The albums are slated for a late 2010 release but chances are that it could take till 2011 for his work to come out. One of the albums titled Koi Umeed will have four qawwalis, one of which - the title track - is a whopping 30 minutes long! It will contain poetry and bandish from Mirza Ghalib's selected works. The selection of poetry and composition has been done by Mian Yousuf Salahuddin and those close to Rahat expect that this album will land him a place with the great maestros.
Rohail Hyatt hopes to launch his solo album
Describing him as “the person who reinvented how local artistes perform/collaborate on music as we know it in the Country” is an accurate but not an entirely apt description of Rohail Hyatt. Suffice to say he's the person who first gave us Vital Signs and then Coke Studio or CS (among other things) - two of the most definitive hallmarks in the Pakistani pop music industry.
When approached by Images on Sunday, he said quite simply that in 2010, “You can expect another season of CS... perhaps”. When pressed for details on what he could possibly do next, he said, “for one I'm not going to worry about expectations. The earlier seasons were not tailor-made to expectations so why should the upcoming one be? People in general seem to keep reminding me how much expectation there is out there and I try to keep shaking it off myself and try to follow what comes naturally to me.”
Rohail also mentioned that he hopes to find new ways to work for the music industry. One wondered whether that had anything to do with (rumours of) his plans of starting a record label? “Could be,” he responded, remaining noncommittal, “but I think there is another idea brewing inside of me. I'm not quite sure exactly what it is yet but I have a feeling that music as an art form, and as an experience, needs a major overhaul. People need to feel the power of music in a carefully orchestrated theatrical experience that can inspire and move them. It's sad that we represent a culture where music has been enjoyed 'live' for thousands of years but is probably at its worst in our times.”
His third (and perhaps most exciting) intent of 2010 is to (hopefully) work on a solo album - something he says he's 'dying to do!' What would the album be like? What is he planning to incorporate in that? What's going to be his 'solo' sound? “That's like asking if the fruit on the tree will be sweet or bitter at the time of sowing the seed!” he laughed, adding that, “I have just put down my intent to finally make an album. I really want to make one now. It's been too long. With my intent firmly in place, things should fall in place themselves provided one is patient and lets nature run its course.”
Shahzad 'Shahi' Hasan also plans to release his solo album
Producer/Vital Sign's band member, Shahzad 'Shahi' Hasan is looking forward to release a labour of love he's been working on with Faisal Rafi and comrade, Noor Lodhi. The Essential Raag is a painstaking compilation of the works of some of the greatest classical musicians in Pakistan and is an attempt by the threesome to record and archive the classical music heritage of Pakistan. Work has already begun on a second project, The Essential Folk, which not surprisingly, is focused on preserving the folk music of Pakistan.
Shahi hopes to release a solo album this year. “I have tons of compositions which I have been working on over time,” he said, “I've selected 20 out of them to further refine and shortlist to 10 or 12. I haven't decided about who my participating artistes are going to be. I might include some foreign session musicians. I will be singing myself and plan to include other singers as well.” He said that although it was still too early to take names of the people he plans to collaborate with, he has included two patriotic/motivational songs in the album. Work is still underway though and he hopes the album will be completed this year.
Ali Zafar has big, albeit, “mysterious” plans
The Pakistani Pop Prince was also approached as to what his plans for the year 2010 are but Ali Zafar remained tight-lipped saying that he was up to something big, but unfortunately he simply could not spill the beans on what that was at the moment. People will have to be patient but he intends to reveal all pretty soon. All we know is, is that it has something to do with the word “cinema”. Go figure.
Noori plans to complete the trilogy by releasing their third album
Their appearance on Coke Studio season two (henceforth referred to as CS-S2) in which they collaborated with Saieen Zahoor on Aik Alif and performed a single (Kedaar) from their upcoming album is perhaps one of the biggest highs of music in 2009. Noori now plans to come out with their third album, the working-title of which is Begum Gulbakaoli Sarfaraosh, completing the trilogy of albums that their previous releases titled Suno Kay Mein Hoon Jawan and Peeli Patti Aur Raja Jani Ki Gol Dunya respectively were supposed to have been a part of. Where the band is sure about the album's release this year and are working on the accompanying videos for it, they can't comment on exactly when the album will be released. “I really can't say anything right now what with the conditions being the way right now but we're working towards releasing everything at the same time in a certain flow,” said Ali Hamza.
Zeb and Haniya begin work on their second album
The duo also had a memorable performance at CS-S2 with their Pushto track Paimona in which they collaborated with Sadiq Sameer on rubab. “We're writing a bunch of songs, we're working on the soundtrack for a television play and we're hopefully going to be writing music for a Pakistani film,” revealed Haniya when approached by Images on Sunday about Zeb and Haniya's plans for 2010. She added that, “a big project is that we're going to start recording the album. We're in touch with musicians all over the world, so we're hoping to bring them all together in this somehow.”
Resurrected band, Entity Paradigm, plans to create some 'noise'
For 2010, EP plans to release their first single since the band got back together in 2009. “We've actually recorded and completed our first single, Shor Machana, and we're hoping to shoot the video in January,” lead vocalist Fawad Khan told Images on Sunday, “the name says it all it's about raising your voice, waking up and bringing about a positive change. It's been a difficult time this year, not just for us - we just got back. Other than that there hasn't been much activity going on.” Where plans concerning their album is concerned, Fawad mentions that they've “penned several singles and we might start to record them next month. We don't know how we're going to release it right now, but we're optimistic about it... we have to be, this is our profession.”
From Pichal Pairee to a whole, new live album, Overload's on a roll
“It's been a good year for the band because we've actually made it out to be that way,” says front man for Overload, Farhad Humayun. In an unprecedented move, the band released their second album, Pichal Pairee, featuring Meesha Shafi on vocals, on their website for free download in October 2009.
Farhad unfolded Overload's plans for the coming year by revealing that the band is going to do a live album this year. “We perform a lot and nobody has done this before,” he said, “we're either going to collect audio from different concerts that we've played over the world or collect all of it from one performance.” As for coming out with a video for the live album he mentions that the band has considered it, but they're not sure about that as yet.
“We're planning to release a number of singles and videos through our website because albums don't sell as much in terms of physical sales anymore. We're not signed with any record label so we don't see why we should have a compilation of 10 or so songs before we release them,” added Farhad, “we're going to release songs as we do them.”
More than just Overload, Farhad has big plans for working on his own solo album as well. What's more, he's going to be singing in it as well. “It's a brand new sound and something nobody else has done in Pakistan before,” he mentioned, adding that the album will have a lot of musicians - around 13 to 14 - playing all at the same time. “The line-up and the people in the band are not regular, contemporary guitar players,” Farhad elaborated, “it's going to be a loud album but it's a sound no one has done yet.”
Laal moves beyond Umeed-e-Sehr
Coming out of almost nowhere and massively promoted by a local television network, 2009 also saw the introduction of the pop socialist band, Laal. Their music caught on to the public's fancy like wildfire especially at the peak of the Lawyer's Movement, but couldn't be heard towards the end of the year - every band has a moment, and their moment was gone. Fans of the band need not worry, Laal does plan to come out with an album in 2010 which is touted, by those working on it, to be a much better work of music than Umeed-e-Sehr. “They're sticking to their philosophy of singing protest poetry,” an insider to the band informed us.
After a two-year wait, Kaavish and Mauj's albums are finally slated for a release
Their record label plans to release the albums in January 2010. Both of these albums have suffered a series of delays to a point where one wonders whether the material is at risk for becoming a little dated.
Speaking to Omran Shafique of Mauj about how he felt about the release, he mentioned that “Obviously I'm happy that it's coming out. I don't think the excitement level is quite there because most people who wanted to hear it have probably heard it, but it'll allow me to move on and get started on some other material I've been working on. It's out of the system now.” Where new material was concerned he said that “I've got about four or five rough songs floating in my head, not structured yet, but I've got ideas.”
Talking about his other project, Koastal, that Omran has with Taha Malik, he said that, “We're working towards an album but we're taking it slow. We have around six to seven songs. I think probably we're going to work on the next video. As Koastal we're focused on collaborating with people and working as a production team.” Omran's also spending a lot of time in the studio with local drumming sensation, Gumby and added that something might just come out of that as well, “Since we're working at the studio, we have lots of ideas and seeing how we're going, that might be yet another side project of mine!” he laughed.
Co-VEN goes from Ready to Die to ready to release
After releasing Ready to Die as a single earlier this year, they're ready with their fourth album, Volume Three, but haven't finalized how they intend to release it.
Speaking to Images on Sunday, Hamza Jafri from Co-VEN said, “The album will be available online. We haven't really made a plan to sign with a record label.” Talking about the Volume Three, he said that this album was different in the sense that all the band members worked on the content together. His reason for saying that stems out of the fact that Volume One and Two was written by Hamza when he was abroad and was reflective of his own perceptions, thoughts and creativity. But in Volume Three, he says, the album is “not heavy on any one person and in the songwriting... you'll hear a little bit of everyone.”
Call, the band, to launch Dhoom in February
Their border-hopping sprees have been landing this previously rock-only band many gigs. Band member Xulfiqar Jabbar Khan, aka Xulfi revealed that they have signed on to do yet another soundtrack for a Bollywood film in 2010 but couldn't reveal details of which one right now. The band is also coming out with their second album, Dhoom, in February and is currently in the process of shooting videos for it. The first video slated for release is for a song called Mein Aisa Kyon Hoon.
Other than what is mentioned above, there is a lot more slated to happen in the local music industry this year. The year 2010, if nothing else, will see a plethora of album launches. The sheer vengeance with which the artistes in the industry are responding to the current economic downturn and sociopolitical chaos that has done nothing but inhibit and restrict the growth of the industry reminds one of the statement that “in times of turmoil, artistes are known to create some of their most finest work”. Stay tuned for more, the year 2010 in music has just begun.
Photos of Rohail Hyatt, Noori and Zeb & Haniya are by Rizwan-ul-Haq & Kohi Marri