Abdullah Siddiqui on collaborating with Aima Baig

January 10, 2021

Abdullah Siddiqui has had a high-profile year, again.

Abdullah Siddiqui has had a high-profile year, again.

Apart from his earlier 2020 collaborations with artists such as Meesha Shafi, Shamoon Ismail, Zoe Viccaji and Maanu, Abdullah has now collaborated with vocalist Aima Baig. The latter has also appeared on Velo Sound Station to decent success and has millions of views on many, if not all her songs.

The collaboration, ‘Be Yourself’ between the two diametrically different artists is surprisingly strong even though Aima Baig sings in English.

Along with the single and music video, Abdullah Siddiqui’s sophomore album, Heterotopia that was delayed due to technical issues, arrived with the music video.

Speaking about the collaboration, Abdullah Siddiqui told Instep about what it was like working with Aima Baig.

“It was a really cool experience,” he noted. “She has a generosity about her when it comes to fostering and nurturing new talent. The song has some really dark themes and some very arcane lyrics but it really speaks to her bravery as an artist to take it and give it a mainstream platform, which I’m very, very grateful to her for.”

Aima Baig joins the ranks of prolific artists such as Meesha Shafi, Zoe Viccaji, Shamoon Ismail, Maanu, Faris Shafi who have collaborated with Abdullah Siddiqui after his prolific 2019 collaboration with Fawad Khan on ‘Uth Jaag’ on Pepsi Battle of the Bands; 2019 was also the year when he made an appearance on Nescafe Basement 5 with the original track, ‘Resistance’ that first helped putting Abdullah Siddiqui on the map in significant fashion.

As proven by the releases, Abdullah is not just a fantastic singer-songwriter, he is also a great producer and it reflects on all his songs including the latest one. Watch out!

Ahsan Bari explains the reason for  launching the initiative, Jaiza

Ahsan Bari has got the mojo back. The leader of Sounds of Kolachi has been on an expansion trail, not just musically. Having released his debut EP, Guzaarish earlier last year in collaboration with Salt Arts, Bari is constantly emerging with new ideas such as working on the second album of SOK as well as Fareed Ayaz, Abu Mohammad and Qawwals and Mai Dhai.

Bari has, during this second wave of Covid-19, also launched an initiative called ‘Jaiza’. With at least two episodes out, Jaiza is about analyzing music and much more. In its first episode, Bari explained how songs on Velo Sound Station such as ‘Baby, Baby’ charged with plagiarizing a classic Michael Jackson have not done so. Well-versed in critical and music theory, this is a voice that will provide a much-needed perspective on how music could be analysed.

Speaking to Instep about Jaiza, said Bari, “I feel there is immense need for music education, particularly for people who are associated with the music industry. It includes several musicians who, due to lack of music intelligence, go about writing just about anything on social media.”

He further reiterated, “People who are associated with the profession of music should try and learn more. This includes critics, music composers, especially, music producers. I know it is subjective but for certain music composers and producers, it is imperative to do so. I personally feel before talking about something, the knowledge of it should be absolute.”

“People who are writing on Facebook, writing blogs, tweeting or several print journalists – their musical knowledge and perception – require work.”

He noted that not all music writers are doing a bad job. “Some print journalists write very well; some people are producing great music and some are composing very well. This limited knowledge of music needs to change only for those who are coming on Facebook and criticizing or writing a blog and providing opinion as an expert. The responsibility falls on you to learn and understand music better.”

“The knowledge about the basic elements of music is surface-level, in my opinion.”

Ahsan Bari also spoke about teaching the art of listening to music consumers. “I am an educator and music is not just a chaotic activity or only about moshing. We also see this at concerts where the expectation is to be something that lifts and is an entertainment activity with no other meaning.”

As Ahsan Bari noted, music is about more than that.

“The art of listening needs to be introduced and it is the responsibility of musicians who need to inculcate this because then you can’t complain that people don’t listen. People listen when the effort is made. In popular culture, the trend towards which music is heading always changes and many artists follow those trends and keep up with them. But the art of listening needs to be introduced, especially in Pakistan. When Velo Sound Station and Coke Studio 2020 arrived, people started commenting about copying or lifting. The hate speech by musicians on a variety of music has nothing to offer in terms of positivity, respect or a sense of community. It is also something I want to counter. We should come out as a community of musicians. It means supporting each other’s work. You can say I didn’t like it. But tearing it apart in obnoxious, vulgar fashion is not good. And so, via Jaiza, I want to tell everyone to offer constructive criticism instead of sabotaging. It’s also for music consumers and my effort foremost will be to increase people’s understanding of music as much as I can.”

Why is Ahsan Bari a good candidate to do so? He is still a student of music with 18 years of learning behind him and still considers himself a student of music. 

Abdullah Siddiqui on collaborating with Aima Baig