How could Ayesha Omar win at the LSAs?

There is nothing really terrible about the songs. They are just infinitely forgettable.

Mohammad A Qayyum July 06, 2013
The writer is a music critic, a practising barrister and managing partner of Qayyum and Associates in Lahore. He is a graduate of Columbia and Oxford universities

Ayesha Omar winning the Album of the Year award at the Lux Style Awards (LSA) is such an atrocious decision that it screams for an instant response. If one was being charitable, one could say that she is an average vocalist with a tendency towards sounding alternatively hoarse or throaty. I cannot for a minute concede that her singing is better than Sajjad Ali’s, or that her lyrics are better than those written by Sajid and Zeeshan, or that her music is more compelling than Dynoman’s or that her work is compositionally better than Usman Riaz’s, all being nominees for the same award category. So, one wonders what talent of hers enabled her to win the award. She has supposedly “made deep marks in the field of acting, hosting and fashion modeling”. Perhaps, her talent lies in one of those fields; it certainly doesn’t lie in music.

Regarding the album, I confess I had not heard it before. I had heard the title song “Khamoshi” and found it barely passable. When I saw the video, I thought it was a song which was made in service of a video. A musician I know accurately called it zabardasti ka gaana.

It seemed fair that I checked out the entire album before writing further. So, I searched for it and I searched for it. All over Hall Road, Lahore. Apparently, even the pirates had not bothered pirating this one: the supposed album of the year is not readily available anywhere. I eventually did secure a copy. I suspect the album posters sold more than the album itself, in this case, as the artwork on the album is its best feature. The album seems to be put together by competent musicians for a competent friend or client. There is nothing really terrible about the songs. They are just infinitely forgettable. The fact that there are only eight songs gives the impression that either the said musicians ran out of patience. Or the money ran out.

Interestingly, I have always thought that awards in Pakistan, including the LSA, are nothing more than tokens of mutual friendships. The more intelligent award-givers will occasionally award the actually talented people, so as to give an impression of credibility, but Ayesha Omar’s case belongs to the former category. If all the pretty people want to congratulate one another, they should stick to the pretty side of entertainment. Music surely is not their forte and only the skilled should be awarded.

The award is also a sad reflection on the utter bankruptcy of the Pakistani music scene. All the stars have given up in so far as releasing albums is concerned. No really outstanding album of original work has come out recently. Any of the four other albums nominated for the Album of the Year award would have merited receiving the award more. For my money, if live albums qualify, the best album of the year was not even nominated: Noori’s poorly distributed “Live at the Rock Musicarium”.

The last word on this piece could possibly be given to someone associated with the award-winning album. When needled about the album’s “success”, he irritably retorted: “Aah, but who takes the LSA seriously anyway?”

Published in The Express Tribune, July 7th, 2013.

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Anita Turab | 8 years ago | Reply Why is anyone even writing about it? The LSA is forgettable
MAQ | 8 years ago | Reply

Naamaloom: read last para of the piece.

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