Pashto singer from Swat pays tribute to Urdu music legends

Releases album on Eid, hopes to enter stage of music at national level

Hidayat Khan June 30, 2016
Pashto singer Nazia Iqbal delivers a spell-blinding performance. PHOTO: EXPRESS

PESHAWAR: Pashto singer from Swat Nazia Iqbal will launch her new music album which unlike the ones released in the past has Urdu songs.

Shooting videos for her new album on an ornate stage in a hall at Hotel Spring Village in the city on Thursday, Iqbal told The Express Tribune that she is making remixes of famous ghazals of late legends of Urdu music and intends to pay tribute to maestros like Madam Noor Jehan, Mehedi Hasan and others.

Beyond revival: Swat’s music industry loses its sheen

Following the recording of Urdu Qawwali Tumhain Dillagi Bhool Jani Pare Gi, which Iqbal was said was a way to pay homage to Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, the 32-year-old singer told The Express Tribune that her new album will be released on Eid and will be a treat for people. “This will be really different for my listeners and is made purely to express gratitude to the great musicians of all times,” she said. Iqbal added, “Unlike in the past, my album this time will have videos because that seems to be a prerequisite for music to become hit these days.”


Iqbal hesitantly admitted that Pashto music has now been occupied by non-professionals. “The real musicians who devoted their whole lives to Pashto music have been swept aside,” she said.

She also accused the authorities for failing to provide artists with copyrights protection which causes people to download music freely from the internet. “Singers cannot earn a living because of the lack of protection and copyrights rules,” she told The Express Tribune.

Staying true

Iqbal said while the album has Urdu remixes, she was a Pashto singer and intended to remain one. “Pashto music has not lost its ground – there are still thousands of listeners and this was the music that gave me recognition around the world,” she said.

In Chitral, women cannot be singers

However, the singer believes that music has no one particular language and has even performed in Persian. Her Urdu ghazals also reveal her desire to make an entrance onto the stage of national level music.

Iqbal learned music at Banr Musical Centre in Swat and after the late Pashto music legend Gulnar Begum, is considered a significant artist among Pukhtuns.

She was one of the only singers to have stayed in the country when many artists had fled during times of insurgency and instability.

“I stayed for Pukhtuns and Pashto music and will continue to work for the revival of this industry,” Iqbal pledged.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 1st, 2016.


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