The Djinn of Aiman "IT WAS A DIM JANUARY AFTERNOON IN LAHORE, there was a power outage on Zahoor Elahi Road, and Farida Khanum had finally woken up. We were sitting among shadows on the floor of her living room: I on the carpet and she on a cushion that was at once a mark of her prestige (she is “The Queen of Ghazal,” the last of her generation’s iconic classically trained singers) and advanced age (she can no longer sit as she used to, like a mermaid, with her legs folded beguilingly beneath her). I had come to prepare Khanum for a concert she was to give in a week’s time in Calcutta, and was trying to engage her, in this fragile early phase of her day, with innocuous-sounding questions: which ghazals was she planning on singing there, and in what order?
For years, Esakhelvi reigned supreme and unchallenged, in an universe that existed parallel to the cultured music salons of the elite. This was the world of the working classes of Pakistan, especially it seems the truck and long distance bus drivers. His songs were not classically derived, and his ghazals and folk songs were rendered somehow differently. Before Esakhelvi's arrival on the scene there really was nothing like him.
But if Urdu is the refined language of power and privilege, Punjabi is the powerful words of the streets. And the streets are where lyrics overwhelmingly situate rap. Pakistani rap positions Punjabi as Ebonics is positioned in the U.S.
In the long history of love songs the attention of a beautiful woman has been compared to many things – but perhaps only in Pakistan's tribal belt would it be likened to the deadly missile strike of a remotely controlled US drone.
An independent Pakistani musician, Asfandyar Khan, writes up the indie scene in Pakistan.
Throughout time immemorial, songs of patriotism, such as Darryl Worley's "Have You Forgotten?" are a staple of countries at war. Our ballads root for our soldiers to come back safe and sound to families and sweethearts, but who sings the tale about the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, the autonomous drone that pines for the vending machine it left at home? Only the evil ghost of Johnny Cash does. [more inside]
An unusual new Pakistani band's first single courts controversy, and provides a window into a side of Pakistan rarely seen in Western news. The Beyghairat Brigade musically satirizes the politics of Pakistan, and goes viral. [more inside]
We have lost on the way the lesson of living together, We are now even scared of each other. They are others whose faces are on your hands, Your hurts are a deep sea -- our wounds are deep. The stories that are being spread in our names are lies, This is not us. Words of a Pakistani pop song Yeh Hum Naheen [This is not us] hitting the charts, attempting to spread the message that all muslims are not terrorists, story via Salon. "Produced and written by a British Muslim, Waseem Mahmood, at the request of his two sons, "Yeh Hum Naheen" offers a welcome counterpoint to the images of troops storming the Red Mosque, or fundamentalist mullahs preaching jihad. But the key to the song's success lies neither in its production values or deft depictions of average Pakistanis going about their daily lives, but in its heartfelt expression of pain. "
The Pakistani Sufi-Rock band Junoon have released their new English single "No More" which remembers the innocent victims of 9/11 and terrorism everywhere. Penned by Polar Livine of Polarity 1 and Salman Ahmad of Junoon the song can be heard/downloaded at the Junoon Website along with they lyrics. They might not be household names in the US but they are big in the subcontinent and elsewhere. They have appeared on US media many times including NPR took a deeper look in their role in presenting another face of Pakistan. Together Salman Ahmed, Brian'o'Connell, and Ali Azmat have relentlessly called for peace between India & Pakistan and raised enough controversy domestically to be banned by several "Democratic" governments in Pakistan.