It was four days after the PNS Mehran attack that Karavan played in front of about a 1,000 people at the Carlton Hotel in Karachi. They started at midnight and kept playing until their fans could rock no more. What was one of the best live performances ever in Pakistan turned out to be Karavan’s last gig.
Formed in 1997 by Awaz guitarist Asad Ahmed and bass player Sameer Ahmed, Karavan revolutionised the Pakistani music scene by fusing eastern percussions and melodies with a modern rock sensibility. The band has released four studio albums and one live album, racking up sales of 2,500,000 copies worldwide. Though the band initially included Najam Sheraz, the final Karavan line-up that we know today included Tanseer Daar on vocals and Alan Smith on the drums along with Asad and Sameer. And after 15 years, Karavan has finally called it quits.
“We are done. Fifteen years is a big time period and no more music will come with the current line-up,” Asad told The Express Tribune.
Adding to that, he said: “The break up is still very fresh. Let’s just take it easy for a while and see what happens. I don’t know with whom, but I will definitely make music.”
On the other hand, Tanseer Daar, who is known for his unique vocal talent, sounded disappointed. “Asad is playing with Ali Zafar. He will be going to India and travelling around the world while Alan is busy playing with Shafqat Amanat Ali. So it was pointless to make an album at such a juncture,” said Daar. Tanseer himself plans to carry on as a vocalist with other guitarists. He is also considering playback singing.
The band members may have chosen separate paths, but it has not affected their friendship. “Everything happened on a positive note and we couldn’t just help the situation of the music industry because waiting for six months to perform a gig is not the ideal situation for a band, plus you can’t stop piracy,” added Daar.
The news may have come as a shock, but disbanding was being considered for quite some time. “I was planning to call it a day since last year before the release of our album Saara Jahan, but the band members wanted the album to be released. So we released it, but finally came to a conclusion that the four of us were no longer making the music we wanted,” said Asad.
However, Sameer is still optimistic about a comeback: “I guess we are old now and there is not much happening in the music industry, but we may come back. You never know.”
Clarifying the rumours that Ahmed’s preference of other projects over those related to Karavan was a reason of breakup, Ahmed said: “Whether it was ‘Coke Studio’ or any artist, Karavan was always my first wife and nothing came before that until I realised that it was high time to call the final shot.”
Band members say goodbye
Thank you for all the support. Try not to forget that there was a band that made your ticket worth the price. I would love to see a rock band come and blow me away by creating good, if not better, music than this.
Play rock music and promote rock music.
It was all the fans who supported us in all those years and we love them for that. Keep rocking.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 26th, 2011.