It's time for Junoon to make a comeback

The kids on the Pakistani music scene are good, but no one can fill the void that Junoon has left behind.

Saher Baloch April 05, 2011
There I was one lonely night back in 1999, watching the Zee Cine Awards by myself. Among the Indian celebrities there were a few familiar faces. That night Junoon performed Sayeein to a packed concert hall and I remember dancing in an empty living room with sheer rock and roll joy.

Since then, the band has broken up and splintered in to Sufi analyst, confused solo musician and missing-in-action gora.

They went from being a small time English language band to the biggest musical phenomenon in the country. Lead singer Ali Azmat has said:
“In our first live concert. There were just seven people. Out of them five were our family members and two girlfriends.”

Enough is enough

It is time for Junoon to reunite. The band defied traditions with their politically motivated songs; they mixed guitar riffs so well with traditional music and Sufi poetry that listeners were overwhelmed.

During the 1992 World Cup, the band came up with inspiring songs like Hai Jazba Junoon which is now considered a sports anthem. For the political turmoil during the late 1990s, the band came up with Zamane Ke Andaaz Badlay Gaye.

Not only are they the best in the music business, they are the only band to have gained international recognition. Even when they were banned in Pakistan during Nawaz Sharif’s government in the late 90s, they did shows and concerts abroad.

What are they thinking?

Musically, both Ali Azmat and Ahmed continue to misstep since they have disbanded. The junooni passion that their earlier albums Talash, Inquilaab, Azaadi and the famous Parvaaz conveyed is missingt from their latest works.

Rock and Roll Jihad writer Salman Ahmed's most recent claim to fame has been his role as a goodwill ambassador to the United Nations. Let's face it - the only reason he was selected because he was a part of Junoon.

The band that inspired so many has become nothing more than a fading, but extremely fond, memory.

While Junoon is gone the trend that they started continued. Bands like Laal and singers like Jawad Ahmed have started to look towards Urdu poetry for inspiration. Sufi inspirational music has become mainstream.

Commercial endeavours like the popular Coke studio have reached unprecedented fame - season after season. But let's admit it -these people cannot make half the music, with the crazed passion that Junoon created in their time. Despite having top singers and bands a void remains that only Junoon can fill.

Junoon's original song's had an honest ability to mesh Eastern gentleness with Western rock. The song surprised, challenged and engaged you. Most pop songs today are fun but they are hardly cognitive.

So, Junoon if you are reading this, I want to make an earnest plea - please comeback! I miss you!
Saher Baloch A reporter for the Karachi pages of The Express Tribune
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.