While the rest of the country paid tribute to the late Mehdi Hassan Khan, Peshawar indulged in some merry making. The students of Khyber Medical College (KMC) gathered at the Town Wedding Hall on Wednesday to celebrate “KMC Summer Night”, an event that is held every year to celebrate the end of an academic semester.
Like last year, some of the most sought-after underground bands and live performers from Peshawar and Islamabad gathered at the hall to enjoy a rare moment of celebration. “We are glad bands are finally gathering at one venue after such a long time,” one of the musicians said. “Finally something of this scale is happening in Peshawar,” chirped Jamshed Khan, a musician.
With high spirits, the musicians made their way into the venue, which was decorated more like a wedding hall instead of a concert ground. While the affair was simple in comparison to concerts held in bigger centres like Karachi and Lahore, it managed to draw in a good crowd. Astonishingly, the hosts spoke in English for the most part, with a sprinkle of Pashto jokes here and there.
From Bilal Khan to ‘Chammak Challo’
Qureshi is a young musician who is well known amongst the people of Peshawar and Islamabad for his acoustic covers. In a place like Peshawar, where underground music hasn’t really come out of its raw phase, Qureshi turned out to be a crowd puller. Although he is still in his early twenties, the musician proved his versatility by singing covers of songs ranging from Bilal Khan’s “Bachana” to Akon’s “Chammak Challo”. What really earned him the title of the party starter was his rendition of Naseebo Lal’s “Kala Jora”, which he performed on public demand. The male attendees of the audience burst into fits of laughter after Qureshi craftily improvised one of the verses of the song and sang “Missed Kalaan mari ja saadi farmaish tae”.
Asad and Jamshed
The twins belong to the pool of budding musicians involved with Peshawar’s underground music scene. Though, they too, like Qureshi, are extremely young, they are known as one of the most skilled acts of Peshawar. But much to one’s dismay, their performance at the event failed to impress the audience.
The duo started with an experimental rap song that lasted for a minute and a half and didn’t please the crowd as such. The best of their act was a cover of “Anjane” by Strings where one could really notice their prowess. Despite their lukewarm performance, the crowd requested the popular duo to play more but the organisers did not allow it.
Mohmand stole the night
When you think of a musical evening, you prepare for a concert with live music. But the dynamics at this Peshawar event were quite different. Apparently, all one needs is a popular female singer who is caked with make-up, to come on stage and lip-sync one of her songs. Mussarat Mohmand proved to be the singer who made the male attendees dance hysterically. Despite the fact that her song stopped a number of times mid-performance, the young men loved her. The handful of women present at the venue looked about with clueless expressions, unable to understand why the men had gone wild.
Mohmand rendered live rap acts by well known bands such as Fortitude insignificant. Their unpredictable response to her performance proves that it will take Peshawari audiences time and exposure to understand and differentiate the good music from the bad.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 16th, 2012.
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