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Pashto pop singer to launch ghazal album

Updated February 02, 2015

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Shahsawar Khan
Shahsawar Khan

PESHAWAR: Young Pashto pop singer Shahsawar Khan is working on his first-ever ghazal album on public demand.

Born on January 6, 1993 in Swabi district’s Jalbai village, he shifted with his parents to Karachi, where he launched his singing career four years ago.

Muzafar Khan, a local film producer, introduced him in a Pashto film, Josh, as a playback singer.


Shahsawar says remixing old ghazals to revive traditional music with a modern touch


The film, which was released in February 22, 2011, turned out to be a big success.

Shahsawar, a pop singer, actor, host and now a ghazal proponent, wants to remix old Pashto ghazals to revive the traditional Pashto music with a modern touch.

He with a good Urdu accent claims to release an Urdu album, too, in the near future.

“Living in Karachi provided me with an opportunity to perfect my Urdu accent. I also know Punjabi. I can sing songs in Urdu, Pashto and Punjabi in front of live audience,” he told Dawn.

The young singer has signed an Urdu film, Rasmien, being produced by Hasan Askri.

He is playing a major role in the film, while his Pashto film, Wale Mohabat Kawal Gunah Daa, will be released in a month. Shahsawar will perform in a musical concert in Germany in June this year as a representative of Pakistan.

He has performed in Dubai, Qatar and Afghanistan.

“I am working on my first-ever Pashto ghazal album on the strong demand of fans and friends. Also I wish to acclaim the status of master Pashto singers like Khial Mohammad and Ustad Shah Wali to revive and preserve traditional Pashto music in a modern form. In fact, I want to make it more acceptable to our today’s youth,” he said.

Popular Pashto singer Rahim Shah became a source of inspiration for this youngster.

Shahsawar went to the Karachi Arts Council to learn the intricacies of music from Ustad Zafar Ali Khan.

His father is a practicing lawyer in Karachi, who gave his son a free hand to prove his mettle in the world of music.

“Rahim Shah is not my blood relation. He is my mentor from whom I have drawn lot of inspiration,” Shahsawar said.

He said he had released 200 popular Pashto songs and played character roles in around six popular Pashto films.

His Pashto film, Love Story, released a year ago was a super hit. He had paired with Sobia Khan in it.

“One ghazal takes two days to record as I want to catch up with original spirit of the master singers. Shaukat Ali Khan, a former PTV producer, is assisting me to complete this project in a befitting manner,” he said.

“I have decided to give a serious thought to Pashto ghazal singing because I believe that ghazal singing perfects a singer at all respects. I can never sing like Khial Mohammad or Ustad Mehdi Hasan but at least I can try to revive great tradition set by these great giants of music. Ghazal singing is a rare art. Pop signing can move one’s heart but the impact of ghazal goes deep down into the people’s hearts,” he said.

Shahsawar has selected oldies of Khial Mohammad, Shah Wali, Rafiq Shinwari, Sardar Ali Takkar and Gulzar Alam.

He would remix old Pashto ghazals under the music director, Master Ali Haider.

“Live ghazal singing is indeed a difficult job. Shahsawar has a base voice quality. He will spellbind his fans. Other young singers should follow him. Learning basics of music is the first requisite for ghazal singing,” Master Ali Haider said.

“I am dead sure that Shahsawar will get to the hearts of young Pashtun listeners. He effortlessly sings ghazals of Rahman Baba, Khushal Khan Khattak, Hamza Baba, Ghani Khan, Ajmal Khattak, Khyber Afridi, Dr Mohammad Azam Azam, Dr Israr, Gran Bacha and Rahmat Shah Sail.”

The young singer has made impact on his fans by his superb acting through his beautiful facial expressions in hit Pashto films, including Za yem Kakai Khan, Tamashbeen, Shart, Gandageer and Zoye Da Badamala.

Shahsawar said he felt comfortable both in acting and singing but ghazal singing was one important aspect of his music career that he wanted to master.

“Traditional Pashto musical instruments Tabla, rabab, flute, tumboora, sitar, mungay with modern musical tools like keyboard, violin, and Spanish guitar will be a unique fusion,” he said.

The youngster’s future plans include completion of education and launch of an academy for young singers.

“The strength of ghazal cannot match pop music. I am quite confident that I will come up to the expectations of my fans,” Shahsawar said.

Published in Dawn, February 2nd, 2015

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