Ali Haider, the former pop star turned naat khawan and now designer, has been working on a Sufi album titled Ki Janan Main Kaun. The fifty-minute long album, the title track of which has already been released will feature eight tracks.
“I’ve experimented with nauhas and naats, but this is the first time I’ve dedicated a whole album to just Sufi kalam,” Haider told The Express Tribune. “This is also my first music album after four years.”
When asked why he decided to delve into the genre, he said, “This is not the first time I’ve drawn from mystic poetry. In my last manqabaat album, titled Tuluh-i-Fikr, there was one song that had been based on kalams by a Sufi poet.”
Haider talks about the responsibility thrust upon him as one of the pioneers of the Pakistani music industry. “Today’s youngsters have a tendency of restricting themselves to popular English music and Bollywood songs,” explains the singer. “Being repeatedly told that I’m influential, I decided to release an inspirational album; one that helps our country, especially the youth, come out of the despair that we’re in currently. The new album is a message of peace.”
The album consists of poetry from some of the greats such as Bulleh Shah, Sultan Bahao, Josh Malihabadi and Lal Shahbaz Qalandar. “A lot of Indian percussion instruments have been used in the album, making it very rhythmic. These songs are heartfelt and emotional.”
Regarding the different work and influences during the making of the album, Haider says, “In Pakistan, I worked in Karachi and Lahore, and in India I had the chance to work in Calcutta.” Talking about the different musicians supporting his work, he explains, “Offering backup vocals has been the work of Sherry, Tanveer Jaffery and Vicky, while Isaac has worked as the music producer. The album will be released in Pakistan through the record company, Labels. As far as India is concerned, we’re involved in tentative talks with three major record companies.”
With the first song and video out, Haider eagerly talks about other releases and his future plans. “‘Dama Dam Mast Qalandar’ will be out soon, which has an exceedingly different beat and tune to it, while the video will be released in Ramazan. The video for Sultan Bahao’s poetic kalam, ‘Dam Dam Dey Vich’, will come out soon after that as well.”
Finally, Haider talks about his clothing store, Qaraar, which is no longer in operation at Dolmen Mall, Tariq Road. “We weren’t able to target our intended market in that location, which is why we’re thinking of relocating to either Zamzama or Park Towers within three months. The project hasn’t been abandoned, it’s still very much in the pipe-line.”
Ki Janan Main Kaun is set for release in the last week of June.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 3rd, 2011.
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