Social media can be a gift or a curse. It depends on how you use it. If there’s anyone who understands this, it’s the music community. And here’s why:
The entertainment media in Pakistan is obsessed with the term ‘celebrity’ to such a degree that only ‘certain’ musicians find themselves in the spotlight, over and over again.
The other trend is ‘Sufi’ music or inspiration from Sufism. Every other artist either wants to be the next Atif Aslam or they seem to have an epiphany of sorts and get Sufi, which would be fine, except it creeps into their music. And it rarely works unless your name is Arieb Azhar.
The consequence of selective coverage is that absolutely gorgeous songs and brilliant artists go unnoticed by a majority.
Not every individual in Pakistan with access to the Internet will hunt for that elusive artist he caught on the radio.
But, in the end, those who have the talent and the will are still making music.
One such effort is Lussun TV, spearheaded by Nadir Shehzad Khan alongside musicians who are ‘actually’ friends.
It is a music show produced by the musicians for the musicians. During its three-year run, artists as varied as Mole and Mooroo’s Music (Taimoor Salahuddin) have made appearance on the show.
In 2013, Lussun TV returned with its third season and as usual, they managed it beautifully with an eclectic mix of artists.
After a trippy season two, Lussun TV went low-key for season three. It was literally shot in Nadir’s drawing room.
Four artists have appeared on the show so far and all of them have produced original content, unlike the overhyped season two of Nescafe Basement. But that’s a discussion for another time.
What is common to all four acts (Sikandar Ka Mandar, Shaije Hassan, Natasha Humera Ejaz, Lower Sindh Swing Orchestra) is pure friendship. This means that Natasha is a featured artist but you will also find her listed as an audio producer for Shajie’s song. Danial Hyatt plays in Sikandar Ka Mandar but he also plays with Natasha Humera Ejaz. Similarly, Daniel A. Panjawaneey is audio producer for ‘Hum Bhaagay’ and has also played on the song. And it goes on and on.
This ability to back up each other is perhaps why these bands always find a way to make a mark. In fact, some times it just makes you smile the way they all play together and manage to create such beautiful sounds.
Move onto the episodes, this season is addictive.
After the fame of ‘Battakhain’, Shajie Hassan continues with dreamy lyrics and soft melodies. He does it again with ‘Saaray’, a song in which Shajie has imagined an old age home in Swat and a post-apocalyptic scenario. Sounds dark? No, because Shajie has that unquantifiable pull in his songs and you can’t distance yourself from it.
Natasha Humera Ejaz found herself on the first season of Uth Records with the song, ‘The Right Way to Fall.’
On Lussun TV, she makes her debut as an artist with ‘Hum Bhaagay’ and it melts into your mind completely because the musical landscape is not overshadowing her and she sounds fantastic as she sings, "Hum Jaanay Na Jaanay Dil Ki Zabaan." She sings with such joy that you can’t help but sing along. It is crucial to note that the mixture of sexy bass, gorgeous guitars, synth and restrained drums is just right. This is smart production.
Sikandar Ka Mandar (SKM), fronted by Nadir Shehzad Khan, is possibly one of the best acts to have come out of Karachi’s indie scene. Nadir Shehzad sings with so much heart and passion that you get just as involved with a song. His observant lyrics can put most of our mainstream bands to shame. On Lussun, SKM bring their heavy edge into the spotlight with ‘Hilm’ and as always, Nadir Shehzad pens words that say so much about why we continue to struggle within and without. He sings, "Mera Ghar Mera Na Raha/Par Yeh Bhi Tou Jhoot Hai Yaar… Aur Hum Bhi Tou Hogaye Tayaar" and again, "Meri Bhi Tou Sunlo/Meri Bhi Ek Awaaz Hai."
Lower Sindh Swing Orchestra join the season with their song, ‘White Lodge’ – this ambient, moody and intricate tune, the kind you can just listen to on repeat while lying under a cloudless sky.
With two more episodes in the pipeline, Lussun TV is ample proof that despite insipid songs on national television, there’s plenty of music around.
Lussun TV is refreshing because there is no ulterior motive here. No one is trying to cater to Bollywood. No one is trying to ape anyone else. They do it for the love of music. There’s no reason better than that.
- Photos by Lussun Media