Pakistan’s music scene has come far with more and more girls and women becoming a part of the scene
Pakistan’s music scene has come far with more and more girls and women becoming a part of the scene. One obvious name is of Nazia Zuberi Hassan. Several years ago, Nazia blew up on the scene with Rushk’s ‘Behti Naar’ and the album that followed called Sawal. Away from the limelight for many years, she has returned and is just as enchanting a vocalist as she was many moons ago. Now in the pursuit of a solo career – apart from Rushk contributions – she has released a number of beautiful tracks in recent years.
Having dropped songs such as ‘Naina’ and the social message-themed ‘Jeenay Do’ – a call against all forms of child abuse – she has dropped a new single in the company of Ali Tim (Milestones) and Rizwan Akhter. The song that can be found on YouTube, with its music video under the title of Nazar Music, is filling the space that can and should be occupied by other genders besides men.
The song titled ‘Piya Rungrez’ is co-written by Nazia and Azanat and is perhaps the best track Nazia has dropped since her earlier days with Rushk. The sound is a blend of eastern and western in terms of idea and arrangement. Ali Tim’s experience as a musician with another female-singer led unit – The Milestones – makes him the perfect vehicle to deliver such a minimal, pure and almost intimate song. Nazia Zuberi Hassan is among the female singers who fans should watch out for. She adds great colour to the flourishing age of female singers in modern day music.
Poor Rich Boy clears the air about
bilingual songs and final album
For the longest time, almost a decade, Poor Rich Boy (PRB) - a revered independent indie-folk-art band from Lahore - has continued to find new fans. The line-up may have changed over the years, lending the group a certain flexibility, but the focus on releasing singles and albums is far from over.
Speaking to Instep on Sunday, music producer/guitarist and one of the original members of the band – Zain Ahsan - cleared the air about their various releases. For one thing, Zain Ahsan revealed that contrary to popular belief, the band has always had Urdu songs in its arsenal. Even during their U.S. debut tour in 2014 – backed by Center Stage – the band not only performed English songs but Urdu material too.
Zain confirmed that their latest song, ‘Yakeen’ is not their first but in fact their sixth Urdu release. Their previous releases include ‘Kaghazi’, ‘Samundar Ki Teh Mein’, ‘Tootay Huay Admi’, ‘Jahez Mein Churail’, and ‘Jatay Jatay’. Nearly all of these songs have some form of visuals attached to them, given how music is consumed nowadays.
‘Yakeen’, confirmed Zain, is a part of the band’s first Urdu album that will feature eight songs. He confirmed that the work on the Urdu album had been ongoing alongside previous LPs/EPs Old Money, We are Your Friends and Almost Tuesday.
Said Zain, “We’ve been performing songs in both English and Urdu for over a decade, and honestly, the audience and the response based on language is quite distinct, so we decided we might as well record all the Urdu songs and release them as a separate album for fans of our Urdu material.”
He further shared, “Umer came up with ‘Yaqeen’ about six months ago or so. He sent me a really rough recording he’d made on his phone. I felt the song was really powerful and emotive, even in that really raw form, and started working on an arrangement that would do justice to the words he had written and the subject matter he had written about. In fact, in the studio version, I decided to keep the first verse from that original low quality recording! I like the transition as the song moves into the second verse.”
As for what the song means, the band has left interpretation to the listener’s imagination. “Naturally, I know what the song is specifically about but Umer refuses to let me talk about it,” said Zain, adding, “Let’s just say we all have mountains to climb in our lives. Success and failure are immaterial; trying is all that matters.”
Poor Rich Boy’s current line-up includes Umer Khan (songwriter and vocalist), Zain Ahsan (guitarist/producer) alongside Sameer Ahmed (bass), Daud Ramay (drums) and Umer Ahmed (keys). The group’s fourth English record is tentatively called No Honour Among Thieves, and in all likelihood will serve as the group’s final record. They will continue “to collaborate with other indie bands and artists like Janoobi Khargosh, and Umer Ahmed,” confirmed Zain Ahsan.
Spotify offers three free months to
first time users
If millions of songs are on your fingertips thanks to services like Spotify, Saavn, Patari and a host of others, the idea of downloading music and listening to it on a Walkman or an iPod without Internet connection is becoming old school.
More and more music listeners are streaming music. But for an artist to get paid, the streaming of any of their songs has to be relentless so they come up and get paid in significant amount. To entice listeners in Pakistan – with Pakistani artists available on Spotify – the streaming giant is offering an attractive deal. In a new press statement, Spotify explained the offer: “Spotify Premium is offering three months free to eligible free and first time-users for the Individual Premium plan. Spotify Premium gives subscribers an audio streaming experience with ad-free music listening, and on-demand audio anytime. On Spotify, users get access to more than 70 million tracks right at their fingertips. So whether you`re on a road trip with your family or chilling at a dhabba with friends, Spotify has got you covered. And for even more endless discovery that makes it easier to find music, listeners can check out Fresh Find Pakistan, Discover Weekly, Time Capsule, and more. The offer is available for the Individual Premium plan beginning September 01 through September 28.”
This means listeners still have a chance to use this offer and see what these multiple playlists and programs are like and whether they’re worthy of our time. It also makes us wonder if this will lead to significant royalties for local artists. Check it out and see for yourself.