Brainstorming over music creativity
LAHORE-The two day Lahore Music Meet festival began at Lahore Arts Council on Mall Road on Saturday. The Day 1 brought together the best singers, musicians and composers on one platform. All of them called for zeal for creativity in order to drive the music industry to a stage in today’s changed world.
Music lovers from across the city and even from other cities turned up at Lahore Arts Council to listen to the discourse on challenges being faced by country’s music industry.
There was strict security at the venue. There was only one entrance and all people children, women and men had to move in single file queue to enter the premises that had been covered from all sides with tents.
Entry was not allowed without proper identification that on production of national identity cards or driving licences. Some of old citizens had to face disappointment as they could not show up or satisfy security with their identity. No one could see from outside what was going on inside. A heavy consignment of police and people from law enforcement agencies were patrolling outside Alhamra Halls to avoid any untoward incident. All outdoor activity was abandoned and the musical performances were also held in Alhamra Halls. Last year the musical performances were held in the open space and garden of Lahore Arts Council. All the food stalls were also moved inside the lobbies of halls.
Careem, Pepsi, Airblue, Lays brands setup their installations at Hall Number I. At Pepsi installation musicians and local public was asked to express their music talent using guitar to which enthralling and exciting musicians utilized in a way it should be. Sherry, a local guitar teacher enthralled the gathering at Pepsi installation. Lays offered new flavors of chips for visitors free of cost.
Traditional lanterns were placed at Alhamra’s trees which illuminated the whole garden. The fascinating lightening presented a wonderful scene in the evening. A number of benches had been placed with traditional pillows to lean on for people to rest.
A number of underground bands performed at the venue including Wooly & The Uke, Kashmir, Ehl-e-Rock, Wisdom Salad, Abdullah Siddiqui, Keeray Makoray, Janoobi Khargosh, TMPST and Shoorbanoor. LLM 17 was an opportunity for music lovers to meet artistes, like Sajjad Ali, Ali Azmat, Athar, Omran Shafique, Momina Mustehsan, Arshad Mahmud and Uzair Jaswal to name a few to initiate dialogue on the developments in music and their shortcomings.
There were 14 sessions held on Day 1. Festival was started with a session on ‘Composing hits from PTV to Pakistani pop with Arshad Mehmood’ at Hall 1. Hall 3 was renamed Pepsi Hall with a session ‘Demonomolizing musical knowledge’ with Sharif Awan in discussion with moderator Ahtar Masood.
At Hall 2 performances of underground bands Wooly & The Uke, Kashmir, Ehl-e-Rock, Wisdom Salad,. Abdullah Siddiqui, Keeray Makoray, Janoobi Khargosh, TMPST and Sharbanoor.
Sessions included ‘How to drop the bass sound design’ with Adeel Tahir as speaker, ‘Mythic tales of tomorrow: Glitching for Art’ Daniyal Hyatt and Nawksh in panel discussion,’Groove is in the heart’ with Jamal Rehman, Sameer Ahmed in paneled discussion with moderator Iba.,’ Scare for a film’ Mehreen Murtaza, Zain Ahasan, shezad Noor with moderator Tabish Habib were attended well. A session on ‘Talking TV\ with artiste Fariha Ali moderated by Neini Rafi. Uzair Jaswal had a session on his recently launch music album’Na Bhulana’ with Dino Ali in moderation.
Up, close and personal
with Ali Azmat
A session with ‘Ali Azmat de naal gallan’ was moderated by Natasha Noori who is a moving force behind the LMM 17.
Ali Azmat who in his own words rained restive throughout his life in quest of his real identity talking at Hall 1 said that his parent thought that he was a gangster and a lost son. “At very this Hall 1 of Alhamra, I gave my first performance in front of my mother. It was proud moment for me.
“I followed a famous quote of Peter Seller who answering a question as to who he was replied he did not know who he was and was just an empty vessel.
“I grew up listening to music of Bon Jovi, Freddie Mercury and Eddie Vedder. I was a shy person. This shyness I overcame in coming years. Then I let myself distant from useless jargons and rat race by producing my own music.
“All artists are insecure. There was time when my father called me cheap bones but it was he who encouraged me to perform well in my first concert at Kinnaird College. That encouragement means a lot but don’t get yourself obsessed with the people’s screaming because a singer who can control the anger, anxiety and endless love of his fans can conquer the world. Otherwise it can lead trend of his career.
“I choose to be resilient and deeply politicized person. I spent my three years in complete depression. I moved to Karachi where there was MQM era and bloody killings in city’s landscape. Then I started producing music. I had to admit my defeat that I was producing no different music than others. But than I moved on. “I sang the entire career of my life with guitar. You can be an amazing singer and great artist by following your creativity,” he said.
Ali said that after spending 28 years in music industry and he can say he only survived throughout these years because ‘he had done everything for survival.’
“A performance in live concert in Los Angeles in front of 35,000 people could drive to madness. That is the moment where you have to control your nerves.
“Going crazy and craving attention was not my cup of tea. Just let yourself calm down,” the singer maintained.
Meeting the talented
Mr Sajjad Ali
One of the most interesting sessions of Lahore Music Meet Day 1 was with renowned classical singer Sajjad Ali.
The hall was jam packed with his fans. He was received with a thunderous round of applause.
His session “Nay Kia Dekha” highlighted the main issue of our music industry that everything with the passage of time is getting smarter but why our artistes not getting smart.
Sajjad said there was a time when ghazals and folk music tradition was at its peak and the only medium to listen for the audience was film and radio. “During that period there used to be great writers, singers, composers and those who had command on their work had to go through proper channel. Those who were marginalized in earlier era got opportunity in coming years to which talent of that era could not get the chance to express their talent.
“After that era entry of pop music came. Even at that time there used to be legendary music composers who introduce pop music for TV that turned out to be great hits.
“In the year 2000 private TV channels came on the scene. Those people who were neglected earlier made entry and destroyed music and channels failed. After that music revolution came in Pakistan and everyone had television, youngster had guitars, laptops but main issue they faced was how can they record their idea to make a hit song in the market? “They started going to composers and the composers used to make song just to fulfill his needs but not pursuing his inner talent.
“We are moving towards revival of film industry. Pakistani films are now being showcased all over the world but my question is why our songs are unable to become hits,”
“Why are new songs not hits in the market? No industry can flourish with just relaying on recycling and we can’t appreciate music industry until unless it started making quality music. About our upcoming film industry he was of the view that with the revival of Pakistani cinema we are producing more than 12 films every year but the industry could not even produce three creative songs of their own.
“Our films used to get hits on the box office because our songs and their strong lyrics were the real force behind their success. The reason is upcoming singers who became rock stars on social media have information but zero knowledge about music. “They became singer by getting likes on their face book pages and never listen to music legends while entering the showbiz industry,” Sajjad Ali said He ended the session saying that quality song is not produced because singing, style of singing, composing, marketing, production all this process is not properly taught to our young talent and they are experimenting with music themselves.
“If music is taught properly they will learn and I’m going to establish a music academy soon in Lahore to educate them,” he revealed.
Composing hits from PTV to Pakistani Pop
The session ‘composing hits from PTV to Pakistan Pop’ at Hall 1 highlighted how our traditional music with the passage of time is vanishing from mainstream media while youngsters are not given opportunities to flourish it.
Music composer Arshad Mehmud speaking about music expressed his grief in these words: “I have spent 40 years in this music industry. I got opportunity to work in radio and television but the dilemma today is that young talented people do not get equal opportunity.
“Pakistani folk music deals with subjects surrounding daily life in less grandiose terms than the love and emotion usually contained in its traditional and classical counterpart. Each province has its own variation of popular folk music but no one bothers to promote it.
“If we compose an English song even in our country it doesn’t matter it would still remain Pakistani because it was composed and sang by a Pakistani singer it would never be considered as a copyright.
“I still know many people in PTV who by designation are producer but they don’t have the budget to produce something. When I ask them they always answer we work according to occasions like Kashmir Day, Pakistan Resolution Day, Women’s Day because we only get paid on such special events. To make a song is a 24 hours job we should understand this that is why we lack in producing quality music.
“To really understand music you have to take a holistic view of it. Music is the highest form of arts. So, with due respect it is my humble request to the government that there is need to promote arts and culture. We should build proper music schools to educate them,” Arshad Mehmud proposed.
In conversation with
Momina and Uzair
One of the jam packed sessions was of Momina Mustehsen who got fame with ‘Afreen Afreen’ in Coke Studio 9 and singer Uzair Jaswal who just launched his music album ‘Na Bhulana’. Lahore Music Meet organizer Natasha Noori was the moderator.
Momina said her journey started with a violin classes in school where guitar was not available at that time for practice. “The LUMS Olympiad back 10 years ago gave me a boost to sing songs where I first met with amazing Uzair Jaswal who did not sing cover songs but his original songs,” she said.
Momina showed her Sufi side to her fans also when she quoted Turkish poet Moulana Rumi: ‘What you are seeking is seeking you’ following throughout her life’.
She shared that she got obsessed with overnight fame and she was actually not ready for this. “My iphone was blowing up with notifications that I had became a superstar overnight. It changed my life and I was hiding after that to avoid unnecessary talk,” she said.
Momina Mustehsen replying to a lighter question as to how he feels like after becoming a crush of whole Pakistan said ‘God Forbid’. She said as no one even sent her cupcakes, what was the benefit of becoming crush of whole Pakistan. Momina become internet sensation after her debut in Coke Studio.
Uzair Jaswal said that a singer must do albums even when people don’t support you because when you do it and after years you would have satisfaction that you have done your part of side. “My album Na Bhulana is my life journey starting from my college life to my professional music career,” he said.
“Writing your own songs, lyrics, making your own music only lead you to the front in the arena of countless musicians in music industry,” he advised.
Uzair Jaswal and Momina Mustehsen concluded the session with joint performance on ‘Teray Bin’ rejoiced by audience with huge applaud
Presenting the Presenters
In session ‘Presenting the Presenters’ the panellists were Anooshey Ahsraf and Dino Ali. Aneeta Bakutz moderated the session.
Anooshey said gone are the times when Indus Music TV channel like platforms were available. “At that time EP, Vital Signs, Jal and all the brands came into music limelight of Pakistan music industry,” she said.
“You must shed away all the criticism if you are a presenter. This is actually life and we should move on. We should not look back or bring back glorious eras of the past instead we should build new glorious era in our time, “she said.
“Believe it or not I still have stage fright, you just have to live with it, “she said.
“Being presenter on TV, radio you have a blessed opportunities to meet your legends. At the same time, it is irony that such terrible things like Tahir Shah and Qandeel Baloch to which I have no problem at all, but reposting social media posts could neglect the actual talent,” she said.
Dino said that after spending so many years he could have flashback those years that passed so quickly. “TV presenting is quite difficult task but when your seniors all are there to boost you up and God is on your side, all difficulties would vanish,” he was of the view.
Singer like Ali Zafar, Atif Aslam and other stars of the now music industry started all with a chance having passion to do something different from others.
Music symposium Music Meet organized LMM17 in collaboration with Lahore Arts Council.
Underground bands performing in Alhamra Hall II
Music lovers queue up to attend Lahore Music Meet.–Photos by Nawaz Alam
Natasha Noorani with Arshad Mehmud
Momina Mustehsan with Uzair Jaswal