Dawn News

In focus: A spirited reawakening

Komal Rizvi on Sufi music, Indian projects and much, much more

Q: What’s the concept behind your recently released Jhoolay Laal video?

KR: It’s a simple video done by the very talented Umer Adil. I  chose to style myself traditionally and the dance choreography was a bit like Sufi trance. This is because the song is a fusion of jazz, qawwali and rock. The lyrics go something like this: “I’ve come to your doorstep now, O’ Shahbaz Qalandar, after much pain and transgressions, I’ve come to you, you who are much more divine than I, and I won’t leave until you send my message across to Lord Almighty.

I believe a complicated or westernised video would not have supported the message that I’m trying to send across.

Q: Why Sufism?

KR: I am very spiritual. As I get older and experience all that life throws my way, I’m gradually realising that I have always been this way. My connection with God is very special to me. This doesn’t mean all my work will be Sufi from now on. I connect with this genre on a pure level, and fans will probably be hearing more and more such stuff from me.

Q: What about commercial success?

KR: After my Coke Studio success, it’s very natural for people to think I’m revisiting a tried and tested formula. I love what Pakistani music critics condescendingly refer to as “commercial music.” I did not stray from commercial music and divulge into Sufi because of what people think or want from me. I genuinely believe that folk and Sufi suit my nature and my voice.

Audiences are very smart now. They can make out when emotions in a song are original or not.

Q: What’s your basic music genre?

KR: I have none. But people in India have started calling me “the next generation of Sufi.” I think it’s because it comes to me very easily. Personally, I would like to be known as a versatile vocal artist who can do justice to various genres.

Q: How do you see the present situation for music?

KR: The system is pretty disorganised at the moment. But I think it can be fixed. We in Pakistan have so much musical talent that as long as the print and digital media support us, we will find a way to make this a more defined and systematic industry.

Q: How well is your music being received in India? What’s the basic difference in music of both countries?

KR: Indians relate to Bollywood music more whereas in Pakistan people are more into Sufi, rock and bhangra.

Although both countries are big on music, I believe the innate and inherent “respect” factor for artists is much higher even for minor artists there, which makes the environment very positive and conducive.

Q: Future plans?

KR: I have some playback Bollywood songs in the pipeline and a tour of Rajasthan (India) towards the end of January.

Email news tips and feedback to News Desk, submit blogs to Blog Desk and share photos and Videos with Special Projects Desk.

Comments (0) Closed