20 years of Junoon

Published: August 11, 2011
Brian O’ Connell and Salman Ahmad will be performing together on September 23. PHOTO: FILE

Brian O’ Connell and Salman Ahmad will be performing together on September 23. PHOTO: FILE


Junoon may not be a part of Pakistan’s mainstream music after Ali Azmat calling it quits in 2005, but lead guitarist and founder Salman Ahmad believes it’s “time to put the ‘Junooni’ spirit back into your lives”.

As the latest reminder of the band’s contribution to the country’s music scene, Ahmad is set to celebrate Junoon’s 20th anniversary.  “We are reaching Junoon’s 20th anniversary, so I’m excited about more projects coming up regarding that,” Ahmad told The Express Tribune.The musician will be performing with the band’s former bassist Brian O Connell.

“Brian O’ Connell is performing on Junoon’s 20th anniversary celebration concert at the Asia Society on September 24 in New York,” Ahmad broke the news on his Twitter page after announcing September 30 as the day when “Rumi taught Junoon how to play” two decades ago.

Ahmad is also planning to launch an album to mark two decades of Junoon. The album will be featuring Strings, Bilal Khan, Outlandish, Usman Riaz and Laal’s Taimur Rahman, “who are recording their favourite Junoon tunes”.

The musician has also invited his Twitter followers to suggest songs for the album. To make them join the celebration, the artist has promised to promote their Junoon-inspired videos uploaded on YouTube: “Share your personal Junoon stories, sing, play guitar, lip-sync to Junoon’s songs… you are the star on YouTube.  Shoot a three-minute video.”

Ahmad currently has multiple projects at hand, starting from flood relief activities for Pakistan to international music ventures. Additionally, Indian film-maker Mira Nair, has offered Ahmad to join her upcoming project based on Mohsin Hamid’s novel The Reluctant Fundamentalist.

“I met Mira in June in New York, where I was performing. She told me that she was about to start shooting in August and would be considering new music for The Reluctant Fundamentalist and asked if I was interested. I’m a huge admirer of her movies like Mississippi Masala, Monsoon Wedding and Salaam Bombay. So, saying yes was a no brainer,” says Ahmad.

There is no news about Ali Azmat performing with the other band members, possibly because he and Ahmad have not been very ‘friendly’ ever since they kick-started their solo careers. 

Published in The Express Tribune, August 12th, 2011.

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Reader Comments (33)

  • bulbul
    Aug 11, 2011 - 8:34PM

    OMG… its gonna be legen wait-for-it dary! !!!


  • Ali S
    Aug 11, 2011 - 8:48PM

    Salman singing Junoon’s classic hits will be a disgrace to Junoon’s memory. As good as a musician he happens to be, the man’s ego might eventually overshadow his legacy if he continues this way. We want the original Junoon lineup – Salman, Brian AND Ali. It’s not the same without Ali.


  • Gohar
    Aug 11, 2011 - 9:20PM

    @ Ali

    “Original” Junoon lineup was Salman Ahmad, Nusrat Hussain and Ali Azmat


  • GetRidOfFeudalPolitics
    Aug 11, 2011 - 9:28PM

    @ gohar
    Thanks for the trivia but i think you know what Ali S meant. and i agree with him. although ali azmat is just not the same. that magic will never be re-created.


  • Fahad
    Aug 11, 2011 - 9:44PM

    this is sooo exciting :D


  • Aug 11, 2011 - 10:36PM

    plz we nned back u ur best ever pakistan need al so gys u…Recommend

  • Aug 11, 2011 - 10:38PM

    if brain and salman can come together means ALI the one who never wanted it !! best of luck guys happy to read all this !!


  • maestro
    Aug 11, 2011 - 10:43PM

    ho hum…. there is no junoon without Ali just like theres no Guns n roses without Slash OR Axl, no Oasis without Liam or Noel.


  • Sohaib Aslam
    Aug 11, 2011 - 10:45PM

    All due regards to Nusrat as a musician – but he never was a Junooni.
    Junoon was, is and always be Ali + Salman + Brian !!


  • Samrat
    Aug 11, 2011 - 10:48PM

    What exactly is the problem between Ali and Salman?? and if my friends from Pakistan can answer, who is more successful as a solo lead? I liked Klashinfolk and even Bum phatta song…Can anyone throw light on it?


  • Hashaam
    Aug 11, 2011 - 10:57PM

    Without Ali Azmat i don’t know any junnon. It was his junoony voice that had done the trick for the band. I am not excited until i see Ali Azmat singing ‘Mukh gaye nain’ with salman and brain in the background.


  • Asif Khan
    Aug 11, 2011 - 11:04PM

    Junoon without Ali is like Jackson 5 without MJ!


  • Syed Jay
    Aug 11, 2011 - 11:26PM

    Ali , we want you back!Recommend

  • Waqas
    Aug 12, 2011 - 12:02AM
  • bilal
    Aug 12, 2011 - 12:05AM

    Whatever. . . . . . !! Junoon is incomplete without Ali azmat and who is Salman ahmad the Man who made fun of islam :-j i am with Ali Azmat bohat acha kea us nay . . . . . . and junoon ko toora nahi gea junoon apni moot khud he mar gea


  • junooni
    Aug 12, 2011 - 12:29AM

    What has Ali Azmat done since Junoon? Bum Phata?!! He is an over rated,bay-sura singer who
    lives of the Hit songs that Salman wrote in Junoon.

    Junoon 20 celebration will involve Pakistani & international artists!!


  • Aug 12, 2011 - 1:41AM

    Nusrat Hussain was only a part of Junoon till their debut album, afer that he parted ways to become a pilot. Though a part of original line up, Nusrat is more recognized as a part of Vital Signs and not of Junoon. What made Junoon popular was actually the line up of Salman, Ali and Brian, as featured in the PTV drama Talaash.


  • Aug 12, 2011 - 1:53AM

    And of-course people, Junoon is nothing without Ali Azmat. Salman may produce instrumentals like “Heer” and “Jugalbandi”, he cannot even find any vocalist like Ali Azmat in this world. I mean who can deliver vocals so strong that resulted in songs like Taara Jala, Meri awaz suno, Pyar Bina, Heeray, Mera Mahi, Ghoom Taana, and I guess every song of Junoon. And by the way Salman’s guitars are just out of this world. A listener may not realize the genius behind his guitars until he tries to cover those rhythms and feels the trance he falls in. In short nothing will be like Junoon ever… :(


    Aug 12, 2011 - 5:33AM

    Salman singing Junoon’s classic hits will be a disgrace to Junoon’s memory. As good as a musician he happens to be, the man’s ego might eventually overshadow his legacy if he continues this way. We want the original Junoon lineup – Salman, Brian AND Ali. It’s not the same without Ali.


  • Muhammad Ahmed Malik
    Aug 12, 2011 - 5:59AM

    Ali believes that he always had creative difference with Salman as in Ali never wanted to do Sufi music but he was made to do that by salman and he kept on doing this for it gave him the fame and money but now he wants to live his own music.(Said so on a TV show)
    On the other hand Salman says Junoon is not a band of three guys, it was a phenomenon. Junoon will stay forever with or without Ali.


  • Shehzad
    Aug 12, 2011 - 7:42AM

    Salman has been carrying Junoon logo ever since it was split, and making dollars by stupid/sluggish concerts in USA/Canada. This is a message to Salman, accept it that you are a guitarist a better one, but not a Junoon vocalist. With out Ali Azmat, Salman can make noise but not music….Bring Ali back to Junoon….


  • Azeema
    Aug 12, 2011 - 9:05AM

    who is going to bring Ali back?


  • tammy
    Aug 12, 2011 - 10:27AM

    Junoon is better off without Ali Azmat,. I hope they grow without him as he is busy making bum phatta like tracks,,, after Junoon broke up there is not a single track worth listening by Ali,, which is quite sad.


  • Aug 12, 2011 - 1:12PM

    @Muhammad Ahmed Malik: Well i don’t think Ali never wanted to do sufi music. Otherwise sticking with Junoon for 15 years would have been impossible for him, though he may have wanted to compose differently to experiment, which Salman may not have agreed upon. Otherwise, why he would have come up with a recent track that sounded so much like a Junoon’s number (Josh-e-Junoon).


  • Seeda
    Aug 12, 2011 - 2:19PM

    Ali Azmat WAS Junoon. His voice was/is the passion behind the songs. Salman Ahmad will only embarrass himself even more buy thinking he still has a band. It was sad that Junoon broke up but I’m glad Ali Azmat went Solo. He is phenomenal singer… his voice has what it takes to be the sound of a revolution.


  • Butool
    Aug 12, 2011 - 8:43PM

    Junoon won’t ever EVER sound the same without Ali Azmat, but I’m more excited about the covers’ album. That will be one collector’s item for sure!


  • Ayesha
    Aug 13, 2011 - 1:07AM

    Typical Pakistani bickering and arguments and losing the bigger picture! Junoon’s music defines the last 20 years of Pakistan and we should be happy that we have something to CELEBRATE rather than “Salman did this, or Ali did that”!

    Grow up and learn to appreciate Junoon’s artistry and, not many international rock bands have created a completely new sound like Junoon. There music changed my life!!


  • oasis
    Aug 13, 2011 - 1:51AM

    salman ahmed singing any of their songs is a disgrace
    please bring ali azmat back… u got to accept the fact that u cant sing SALMAN AHMED
    SERIOUSLY stop being a jerk


  • Muhammad Ahmed Malik
    Aug 13, 2011 - 3:56AM

    @M Rafay:
    I quoted Ali Azmat. He said all this.


  • Jameel Hassan
    Aug 13, 2011 - 7:25AM

    Ali Azmat prefers money, drugs, booze over a legacy. Junoon was always Salman’s brainchild and what made it different from any other typical band you see in Pakistan (and there’s quite ALOT of them) was Salman. Ali’s solo stuff is just plain absurd and bum phatta and all its just pathetic. Salman and Ali were never meant to be together seriously. Ali may be a great vocalist but not a spokesperson. He rambles around in his thick accent talking gibberish and recently started supporting Zaid Hamid and flaunting conspiracy theories. Salman on the other hand is done something productive with his life and has always brought positivity.

    There are many vocalists in Pakistan that are better than Ali Azmat at present, but there is no other band that is better than Junoon. Junoon will live on.


  • faizan
    Aug 14, 2011 - 3:20AM

    we cant get that same taste without ali azmat so plz call him for just 1 performance with u guys


  • Radhika
    Aug 14, 2011 - 9:05AM

    I’m an Indian Junooni and my life was changed by Junoon’s music. My husband and I even named our daughter Sayonee!
    Big Congrats from India to South Asia’s greatest rock band on 20 years of soul stirring songs, message of peace & hope for all of us. Junooni- 4-ever


  • tinman
    Aug 18, 2011 - 9:04PM

    There is no junoon in JUNOON without Ali Azmat. Salman is a really talent guitarist and composer (and a world class poser) but he has extremely weak vocals. I heard him sing Saaeein, the guy ruined the song for me forever.


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