LAHORE: Following the assassination of Amjad Sabri, Laal front man Taimur Rahman took to Facebook to announce that his band is launching a protest campaign in the name of the slain qawwal.
Talking to The Express Tribune, Rahman said, “We were planning to go on a nationwide tour this year but then Sabri passed away and we felt the urgency to begin the campaign.” Similar to the band’s previous projects: Apni Karni Kar Guzro that was against extremism, Utho Meri Dunya that called for land reforms and Chapna that advocated for electoral participation, this campaign aims to counter the growing intolerance in our society. “We dedicate it to Sabri and all the musicians of Pakistan who have a sense of loss and grief over what happened.”
Organised by the Cecil and Iris Chaudhry Foundation, the first concert for the tour will be held on July 9 in Lahore’s Christian locality, Youhanabad, where two blasts last year had left at least 15 dead. “We are thinking of composing and releasing Faiz Ahmed Faiz’s Dua in the memory of Sabri,” he said, adding, “That will be the Facebook element of the campaign. The rest comprises performances in different areas of the country.”
For the concerts, Laal will head to underdeveloped localities so that mobilising communities against fanaticism starts from the grass-roots level. “Music is there in every nook and corner of Pakistan but it becomes a big deal for those people if artists from urban areas go there and perform,” the activist said. Rahman said our mainstream musicians usually shy away from going into these areas where people are actually quite welcoming. “They get really happy when someone famous comes to perform for them.”
The campaign and this larger idea, Rahman maintained, also form the philosophy of Laal. “We are also working on our third album but it won’t be ready for release until later this year,” he added.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 26th, 2016.