Ahsan Bari, best known for Karachi-based music group, Sounds of Kolachi (SOK), has expanded his musical repertoire three folds. Among his accomplishments are collaborative projects such as Dhaka Say Karachi and his solo EP Guzaarish. Even as work in the solo sphere will continue, Ahsan Bari told Instep exclusively that writing for SOK stopped had stopped as coronavirus emerged. But since late last year, performances started taking place. “In addition to performances, we are writing our second album that we hope to release later this year, in between March or April, 2022,” he said, in tentative fashion.
The record will be, Ahsan noted, will be different than its predecessor. “It will include multiple collaborations and it is by design distinct from our first album.”
Ahsan Bari also spoke about Push Arts, which he describes as a “Push Arts is a record label, artist management and curation [company]. It includes content creation of a very different kind.”
“The motif is that artists are often bound in a shell; the idea is to push them to come out of it. Another major factor will be bringing out the essence and soul of collaborations, providing artists of different mediums to collaborate and through it create a new kind of collaboration. We want Pakistani artists to collaborate with global artists as well and to represent our musical and cultural identity and on a global scale in a richer context.”
Hadiqa Kiani on her latest music endeavor, Vasl
Hadiqa Kiani has, inadvertently so, surprised even the staunchest of critics with her recent body of work. First, she did it through Wajd and then followed it up with effortless acting in multiple plays.
Music, however, is Hadiqa’s integral identity. To that end, Hadiqa Kiani is dropping another record called Vasl. It is a collection of songs that Hadiqa has reproduced, picking original compositions from the start of her career. Her first single from the album, ‘Humsafar’ has been released, accompanied by a complementary music video. Longtime collaborator Abdullah Harris has shot ‘Humsafar’ that was shot against the beautiful landscape of Murree. One other prolific collaboration is with Yousuf Bashir Qureshi who designed the singer, songwriter, composer and producer’s wardrobe.
The audio and visual landscape points to contemporary pop that is a by-product of “organic eastern structure” of the album. Speaking to Instep exclusively on why she is releasing reworked originals, Hadiqa Kiani explained, “Vasl is a record that is a collection of soft, power ballads. It contains mostly love songs that have been composed by myself and written by my mother, Khawar Kiani except for one song that is written and composed by me. It also features one Aamir Zaki song because we had a beautiful professional relationship and he was a good friend as well.”
“Vasl takes me back to my roots and this is where I want to be,” confessed Hadiqa. “I do have new compositions and music but before starting that process, I felt I wanted to go back and restart. These are ballads from my first album and they were never highlighted like the songs and records that came after. Songs that had music videos got attention but were we couldn’t make the others, those songs were not noticed. It was an era where you released a full length album that contained 12-14 songs and you released anywhere between 2 to 4 music videos at best. Because these songs are close to my heart, I wanted to get them out of my system. The demographic for this record would be people between the ages of 30 to 40 and 50. But, in the end Vasl is for me and for other like-minded listeners who listen to such music. It is not to dance on or something for weddings.”
However, Hadiqa is clear it isn’t about the past. She’s also working with new producers to create different songs including dance numbers or wedding songs and more. But, Vasl is personal and as Hadiqa notes, not a commercial album. For Hadiqa, this one’s straight from the heart.
Anas Alam on the upcoming Aleph ALive gig
A phenomenal bass guitar player is not the only character music industry insiders know about Anas Alam. He is also the co-founder of Aleph Records with Umair Dar and well-versed in the technical details that go into rights of an artist.
As the New Year has begun, the music season is standing up in efforts that are not only mainstream but also independent. A for Aleph, the prominent recording studio and artist residency based out of Karachi, is the flag-bearer for such efforts, launching Aleph ALive with an upcoming gig that features Malang Party, Takatak, Junaid Khan and Karakoram. This is an important gig since three of the four acts do not reside in Karachi. A taste of multiple artists from multiple cities will converge for Aleph Alive. Bazinga!
In its mission statement, Aleph ALive explained that it is “concert series curated and produced by A for Aleph Records, featuring the best of Pakistan’s new bands and artists from our label roster and beyond”.
Explaining the ethos further, a press statement said, “Aleph ALive is how we intend to bring these amazing artists to audiences across Pakistan; A live concert series featuring the best of Pakistan’s new wave of bands and artists from our label roster and beyond. With ALEPH ALIVE, our goal is to create the best audiovisual experience in Pakistan.”
Speaking to Instep exclusively, Anas Alam from A for Aleph Records reiterated, “The first concert in the series will showcase performances by actor/singer Junaid Khan, Islamabad’s Malang Party, Coke Studio ‘22 entry Karakoram & internationally acclaimed metal band Takatak. Our vision is to create an experience that attracts different people from the country to attend, have a great time, and be inspired.
Aleph aims to develop a concert culture that is safe and inclusive for everyone; we will not tolerate any form of sexual harassment or any discriminatory acts.”
Tickets for the show can be found on ticketwala and the event will be Covid-19 Compliant. These are some of the best bands in the country so head to the Arts Council for some electrifying music.