Its ventures like ‘coke studio’ that have resuscitated the struggling local music industry. Where ‘Coke Studio’ is known for collaborations and revival of folk music, ‘Uth records’ is gaining popularity for finding new talent. Mauj frontman/guitarist Omran Shafique and legendary drummer Louis Pinto aka Gumby sat together and listened to demo tracks received from all over Pakistan.
Three musicians from the province of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa gave a melodic gift to the local audience — a Pashto rock number, “Reidi Gul” which translates to “Poppy flower”. The band called ‘Yasir and Jawad’, bears some similarity to Sajid and Zeeshan and Zeb and Haniya, two of the most successful bands that have come up in recent times.
The band comprises of Jawad Iqbal, the guitar player hailing from Mardan, Yasir Rehman the Rabab player from Waziristan and Wali Orakzai the vocalist from Orakzai agency.
Speaking to The Express Tribune Jawad said: “We haven’t been around for long; I met Yasir at Government College Lahore [GC] when we were both pursuing our bachelor’s degree. We started off with some originals in English but never thought that a pashto track would become our ticket to success”.
Classifying themselves as a folk rock band, they want to create a unique rock sound with a local feel and hence Yasir , who earlier used to play guitar and rabab started concentrating on rabab only. It is the exposure to local folk music that gives the band its distinct sound.
“I am more into Neil Young, Pink Floyd and country music whereas Yasir is more of a rock music fan as he listens to Guns n Roses and ACDC, having said that, we try our best to keep the groove of the song as folk as possible “ Jawad told The Express Tribune.
However, the vocalist, Wali who won everyone’s heart by singing the poem of the great Pashtu poet Ghani Khan to perfection never expected something of this magnitude to happen when he became a part of the band two years later. “I wanted to join the army and even cleared the initial test, I came into music out of sheer excitement but never thought that we’d get popular” he said. His primary focus is on the lyrical content — the message that the band projects, music is secondary to him. “ When the ‘Uth records’ video was released in which I performed with my long beard, one of my professors at the GC appreciated my effort and said that people should know that beards are not just about bomb blasts and music is the best way to communicate that “ Wali told The Express Tribune
He further elaborated on his passion for Ghani Khan’s poetry; he believes that the Pashtoon youth has deviated and the lack of education and talibanization in the province has further defamed the ethnic group. “ People have started confusing Pashtoons for talibans; this is not the case and I believe that by singing non conformist poetry that preaches humility and negates radicalism, musicians and especially those from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa can serve a larger purpose “ said Wali.
The Yasir and Jawad band has received a number of offers from record labels. Their album will be produced by Zeeshan Pervaiz.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 9th, 2011.