Music has hit a sour note, says shop owner -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Music has hit a sour note, says shop owner

PESHAWAR: He stood defiantly against his family and conservative social norms long enough to create a niche for himself, but now it appears that technology’s rapidly-changing face has left him cold. This is how the story of Masood Ahmed Paracha, owner of Teen Beat, the largest and oldest audio music shop of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, unfolds.

The shop, now in its 32nd year of business, is situated on the University Road. The shop is not that much visible and one needs to make quite an effort to search its dusty signboard; however, once inside, the music lovers find shelves upon shelves stacked up with a surfeit of cassettes, CDs, long play (LP) records and MP3s.

Paracha, who comes from Kohat district, started this shop in 1978 and soon it morphed into a booming music business in this conservative region. Paracha told The Express Tribune that his family being well off and religiously inclined tried to stop him from entering music business, but he did not take the opposition into account.

“At that time I introduced collections of Rehman Baba, Ghani Khan, Hamaza Baba, Ajmal Khattak and others, since they were hugely popular in the early eighties,” Paracha told The Express Tribune.

Paracha, a music enthusiast himself, recalls the evolution of music industry from RPM records to cassettes, CD, MP3 and now internet. Teen Beats not only catered to traditional Pashto stuff, but also became first port of call for English music lovers. It also boasted a very good collection of Urdu classical, semi-classical and film songs.

“People from far-flung areas of the province as well as from Afghanistan visited this shop for music,” he said.

Autographs from prominent singers and musicians such as Mohammad Rafi, R.D. Burman, Jagjit Singh, Noushad, Manna Dey, Reba McEntire, Nayyara Noor et el are prominently displayed inside the shop.

“I started this shop with around 150 music records, but now it has at least 10,000 CDs, 10,000 cassettes and around 14,000 LPs on its shelves. This is the largest audio collection in this province,” he enthuses.

Paracha recalls that once a Voice of Germany (VOG) team dropped in at his shop and asked for English music. They were simply left dumbfounded with his collection in such a remote part of the world. So much so, they did a story on his shop.

For Paracha, music business is in decline. In days gone by, people purchased music and now it is downloaded. Families associated with music are not teaching this art to their children.

He also catalogues the history of the Pashto music and says that first ghazal singers Ahmed Khan and Sabz Ali Khan were popular and were followed by Khayal Mohammad and Hidayatullah. Then came Sardar Ali Takar and Haroon Baacha, but now the new generation listens to old songs rendered into pop. “Once music was a thing to listen, but now it is watched. There is less attention to music, and much more to dance and video,” he said.

Born in 1951, Paracha pursued a degree in MA Urdu after doing his BSc, but left it incomplete. “Music was my sole passion and that was why I opened this shop,” he said. His family is still not happy and keeps urging him to “pack up this un-Islamic business”. However, he is a disillusioned man after all and says that he gave his best to this business but gained nothing in return.
Source: The Express Tribune
Date:3/11/2011