of Game of Thrones theme in their own spin in 2017 and toured Pakistan, performing in Lahore, Karachi, Quetta and Islamabad. And their plans to release a debut album remain intact. As Bogra told Instep, “The album is ready along with the album art. We are launching it in March as a digital release because people don’t buy physical CDs anymore. It will be available on Patari as well as Spotify, etc.”
Aamir Shafiq, Farhan Bogra with American DJ and record producer Diplo in Islamabad.