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Soundcheck: Another nightingale?

March 31, 2012

Sara Haider — File Photo

With only a couple of more episodes to go, Ufone Uth Records is nearing the end of its second season. The fifth episode this season began with the music producer Louis ‘Gumby’ Pinto introducing the main trio of artistes: Sara Haider (vocals), Ali Haider (rhythm guitars) and Imam Hamdani (lead guitars).

They hail from Karachi and both Sara and Ali* are also a part of a ‘performing arts group’ called Nritaal. From the moment they enter the studio and meet Gumby and Sameer Ahmed (one of Pakistan’s well-known bass players) who will be collaborating with them on their song, they remain star struck.

Other than Sameer, Gumby had also asked Hildegunn Øiseth, from the Norwegian band Fryd, to play the trumpet on their song. They are shown communicating via Skype in which Sara gives her a live demo of her song. Hildegunn and Gumby have collaborated on numerous occasions in the past several years in performances both in Pakistan and in Oslo, Norway.

We’re told that the original version of the song (Tera Saath) had a considerably fast tempo, which Gumby changed as he felt that a slower tempo would suit Tera Saath better. Imam Hamdani shows off his virtuosity on the guitar during the recording sessions and the resident audio engineer, Mohammad Agha, tries to show Sara how to add a little more finesse to her singing.

Tera Saath has everything going for it: a great melody and music that adds layers and a richness needed to create the perfect environment for a singer to carry the song forward with—unfortunately that doesn’t actually happen.

Sara hums through the whole song—it may work here and there but not when done consistently throughout the song. The song is constantly struggling to break through but never does. Is Sara a terrible singer? No. Does she need to work on her vocals? Yes. Could the song have benefited had another vocalist been used? Definitely. For all the hype that was created prior to its video, Tera Saath was a let down. It was the disappointing anti-climax to an episode that could have otherwise been great.

*The article previously stated that Sara Haider and Ali Haider are siblings, however they are not related.