It takes a special kind of music that truly transcends cultural and language barriers rendering it as having a kind of universal appeal. Hailing from the northern frontier province, Yasir and Jawad (and Wali) emerged into the music industry in 2011 with their song Reidi Gul based on a poem by one of the biggest literary figures on Pashto literature, Khan Abdul Ghani Khan. Whether it was the mesmerising effect of the rabab or Wali's soulful rendition of the lyrics, Reidi Gul ended up becoming the defining song of 2011.
Their second offering, Niqab (based on another poem by Ghani Khan), released online towards the end of last year, gained in popularity into the new year showed a dark, almost broody side to the band as they set out to challenge risqué and sensitive issues of religious hypocrisy, the perception of women, depression and suicide. In a beautifully-directed video by Mian Abdur Rehman, the band can be seen veiled against stunning outdoor locations that add a dark kind of beauty to the video.
Keeping in line with paying tribute to Pashto literary giants, Ismail and Junaid, another band from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, released their third music video this year. Based on the poetry of Hamza Baba, Pakhwa, also directed by Shoaib Anwar (who directed both of the duo’s previous videos) was a far cry from both the bands’ and the director’s previous work with them. With crisp imagery and beautiful cinematography showing both the natural and architectural heritage landscape of the province, Pakhwa, had a richer sound while keeping in line with the band’s folk-inspired roots.
The band formed its roots in Jamshoro, Sindh, its members are passionate about promoting their culture, The Sketches released a heart-warming number titled Mein Sufi Hoon. Visually, the song pays tribute to the stunning landscape of the province of Sindh. It featured the talented dancer/actor, Suhaee Ali Abro, whose skill in dance added movement and brought to life an otherwise beautiful but static landscape. A light-hearted song that seemed to celebrate life itself, Mein Sufi Hoon, was in the truest sense of the phrase, food for the soul.
She might be relatively new in the music industry but in a very short span of time has carved for herself a strong niche in both the Pakistani music industry and in the hearts and minds of those that follow it. Blessed with the voice of an angel, Zoe Viccaji, has come a long way from her first online release Thinking About You (2009).
Alvida is the first release from a collaborative body of work by Zoe and Zohaib. Both the song and video appear almost ethereal. Zoe’s vocals flow soothingly over the soft music that Zohaib contributes to the song. Alvida is a heavily-stylised video (styling by Eric at N-Pro and wardrobe by Adnan Pardesy and Feeha Jamshed) and follows Zoe and Zohaib through hazy visions of a seemingly abandoned old home and the ocean. The beautiful cinematography in the video is a signature trait of its director, Soheb Akhtar.
After releasing Jigger Naut and Mojambo to popular acclaim, My Punjabi love for you by Bambu Sauce is another testament to the band’s love for everything Punjabi and everything rock. Directed by Adnan Malik, the video stars Aaaminah Sheikh (wardrobe by Adnan Pardesy) who is caught between reality and fantasy, domestic abuse and kidnapping, the zalim samajh who refuses to help and her coping mechanism in which she envisions herself as a superhero character who saves the day and, most importantly, herself. Extremely well-shot, the video elicits a smile from the viewer. The song is no Mojambo but intriguing enough to make this scribe want to start learning Punjabi!