...or rather, if the system doesnt work for you, create your own.
At least that`s the message that the mainstream pop and underground musician community in Lahore seem to be sending. As one writer previously mentioned, Lahore is a city that breathes music. As the culture capital, it`s home to most of the musicians community some of whom — for one reason or the other — eventually end up moving to Karachi.
Our pop industry, barely a little more than two decades old, has time and time again borne the brunt of the political instability that seems to at best cast a perpetual shadow over the country; it`s come to a point when breaking news is no news anymore.
Before we delve into what`s been cooking on the Lahore music scene, understand this Although we have a lot of known and undiscovered talent in this field, we don`t have a stable infrastructure to support it. Where music piracy is a part of life, where most record labels shut down after finding it difficult to survive, and no royalties and a definitive lack of venues to perform in... being a full-time musician comes hand-in-hand with a tough and uncertain life. Add to that the fact that when the mulk kay halaat take a downward spiral, it`s the musicians` community out of the entire entertainment industry that is affected the most. The reason is simple When times are gloomy, so are people. No one wants to celebrate, let alone go and attend a concert.
On the other hand, come what may the fashion industry continues to thrive, predominantly because their events happen behind closed doors for a select audience and their clientele forms an extremely small but influential niche out of the entire population.
Keeping all of the above — and more — in mind, the musicians` community in Lahore has come together to form a system called (drum roll, please)... `The System`. If concerts won`t happen for them, the community will host them themselves.
The idea is to have regular fortnightly concerts at a small venue in Lahore with a lineup of both mainstream and underground bands. The launch event which was hosted by Farhad Humayun showcased a performance by Co-VEN, Overload featuring Meesha Shafi and the Saieens. Their bassist, Mahmood Rahman, who was injured in a terrible accident several months back, was back on his feet and it was somewhat heartwarming to see him performing with the band again.
At the venue, boxes explaining the concept of `The System` were handed out at the entrance. The inside of the box was lined with text and graphics illustrating the idea. Also being handed out was the latest Co-VEN single as well as Shahzad Hameed`s album, Songs from the Nowhere Land. Shahzad Hameed is a prominent personality in the Lahore music scene having been a part of it since the early `90s. The album, which was launched sometime last year, showcases some of Shahzad`s own work including his popular single, Fish out of Water. Unsatisfied by the product of his talks with various record labels over a span of several months, the musician had decided that he`d much rather release his music independently.
The fact that his and Co-VEN`s music was made available at the venue brings to light another aspect of `The System` Who wouldn`t want to go to a venue where independent music and projects by musicians are made available? This is significant especially considering the fact not every piece of work by an artiste makes it into the mainstream media.
Although right now the concerts are being done free of cost, with arrangements made by Farhad Humayun, some mentioned that eventually sponsors will be welcomed to support the event as well. The launch of `The System` was supported and attended by the community as some of the prominent figures from Lahore`s musicians` community including Ali Azmat, Mekaal Hasan, Fahad Khan, Rakae Jamil, Shahzad Hameed, Haniya Aslam, animator Shehryar Jabbar and Haroon Shahid (Haroon5) among others were present.