Music’s fantasy Island
This remains a week submerged in blood-drenched evil terror activities with the latest attack emerging at a shrine in Sehwan in Sindh. Having claimed 77 lives and injured hundreds more, it is difficult to focus on anything good. Any effort to do so may seem callous and vulgar especially after what has been described in the press as “the deadliest in Pakistan since 2014”. But one must try anyway for the sake of sanity.
Our story therefore begins with singer-songwriter Zoe Viccaji whose latest musical endeavour is a vibrant and excellent music video, backed by an equally complementary sonic creation.
Directed by Meher Jaffri, the video of ‘Ishq Kinara’ sees Zoe essaying multiple roles with remarkable ease. Part music video, part theatrical production, it also traces the behind the scene effort that goes into any stage production as well as audience reaction. The subtle subtext will change as you revisit it.
Among her many avatars in this video is a hilarious depiction of an overenthusiastic fanboy that will have you grinning. Featuring the likes of Sunil Shankar and Kashif Hussain besides Zoe, it is a terrific addition to the repertoire of music videos that have erected a small but significant hope that despite the tumultuous times we live in, music and singles are still being made and with great care and effort.
Zoe is a performer and no video makes it as clear as this one. It wouldn’t be an overstatement to acknowledge that this is probably Zoe’s finest visual effort, personally speaking, since ‘Mera Bichara Yaar’ which was directed by Adnan Malik and released several years ago.
Coming back to this particular video, upon further investigation, one has discovered that for director Meher Jaffri, the video is a playful homage to “Commedia” which is “a professional form of theatre that began in Italy in the mid-16th century.” Some of her other influences include Charlie Chaplin and Bertolt Brecht, a poet, playwright, and theatre director.
Speaking about the thematic value of the song, Viccaji told Instep in an earlier conversation that it speaks of self-respect and self-reliance.
“‘Ishq Kinara’ basically talks about finding love within yourself and learning to love and respect yourself instead of relying on someone else for it. It’s in contradiction with the concept of Valentine’s Day where everyone talks about their valentine.”
Zoe Viccaji must be celebrated for not only playing shows whenever she is afforded the opportunity (such as the Lahooti Melo 2017 in Hyderabad) but for also releasing new music and new videos with regularity. The frequency with which songs like ‘Jaane Do’, ‘Ho Jao Azad’, ‘Dunya Jo Baso’ (feat. Irfan Ali Taj) and now ‘Ishq Kinara’ have released means her repertoire of music has evolved and is more inventive than any previous period.
Though ‘Ishq Kinara’ – if memory serves me well – first emerged during Coke Studio 6 when Zoe and Sumru Ag ryürüyen featured on the track, which was produced by Rohail Hyatt, the origin story of this tune is that it is an adaptation of the Turkish classic, ‘Üsküdara Giderken.’ As Zoe wrote on her Facebook, while talking to curious fans and well-wishers, the real origin of the song remains unclear since “there are at least twenty different versions of this song from different countries”.
With music produced by (Sounds of Kolachi superhero) Ahsan Bari and Karim Barolia, the sonic structure is actually complementing the visuals and while many will compare it to the original, it remains a superlative effort and a great example of teamwork and smart creative collaboration that is becoming a hallmark with new-age musicians.