You’d think that the outbreak of a pandemic like Covid-19, still causing deaths around the world including Pakistan, may lead to stagnancy in music. However, with artists like Ahsan Bari and The Sketches – among many others - the future remains musically bright at least. One example is the astounding effort made by The Sketches and Ahsan Bari with a track called ‘Likhyo Lahootin Saan’. Produced by The Sketches, a pioneering band in indie-folk and released as part of Lahooti Melo 2021 - Digital Edition, ‘Likhyo Lahootin Saan’ is surprisingly different. It doesn’t sound rooted in the last album by The Sketches (Saanjhi) and/or Ahsan Bari’s debut solo EP (Guzaarish).
The Sketches and Ahsan Bari, instead, have created a stylist, upbeat, partly acoustic and laden with a radically different musical landscape, with ‘Likhyo Lahootin Saan’.
Apart from watching them play this piece of music, it is also reflective of how the acts are in tune with global sound and cleverly adapt to create a fresh sound that isn’t dismissive of its roots. Coming from Jamshoro, the heart of Lahooti Melo (LM) and home to The Sketches, the result is exactly what LM noted on its YouTube page: “The Sketches and Ahsan Bari effortlessly fuse Sindhi and Urdu poetry in this upbeat track.”
Watching the likes of Nomi Ali, Saif Samejo, Ahsan Bari and the rest of the players, is listening to something special for simple. Inject the vocals and we have something extraordinary on our hands. To not listen to it would be a tragedy for any fan of any genre music.
Zeb Bangash collaborates with EBM
It’s been several years since Zeb Bangash, singer-songwriter turned composer and Haniya Aslam have gone solo. Both have been exploring different sides of music. Zeb Bangash, a disciple of Ustad Naseeruddin Saami, has accomplished heck of a lot more than she is credited for. Known for her association with US-based band Sandaraa, which eventually culminated in an experimental and tasteful album, Zeb has left a lasting mark on television and film OSTs produced in Pakistan as well. She’s won awards and has made solo appearances as featured artist on Coke Studio as well.
Her latest is a collaboration with EBM, via its brand Peek Freans Pik in the form of a song called ‘Banao Har Lamha Khaas’. The idea behind the song is to celebrate every moment spent.
Notes a press release: “The initiative is a continuation of the ‘Banao Har Lamha Khaas’ campaign and aims to highlight the significance of making each and every moment special – no matter how big or small – it holds in a person’s life.”
The demographic for this song in particular is Pakistan’s present young adults “who often forget to celebrate ordinary everyday moments on a daily basis, merely due to their hectic and demanding routines”. In addition to the elating voice of Zeb, the song is accompanied by a film that’s been illustrated by artist Gulbeen Gulraiz and focuses on “various situations where the protagonist goes out of the way to make various ordinary moments special”
Released on all platforms, the song can be viewed on multiple platforms and enjoyed as a singular audio experience or an audio-visual one. It must be remembered that EBM’s Peek Freans managed to do what Pepsi and Coke, major players in music couldn’t do: bring back the original Junoon line-up including the rebellious Ali Azmat. Given that, it looks like the brand’s interest in music is a bit more serious than a one-off effort and this song is plenty proof. That said, there’s nothing wrong with the song and those who appreciate Zeb’s voice must give it a go.
Spotify shortlists candidates for
Fresh Finds initiative
Spotify, the global music app having opened its doors officially to Pakistan’s diverse music community several months ago, has been trying different things to capture a major stake in the market. This, at a time when local record labels such as Lahooti Records 2021, A for Aleph Records and Rearts Records are emerging, as well as the news that a major music player (anonymous source) is also entering the market with a record label.
It looks like Spotify is being persistent, for now anyway.
Spotify has announced candidates for their Fresh Finds initiative. Aimed at independent artists, a press release about the imitative noted: “Centered around the Fresh Finds Pakistan playlist, the program’s focus is on helping developing artists learn, collaborate, and grow, giving them the tools for long-term, sustained career success.”
It further stated, “Since its global launch in 2016, Fresh Finds has playlisted over 25,000 artists, with their average monthly listeners increasing by 108% in the 28-days following the add, compared to the previous 28-days. For artists whose first Spotify editorial playlist is Fresh Finds, over 44% go on to be added to another editorial playlist on Spotify.”
Names such as Farheen Raza Jaffry, Gemini Djs, and Lil Mucid have made the cut and will be afforded “’Education & Access to Resources’ where each artist will have access to an array of tools and opportunities to accelerate their careers, including personalized Masterclasses and mentorship, Spotify for Artists resources, and more.”
Another part of the program will include Marketing Support. “Artists that will be part of Fresh Finds Pakistan will be supported across different verticals. From first-hand editorial and platform support, such as the many curated playlists on Spotify, in addition to bespoke social promotion that allows fans around the world to discover their music. Fresh Find Pakistan will be added to the global hub which features up to 15 new regional Fresh Finds playlists from all over the world including Brazil, Spain, Australia/ NZ, UK/IE, Philippines, Indonesia, Singapore/ Malaysia, Vietnam, India, Italy, Germany/Switzerland/Austria, South Korea, and Turkey, to further Spotify’s mission of helping developing artists find a global fanbase.”
The more, the merrier.