Revealed: Lahore Music Meet 2017 performance line-up
The recent spate of violent terror attacks across the country has created a gloomy climate and a lingering shadow. But if there is one silver lining amidst these dark times, it’s the impending arrival of the third edition of the music festival, Lahore Music Meet.
Scheduled to take place on March 11 and 12 at Alhamra Arts Council, the festival will bring together musical minds from around the country and will continue to shape the debate on the needs of both the industry and artists.
As we inch closer to the date, we can now spend some time discussing the festival’s performance line-up which has been announced.
During the two-day event, artists who will take the stage include Poor Rich Boy, Javed Bashir, Slowspin, Ali Suhail, Hathi, Abdullah Siddiqui, Ehlerock, Janoobi Khargosh, Kashmir, Jaubi Keeray Makoray, TMPST, MU, Patari Tabeer, Saakin, Wooly and the Uke, Shajie, Shorbanoor, Wisdom Salad, Tonight Us, Noah’s Heark, Mehdi Maloof and Mohammad Aitzaz.
Natasha Noorani, founder of the Lahore Music Meet, talking to Instep explained how every performer on the playing bill has the ability to move listeners with their music.
Keeray Makoray (top) and Shorbanoor will return to the Lahore Music Meet stage this year as performers.
“We spend the entire year scouting for bands, going to gigs/jam sessions and very intently listening to new music that’s coming out of Pakistan,” said Noorani. “Alongside that, this year we opened up applications for all musicians to share their work with us. We had over 250 applicants from all over the country (and beyond) but ultimately had little over 20 slots. It was difficult but I’m really proud of the line-up we finalized.
I think it’s really exciting that we have Javed Bashir, Poor Rich Boy, Slowspin and Ali Suhail as our Indoor Showcase. Each one of these acts is a unique musical experience in the studio and (they) really know how to elevate their performances in a live setting. Producing these acts from their sound, set lists to stage design and aesthetics is extremely exciting considering they’re all such a distinct flavor of contemporary Pakistani music.
But what I’m really stoked about is our Outdoor Showcase. I feel like we’ve successfully managed to get a collection of artists who, to a large degree, capture some of the major soundscapes in Pakistan today.
I was lucky enough to stumble upon a Saakin gig in Islamabad in a bookshop. Jaubi had been recording some beautiful things (J Dilla covers!) with Piphany Productions. Wisdom Salad is actually a band that comprises of kids who were volunteering with LMM as a part of the sound team. We chanced upon MU playing live in Karachi as well. Hathi was recording a City Session with CityFM89 when we first heard them. Beautiful surprises hidden all over the country.
Then there are the acts that have been making stellar music for so long that we really want to see them on the LMM stage. Janoobi Khargosh is a manifestation of the brilliant mind of Waleed Ahmed. TMPST and Noah’s Heark and the young Abdullah Siddiqui represent the very cool, nuanced electronic scene in Pakistan. Mohammad Aizaz is a brilliant classical vocalist.
Each one of these acts made us feel something when we heard them first. And with live performances at LMM we like to create an environment where you can fall in love with a song instantly or connect with and find your new favorite band. LMM17 is a showcase of what might possibly get lost in the noise. We’re here to sift through that to find the magic.”
Lahore Music Meet co-founder, Zahra Paracha, while speaking to Instep, explained why artists such as Javed Bashir, Slowspin and Ali Suhail must be heard live.
“Javed Bashir is one of the greatest singers Pakistan has produced, with his musical performance illustrating his traditional vocal training skills in a contemporary light,” said Paracha. “While many bands seem to break up in Pakistan due to a wide variety of reasons, very few tend to reunite and Poor Rich Boy was fortunately one of them. Odd chords, harmonies and lyrics are all ingredients which prompted us to offer them a slot of their own. Slowspin is an amazing artist who came to my attention over the last couple of years. Her aesthetic style is perfectly showcased through her electronic music, which is an extremely difficult thing to pull off. This will be her first performance at LMM, and as such we want to create the perfect atmosphere to deliver her music in the right way to the audience.
It became clear that LMM should begin the process of innovating and producing new acts alongside showcasing existing ones. Ali Suhail has been a part of the music industry for a while but has shown a tremendous growth as a songwriter in the last couple of years. Through his act, we want to promote a culture of growth in the industry rather than a sense of satisfaction at a saturation point. For this particular portion of the event, it’s not about where you currently are in the industry, but rather a combination of your skills, attitude and direction in music. Professionalism is all about a constant state of learning and I hope that our line-up conveys that idea.
When it finally came down to it, we chose approximately twenty performances out of more than 250 applications. All of them represent the different faces of the lesser-known side of the music industry, and that’s precisely what we loved about them.”
Explaining what all artists share in common, Paracha stated on a parting note: “They have one thing in common which made us, as festival directors, choose them over all others. They all have a passion and drive to continue producing music in a country where it is far easier to give up. And the fostering of this passion is what can make or break the progress of this art form in Pakistan.”
Representing the glorious new age of music, these are artists who will, through this festival, have a chance to showcase their incredible talent to a large audience. Simultaneously, it will help dispel the notion that original music is not being made in Pakistan anymore. It is an incredible display of the kind of diversity and multiple sound landscapes that the independent music community has to offer. A lot of hard work and careful thought has gone into the construction of this third edition and anyone remotely interested in the music coming out of Pakistan, must make it a point to head to LMM next month.