Signs of the times: A vital reunion

Salman Ahmed talks about Vital Signs reunion song and polio eradication campaign that band members have embarked upon.

Saadia Qamar August 03, 2014


Salman Ahmed seems to be nostalgic about his days with Junoon and Vital Signs and his forthcoming projects are a clear reflection of that. It started with Junoon’s 20th anniversary album and then took the form of a ‘Vital Junoonian’ for ‘Naya Pakistan’. This time around, he has announced a Vital Signs reunion.

This time around, the reunion is divided amongst two projects or two social causes as one may say. The first one is Salman’s collaboration with Polio Plus, UNICEF, WHO and the local and federal governments for a campaign to eradicate polio from Pakistan.

Junaid Jamshed and Shahzad Hasan (Shahi) from Vital Signs will be joining him to compose a song, based on Mirza Ghalib’s ghazal ‘Mushkilain mujh par pari itni kay aasan hogayin’. A picture of all three of them together was tweeted by Ahmed, earlier this week.

“The music video that I’m producing is titled Overcoming All Challenges. This song will also be featured on Junoon’s 25th anniversary album next year,” Ahmed tells The Express Tribune.

The plan is to air the video on all major TV channels, feature it in popular health shows, morning shows and current events programmes. They will also screen it in schools and colleges with a Q and A session with the students.

“The music video will pay tribute to the fearless health workers,  raise the urgent issues of child and maternal health and will feature prominent Pakistanis, united to see a healthy, educated and Polio-free nation,” says Salman.

On the other hand, is the actual Vital Signs reunion, where apart from Shahi, Junaid and Salman, veteran Shoaib Mansoor is on board and Rohail Hyatt has also been approached.

“We have invited Rohail to be a part of the project and are hopeful that he will also be on board for the special song that I have composed. Junaid and I are singing it as a duet,” adds Salman.

The song is currently being recorded at Shahi’s studio.

Filmmaker Shoaib Mansoor, the backbone of Vital Signs, has not only written the Vital Sign’s reunion song, but will also be producing a special music video to celebrate the occasion.

“The reunion song is based on Shoaib Mansoor’s beautiful and uplifting poetry. Shoaib will be producing a special music video on the reunion. This is all part of a campaign to help promote national unity and cooperation. The idea is mushrooming as we speak,” says Salman.

Last time, when Salman and his former band members announced a reunion track, people got anxious to listen to Junaid’s bittersweet vocals in a typical vital signs groove, however, he ended up saying just a few lines. Will it be any different this time around?

“We are both singing in harmony” says Salman.

The Express Tribune tried to approach Rohail, Junaid and Shahi, but none of them responded to clarify their participation in the project. Salman, however, seems optimistic and has dedicated this reunion to a greater cause than just celebrating a certain number of years.

“They are my brothers and friends and we are united in their support. Pakistan can only overcome its challenges, if people stay united. As artistes, we feel it’s our responsibility to give voice to the voiceless heroes across the country,” says Salman.

No matter how much we wish to see the whole of Vital Signs get together, even for a single soundtrack, one must not forget Salman’s habit of announcing reunions. Earlier this year, he announced a Junoon reunion with Ali Azmat, which was blatantly denied by the former Junoon vocalist.

As far as the campaign is concerned, two new polio cases were reported while this interview was being drafted. But Salman is optimistic.

“As Ghalib wrote: ‘Mushkilein mujh par pari itni kay aasaan hogayeen’. I feel confident that polio will soon be history in Pakistan,” he says.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 4th, 2014.

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