Instep Today

We Can Burn Brighter Than the Sun

Instep Today
By Maheen Sabeeh
Thu, 11, 19

Raania A.K. Durrani, Salt Arts co-founder and artistic director, on upcoming shows as the company surpasses 75 live shows.

In 2019, Salt Arts – that counts Junaid Iqbal as CEO/co-founder and Raania A.K. Durrani as co-founder and artistic director – the Karachi-based music and arts production company surpassed 75 live shows since starting out in 2015.

Their theme for the year 2019 is #FutureisFemale and they have made a conscious effort to do shows that fit this particular parameter.

But in 2019 Salt Arts also introduced the Salt Box Residency and Salt Flights and confirmed that the multiple act show called ‘SuperSalt’ that was first introduced last winter will come back with a different variety of artists.

To learn more about SuperSalt 2019 that will feature Shamoon Ismail, Ali Gul Pir, Hamza Akram Qawwal so far and will be a longer event than its predecessor, Instep spoke to Raania A.K. Durrani about what to expect as the year closes in a little over a month.

Speaking about SuperSalt 2019, Raania noted, “SuperSalt was borne of the idea of a circus, a place of community.”

Raania Azam Khan Durrani, artistic director for Salt Arts curated the edition. She explains, “This multi-act, multi-genre blockbuster is designed for host city Karachi, and held annually at the Arts Council Open Air Amphitheatre – home of SuperSalt. The big curatorial question this year, what are the SuperSalt 2019 artists saying? Whether hip hop, rap, poetry or qawwali – we believe in the power of the word, spoken and sung for our city Karachi.”

Raania further shared, “So far our revealed line-up includes host city artists Ali Gul Pir and Hamza Akram Qawwal, both leaders in their genres, one known for bringing rap and social commentary to the mainstream in Pakistan, making Karachi the capital of hip hop in Pakistan, the other known internationally for his legacy of contemporary qawwali. At SuperSalt each artist works closely with the curator developing the content, unique musicality of the set – and performing on a shared stage, strengthening the notion of one voice and collective spirit. We take pride in inviting artists, to show them our warm Karachi, welcome and treat them to energetic and invested audiences, who believe in paying for music.

“Over the past four years our area of work has been audience development and making sure audiences understand that they must pay for the arts to enable this eco-system, and ultimately grow Karachi into becoming the heart of contemporary South Asian music and listening. We have also revealed the inclusion of Shamoon Ismail, Islamabad based artist, who pioneers the Punjabi Blues genre. There is a lot of fun stuff coming up, this entire month leading up to SuperSalt 2019.”

Apart from the gig, this year’s SuperSalt edition will be different and won’t feature music alone. Noted Raania, “We will be releasing main stage and first stage acts, along with partners and artists who will be featured at the SUPERSALT KI SUPERMARKET: A creative trade space that we are building to encourage further audience development for other art sectors, especially design, contemporary craft and tech based initiatives. We would like to share that our productions are designed in an eco-conscious style, our use of craft and technology is testament to this commitment.”

SuperSalt is scheduled to take place on December 14 of this year. What will Salt Arts do until then?

“As we run up to SuperSalt 2019, we also celebrate our new line of shows, titled SALT FLIGHTS: A premium international collaborative platform for musicians in Pakistan and the world.

“Coming up on November 22nd in a classic Salt Arts style a night of disco, house and EDM featuring one of Pakistan’s favourite international acts at Beach Luxury Hotel, opened by young fire-starter who is also a top favourite; this is a surprise and the names will be announced on the weekend, but its heartwarming to have the audience’s trust, this show is almost sold and we hope people get their spots in time.

“And it’s not over because as a build up to SuperSalt 2019, we present on 7th December to the public, Monality, an electronic duo formed by Allen Hulsey and Erdem Tunal . They combine Deep Tech and Ethnic Electronic Music with tonal and stylistic signature sounds. Their stage performance uses live vocals, electric guitar, synths, and instruments including (Fretless Guitar, Baglama, Kanun, and Bowed Guitar). The latest EP East Wind was released by Bercana Music in February. Allen will be joined by Karachi’s favourite and our resident DJ Hussain Dossa.”

Can you say bazinga? Now that’s how you close a season of music. Important dates to remember are November 22, December 7 and 12, 2019. Watch this space for more as this story develops.