If the last few years have taught us anything, it’s the fact that musicians in Pakistan will always find a way to produce music. Acts like Rushk (yes, they are coming back), Ali Azmat, Mekaal Hasan Band, Zeb and Haniya and many more are still making majestic music. Having said that, the DIY generation of musicians deserves equal attention, if not more.
Two independent musicians — Sheryar Hyatt aka Dalt Wisney (the force behind the online label Mooshy Moo) and Amman Mushtaq aka Smax — have been part of Red Bull Music Academy (RBMA), a travelling series of workshops, live events and much more. Sheryar was part of the series in 2006 when RBMA took place in Melbourne, while Amman was a participant earlier this year when the series went to New York. From Lahore, acts like Malang Party, Poor Rich Boy and Jamal Rahman’s True Brew Records, among many others, are proving that music can make sense even as the world is ripping itself apart with violence and mayhem.
From Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Yasir & Jawad are developing curiosity about the poetry of Ghani Khan while Naseer & Shahab are blowing us away by mixing Pashto language with Western instruments and the pertinent question of identity. Haamid Rahim aka Dynoman is gearing up to perform in Berlin later this month. Danial Hyatt, Amman Mushtaq, Ziyad Habib — one half of the indie act Mole — alongside Hannah Cox, are also planning to head off to Berlin and play as Solar Eyes.
Forever South (FXS), another Internet label from Pakistan, whose impressive roster includes acts like Alien Panda Jury, Dreadnaught, Empror Lephant, TMPST, Toll Crane and a few others, is planning to celebrate its first year anniversary with a show, aptly titled BASH, later this month in Karachi. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. In the same vein is one such musical effort called Lussun TV.
Spearheaded by Nadir Shehzad Khan and a host of equally talented musicians, Lussun TV/Sessions is an independent [online] music show where artists get a chance to showcase their music. Even without YouTube, they are still here, making us remember what it means to fall in love with different genres of music, new sounds and reflective lyrics. Lussun TV is a great place to take ownership of our DIY music scene.
Now in its third season, Lussun TV has, over the years, featured acts as diverse as Mole, //orangenoise, Usman Riaz, Mooroo, Basheer & the Pied Pipers, Chaand Tara Orchestra, Lower Sindh Swing Orchestra, Positive, Jumbo Jutt, Ustaad Sajid Hussain and Khizar Jhumra.
This time around, it’s the ‘drawing room sessions’ giving the show a low-key, intimate and refreshing feel. Nadir explained that it’s called the ‘drawing room sessions’ because it was “literally shot in my drawing room. We do all this with zero budget so whatever is convenient for us, works”.
The first episode of the new season opened with artist Shajie Hassan, who first caught attention with his absolutely beautiful song Battakhain. On this show, Shajie performed a song called Saaray. He sings about two people in a room, filled with chairs — a place where flowers don’t bloom.
Understated much like Shajie, the song conjures a sound that gradually builds to a crescendo with electric guitars, synth effects and bass before dropping gently. It’s a fantastical world and Shajie invites us to sing along. More significantly, the production value shines through as you realise that this is neither an amateurish effort nor over-polished. Shot by Salik Abbasi and Daniel Arthur Panjwaneey, the video is slick and sexy.
In a phone conversation from Multan, Shajie explained the story behind the song, “Nadir and I came up with a made-up story about an old age home in Swat, so cut-off from the world that an apocalypse misses them, even though it’s a post-apocalyptic world. It’s not supposed to be taken seriously.”
It’s a great start to the third season and should be heard by everyone as such. Keep watching this space as we uncover more songs/artists from the mighty effort Lussun Sessions in the coming days.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 10th, 2013.
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