Noori unveil Aik Tha Badshah

Ali Noor and Ali Hamza are also going to make their debut as music directors on the upcoming film ‘Karachi se Lahore’

The band performed a few classics at the unveiling ceremony in Lahore. PHOTO: MALIK SHAFIQ/EXPRESS

LAHORE: Noori unveiled the music video of Aik Tha Badshah from their third and latest album Begum Gul Bakaoli Sarfarosh to a select audience in Lahore on Friday. The video will be released in Karachi on June 14 and nationwide on June 15, ahead of the launch of the album in September this year.

Prior to the official launch of the video, Ali Hamza said he hadn’t even seen the final edit himself as it was being edited into the wee hours of the morning. “We chose Aik Tha Badshah to release before the rest of the songs because we felt it had a different and more evolved beat. The rest of the songs on the album are older ones. We made them a while back but were waiting for the right time to release them,” said Noor. Some of the older songs on the album, such as Mujhay Roko and 1947, are already known to fans through the web and some have been written almost 20 years ago.

Noori had promised a trilogy of albums when Suno Keh Mein Hoon Jawaan was released in 2003. Set to release in September, this album will fulfill that promise. Ali Noor feels this album is a thematic evolution from their last one. “This album is about getting things done; it’s about breaking chains and then conquering, conquering one’s self more than anything else.”

Mandana Zaidi, the director of their video and right hand of Noori, also spoke at the launch. “The idea behind this video is that we wanted to release the album with this song. It’s a concept-based video in which Ali Hamza becomes a king and touches upon themes of corruption, revolution and labour. It’s about how human temptations can change people. You can also expect to see a theme-based album,” she said.

Noor added, “We have been in this industry for a long time, but are releasing an album after 10 years. Everyone is worried about the circumstances of the country and music is their last priority. Such circumstances excite us and challenging times inspire us to create music.

The name of the album Begum Gul Bakaoli Sarfarosh is about a woman who crosses the border into Pakistan at the time of Partition and thinks everything will be fine, but it’s not. She sees everyone losing their morality and then 40 to 50 years pass and we come to the time we live in now and she understands why people are the way they are. Our music should serve as a catalyst to help people understand our country and its situation and the next step is to change.”

Noori is also working on a cross-border collaboration with a Folktronica duo Hari and Sukhmani on a song called Yaarian slated for release this fall. Ali Noor and Ali Hamza are also going to make their debut as music directors on the upcoming film Karachi se Lahore and are teaming up with Shiraz Uppal to make music for the film. The trio is calling themselves Sur Dervesh.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 15th,  2015.

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