Pakistan’s first indigenous entry to the Grammys

Published: November 28, 2014
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REVELLING IN ROOTS: Sharif Awan founded Tehzeeb Foundation in 2008 to preserve the legacy of classical musicians in Pakistan. PHOTO COURTESY: SHAHARYAR KHAN

REVELLING IN ROOTS: Sharif Awan founded Tehzeeb Foundation in 2008 to preserve the legacy of classical musicians in Pakistan. PHOTO COURTESY: SHAHARYAR KHAN

REVELLING IN ROOTS: Sharif Awan founded Tehzeeb Foundation in 2008 to preserve the legacy of classical musicians in Pakistan. PHOTO COURTESY: SHAHARYAR KHAN REVELLING IN ROOTS: Sharif Awan founded Tehzeeb Foundation in 2008 to preserve the legacy of classical musicians in Pakistan. PHOTO COURTESY: SHAHARYAR KHAN

KARACHI: Pakistani personalities seem to be on a global honour roll as after bagging Oscars and Emmys, artistes are now looking towards the Grammys. A feat worth lauding, the Tehzeeb Foundation’s music compilation Indus Raag: Beyond Borders has been accepted as an entry for the ‘Best World Music Album’ category at the 2015 Grammy Awards.

“It is a moment of honour for us that the work of so many Pakistani artistes has finally entered the race of the world’s finest musicians,” Sharif Awan, general secretary of Tehzeeb Foundation and producer of Indus Raag, tells The Express Tribune.

Prior to Indus Raag being accepted as an indigenous entry, legendary musician Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan was nominated for the Grammys twice, with compilations made by foreign producers. Indus Raag, which features local classical musicians, has been mixed and mastered in Pakistan.

Whether Indus Raag gets nominated or not will be disclosed by the Grammy committee on December 10. “Getting nominated for a Grammy is secondary. The fact that so many of our melodies have been heard by enthusiasts around the world is sufficient for me,” shares Awan, adding, “I hope that we are able to bring more local musicians in the limelight in the future.”

The album was recorded by Faisal Rafi of Silent Music Studios and mixed and mastered by Fuzön’s Emu, and veteran music producer Iqbal Asif of Emix Studios. Emu shares that the biggest challenge for him was to do justice to the works of so many maestros, while keeping in line with the producer’s vision. “It was a tedious process but the results proved to be worth our effort,” comments Emu. “I’m excited but I’ll be over the moon if the album gets nominated. Fingers crossed, for now.”

Rafi says that making Indus Raag was a great learning experience, referring to the year and a half spent on the project as the time spent in “the company of giants.” “Awan came to me years ago with the idea to record these folk classical and semi-classical musicians and I said, ‘Why not?’. Everything fell into place eventually,” he states.

“I didn’t think that the project would go this far. It was a humbling experience because some of the musicians we worked with are not alive anymore,” adds Rafi.

Details of the selection will be announced on the opening day of Tehzeeb Festival 2014, which is scheduled to take place from November 29 to November 30 at Beach Luxury Hotel, Karachi. The festival is open to the public and will feature music performances and poetry readings.

Indus Raag: Beyond Borders is a 12-CD compilation of classical and folk, spread across 13 hours of back-to-back music. The album features Ustad Fateh Ali Khan Gwalior Gharana (vocals), Ustad Rais Khan (sitar) , Ashraf Sharif Khan (sitar), Ustad Mumtaz Sabzal (banjo), Kamal Sabri (sarangi player from India), Raza Ali Khan (vocals), Jawad Ali Khan (vocals), Mazhar Ali Khan (vocals), Mubarak Ali Khan(vocals), Vishwa Mohan Bhatt (mohan veena player), and Ustad Naseerudin Sami (vocals). The album also features one of the very few sarod players from Pakistan, Asad Qizalbash, who fled the country after receiving death threats from extremist groups.

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Reader Comments (1)

  • Chandi Sinnathurai
    Nov 29, 2014 - 3:52AM

    The headline might be promo…best of luck!
    However, it is inaccurate.
    “To set the record straight: The undisputed doyens of Hindustani music in Pakistan were the brothers Ustad Salamat Ali and Nazakat Ali Khan. They were bestowed with Pakistan’s highest civilian award “Pride of Performance”. Water Lily Acoustics recorded Ustad Salamat Ali Khan for the very first time in 1982. The second recording, titled “Breath of the Rose” was recorded 1990 and released in 1993. This recording was entered for the Grammy Awards then….”

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