Musicians’ haven that is Pakistan

* Newly-introduced music platforms, our singers going int’l, music competitions, representations abroad make up for one land swelling with musicians
Musicians’ haven that is Pakistan

Friedrich Nietzsche said, “Without music life would be a mistake.” And it’s almost as if these words were played by a pied piper for many of the youth of Pakistan, each aspiring and wanting to become the next greatest musician of the country. 
Keeping the jazba and junoon of many in mind, programmes such as ‘Pakistan Idol’, ‘Nescafe Basement’, ‘Trew Brew Records Live’, ‘Fanta Rocks’ and Fatburger Livewire have been launched the preceding year to provide a platform for all the undiscovered singing sensations of the country to come forward and avail an opportunity to shine. Other than these, ‘Coke Studio 6’ remained the talk of the town as well, with its distinct approach to music this season, with foreign instrumentalists collaborating with the very desi singers, which sounded odd to some and music to many. Established and revered Pakistani singers such as Ali Zafar, Atif Aslam, Rahat Fateh Ali Khan and Shafqat Amanat Ali have gone all out to lend their vocals and prove their singing prowess to the rest of the world by crossing borders. Their music albums have sky-rocketed in sales and have ultimately become synonymous to Pakistan. Pakistani American singers Fahad Ahmad independently and Haider Hassan and Sajjad Hussain as Kaarma Nation uplift Pakistan’s name by performing sold-out gigs and concerts throughout the year in the US, gaining added recognition and popularity not just for themselves but for their country too. On the other hand, immensely talented young musicians such as Adil Omar are now country representatives on platforms as huge as the Red Bull Music Academy Bass Camp Dubai for example. 
The news that astonished me to the fullest but was music to the ears, both literally and symbolically was when fast-food chain Fatburger announced a platform envisioned as a creative outlet for all potential musicians, no matter how refined or raw their music abilities. It’s a provision to aspiring musicians performance space in its Lahore outlet, accompanying instrumentation and mentorship to promote and exhibit their musical gifts. How creative indeed! All these and a lot more, here’s taking a look at the major music programmes for all the musicians of the country, both established and aspiring ones.


‘Pakistan Idol’: For those of you saying, “Pakistan needs a hero, not an idol,” are clearly mistaken, for music has branched out in the country over the years, none could’ve imagined. Even the uninterested geek friends of yours will have a favourite sing-along track on his/her iPod, or a guitar obsession, but music will still play an integral part. The household phenomenon that ‘American Idol’ had become, made us all wish for one of our. I know I did and I know most of my friends’ circle did, as did my family. The truth is everyone did. And voila, sooner or later, the news of ‘Pakistan Idol’ inception circulated and spread like fire. The programme, which has successfully pulled humongous viewership has a tremendous line-up of judges consisting of former Junooni and now an international singing sensation Ali Azmat, the beautiful crooner and the very enterprising Hadiqa Kiyani and the mistress of all trades Bushra Ansari. The fight and might to be the first ‘Pakistan Idol’ is almost tangible. 


‘Nescafe Basement’: Believe the hype! It’s phenomenal. I remember attending a session of Season II and also remember being blown away by the music they were making. Hats off to Zulfiqar Jabbar Khan as the programme’s producer and mentor. And yes, the venture has caused quite a stir and did we mention tough competition?


‘Coke Studio 6’: The most popular of all music fusion of desi with Sufi that triggered the interest of Indian musicians as well, fell flat for many this season. However, when I personally got down to listening the tracks, “Miyan Ki Malhaar” sung by Fariha Pervez, Ayesha Omar, Rustam Fateh Ali Khan and Zara Madani took my breath away. The music was definitely the highlight of the beautifully sung track. All these and a lot more, I’m glad ‘Coke Studio’ came out of its Sufi comfort zone and experimented with an amazing fusion of various instruments with Pakistani musicians.
“I’m really glad so much is happening around the country as far as music is concerned. But having said that, I’d like to see more of Pakistani aspiring artists to come out and practise their talent. To represent my country on a platform as prestigious and exciting as the Red Bull Bass Camp in Dubai is an honour and I look forward to honing my musician skills further and preach my talent to the interested ones,” rapper/musician Adil Omar had said while talking to Daily Times, days before the Bass Camp was supposed to begin. Pakistan zindabad!

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