KARACHI: If there is one ensemble that has built its own brand and given music fans one treat after another, it is Sounds of Kolachi. This time around, the Ahsan Bari-led troupe is set to release its first-ever album come November.
Titled Ilhaam, the album will feature eight tracks performed by the group that includes the likes of Natasha Beyg, Gul Muhammad, Waqas Hussain, Sameer Ahmed and Saif Abbas Rizwan. Session players Aahad Nayani and Faraz Anwar have contributed their two bits to the album as well.
“Ilhaam is the moment just before a revelation. The moment before inspiration strikes. That’s where the title comes from,” Bari told The Express Tribune. He shared the album will comprise a variety of songs, including some instrumentals. “One is totally gibberish, with bol of the tabla being sung as a song. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”
While the upcoming compilation will have the band’s signature Sufi rock sound, they plan to reinvent their own music in the future. “What we have been doing is more Sufi rock and Ilhaam will be similar to that. But we have been experimenting with new sounds and are also planning to release an EP in early 2017. We, as a group, are redefining ourselves and reinventing our music,” added Bari.
The band aims to touch upon different schools of thought in the EP. “Sufism comes from Islamic ideas. But there are some other schools of thought in other cultures with ideas that are as pure as those of Sufism. There’s Buddhism as well as some tribal cultures that have similar ideas. The idea is to keep innovating and coming up with new things.”
Even in terms of the band structure, Bari intends to shake things up and give opportunities to new artists. “The ensemble will keep changing. New musicians will come on board. Perhaps, at one point, I won’t be on stage. I will direct the group but will probably be in the audience watching my band members perform.”
And while the music group has its plate full with projects, the New Year will witness new beginnings for them. Sounds of Kolachi will fly out for a US tour in 2017. The month-long tour will include workshops, visits to colleges and schools and performances. “Bands such as Noori and a few others have gone on this tour before. For the 2017 edition, it will be Sounds of Kolachi and Sanam Marvi and we have got some amazing shows lined up over there,” said Bari, referring to cultural exchange initiative.
If that’s not enough, Bari also plans to release a solo album next year. “Yes, I hope to release a solo album next year. Right now, we have our hands full with our upcoming album, EP and tour.”
Published in The Express Tribune, September 26th, 2016.