Iconic, profound, subliminal — to wax lyrical of Abida Parveen is natural. A legend both at home and abroad for her grace and soulful Sufi strains, Parveen over the years has stayed true to her classical origins, which she mastered under the tutelage of Ustad Salamat Ali Khan. Having started off her career from Radio Pakistan, Hyderabad, she credits her husband, late Ghulam Hussain Sheikh, a respected director of music at Radio Pakistan, for its success. A recipient of the 1982 President’s Pride of Performance Award and the 2005 Sitara-e-Imtiaz, Parveen is indeed one of the foremost exponents of kaafi poetry and ghazal singing in Pakistan.
Barely 23 years old, Amanat Ali has a wide fan base, which includes pop and classical music followers. Brought up in a household where religious hymns and noahs would be oft-recited, Ali broke off from the traditional path and chose a career in music- and film-dom. His first break came with winning the “Sa Re Ga Ma Pa” contest in India and since then he has lent his voice to Bollywood songs (the hummable “Khabar Nahi” in Dostana) and also released his album Kohram in April 2009.
As Arieb Azhar renders the works of Sufi virtuosos, his voice resonates with singular devotion. Having won acclaim in his home country, Azhar likes the quietness of Croatia where he is based and works on his music recordings. He has so far released one album Wajj, heavily inspired by the poetry of Sarmad Sehbai, Khawaja Ghulam Farid and Baba Bulleh Shah, and is working on a second one, which is a collaborative effort with musicians from across the country.
There are composers, then there are singers and finally there are entertainers. Meet Arif Lohar once and you know that he is an amalgamation of all of the above — an artist extraordinaire. His jovial personality, the highly-infectious grin he sports and the trademark chimta, which he inherited from his father and always accompanies him in a performance, simply sets him apart from other exponents of folk and Sufi music. His last album Jugni came out in 2005, which was highly popular. A recipient of the 2005 President’s Pride of Performance Award, Lohar is well-known on the international circuit and has performed for various state dignitaries.
Aunty Disco Project
Their eccentric call-sign is a good cue to what to expect from these young, not-so-average boys — a lot out of the ordinary. Hugely popular in the Karachi underground music scene for their alternative rock ever since its formation in 2006, the band’s current line-up comprises of Omar Bilal Akhtar, Ali Alam, Yasir Qureshi, Rahayl Siddiqui and Giles Goveas. Their debut album, Aunty Disco Project, which was independently released recently, was well received.
The underground circuit may have been small but Entity Paradigm (EP) is Lahore’s most famous success story for the nation. Known for playing varied genres, such as alternative rock, rap and rock fusion, its debut album Irtiqa