Poster boy for multiculturalism, Ali Sethi has returned to Lahore after spending several months in the USA
Poster boy for multiculturalism, Ali Sethi has returned to Lahore after spending several months in the USA. Irrespective of where he is, Sethi has become one of the most exciting original artists, moving from singing to singer-songwriter and composer.
During his stint in the USA, Sethi had online sessions with the likes of Rekha Bhardwaj (among others) as well as curated online gigs. He also released tracks such as ‘Pehla Qadam’ (a collaboration between Sethi and Sunayana K, Danish R, Sunny J, Rush V and Abubakar K), ‘Mere Aur Hein Iraday’ and ‘Chandni Raat (Winter Wonderland)’ ft. Ahmer Kenneth.
But in the first quarter of 2021, Sethi’s most elaborate release is possibly his newest track called ‘Rung’.
Collaborating with director Umar Riaz again, ‘Rung‘ features Ali Sethi as co-lyricist alongside Shakeel Sohail. Ali has also composed the single and produced the song alongside Anthony Soshil Shah and Noah Georgeson while the song is shot in Lahore and New York by Umar Riaz and Diane Desobeau.
The credits alone show just how Ali has evolved from a fierce singer to playing multiple roles in a song’s creation. However, moving past credits, the music video captures a narrative that is brave enough to be endorsed on just one view, which is not usually the case with many a music videos. How it represents both cities is one narrative but it isn’t the only one. As for the single, this is artistic growth hitting a pinnacle. Sethi’s vocals are on top of the instruments so he’s never overpowered as he plays the harmonium at one point. Ali Sethi has never shied away from doing what others would find troublesome. ‘Rung’ is yet another proof that whether it’s the sonic landscape or visual one, he is ahead of the curve.
Ali Suhail drops the collaborative single, ‘Firetruck’
The shining star of the counterculture movement in music, Ali Suhail needs no introduction. For the uninformed, he is a member of Sikandar Ka Mandar (SKM) and Takatak. He also did a one-off collaboration ft. Shehzad Noor (Shorbanoor), Ibrahim Akram (of Saakin) as well as the underrated Saif Abbas called ‘Big ol’ Dieties’. A producer who works with other talented artists, he produced Natasha Noorani’s last EP and has worked closely with Natasha Humera Ejaz. In addition, Ali has a solo repertoire that contains several LPs and EPs. They include Journal Entries, Words from Boxes, Desolve, Defragment and Pursuit of Irrelevance.
His newest album is the upcoming White Flag (with artwork by Sana Ahmed) from which the first single ‘Bubbleboi’ was released last year. Now Ali Suhail is back with his second single called ‘Firetruck’ ft. Aaishay Haque. The result is a song only Ali Suhail could have conjured from mere ideas to reality. His sound is unlike Takatak or even SKM which is what makes it so distinctive.
White Flag, slated to release in 2021, is a collaboration with artists such as Abdullah Siddiqui, Ibrahim Imdad, Shehzad Noor, Yusuf Ramay, Saif Abbas Rizwan, Aaishay Haque, Nasir Siddiqui, Adeel Tahir, Nadir Shehzad Khan, Hashim Cheema, Zain Peerzada and Varqa Faraid.
‘Bubbleboi’ and ‘Firetruck’ give us a glimpse into what the album will be like and so far it shows Ali’s growth as a solo musician. Adding Aaishay Haque has given the new single a fresh flavor. Listen to the song, you won’t be disappointed.
Shamoon Ismail releases new music video
Shamoon Ismail is at the height of success. He was roped in by Abdullah Siddiqui for a single off his third record while the Bilal Maqsood-helmed Velo Sound Station also made room for him. Of course, Shamoon Ismail didn’t disappoint and delivered with ‘Confetti’.
Since then, he has also starred in a Samsung commercial followed by a new single backed by a music video. He has fans, not only in India, but within the acting fraternity. Just recently, it was revealed that one of the actors of Indian production Ludo, Rohit Saraf, praised the singer-songwriter.
Shamoon’s ability to create songs using Punjabi, English and Urdu in a non-obtuse fashion as well as the hook of writing about love, heartbreak, betrayal has made him a huge name in music. For the new song ‘Cold World’ Shamoon co-directed and co-produced the music video with Mooroo and also produced the music (with MRKLE mastering the track). The song is what seems to be about a parasitic relationship that includes both emotions: love and hate. The music is minimal with elements of pop and RnB and is not all over the place. The lyrics however are something else. At times the writing does seem a little off almost as if placing blame on the woman (we have enough of that on TV). There is some objectionable lyrics before longing for the beloved takes centerstage.
This is not Shamoon Ismail at his best in terms of lyrical quality. These lyrical absurdities do not play well in a Times’s Up world. Die-hard fans will love it, but other may find ‘Cold World’ somewhat pejorative.