The music of Pakistan includes diverse elements ranging from music from various parts of South Asia as well as Central Asian, Persian, Turkish, Arabic and modern day Western popular music influences. With these multiple influences, a distinctive Pakistani sound has been formed. There are many genres of Pakistani Music right from Ghazal to Qawwalis to Sufi to Rock to Modern.
Pakistan has produced many artists who has not only shined in their own country but have also made a mark around the Globe. Musicians like Atif Aslam, Ali Zafar, Strings, Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, Call the Band and many more have successfully carved their own niche in the world music industry.
For example Atif Aslam who was once criticized for his music is now one of the most successful personalities of Pakistan. Not only has he worked in Bollywood and appreciated by the audiences in India but three of his songs were also featured in an Hollywood movie “Man Push Cart”. Atif is the 3rd Pakistani singer after Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and Strings to be featured in any Hollywood movie. He is now working on an album “The Dreamer Awake” in collaboration with Guns N’ Roses. He is one man to have made the world dance on his tunes. Rahat Fateh Ali Khan has given uncountable hits to Bollywood and has also contributed in Hollywood. His first contribution came in 1995 for a movie “Dead Man Walking” where he was in a subordinate role for his uncle Late. Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan Sahab. In 2002 he worked with an American composer James Horner for the soundtrack of “The Four Feathers”. His vocals were featured recently for Mel Gibson starrer “Apocalypto”.These musicians not only are master in their own genre but have tried their hands on different styles as well.
Like Ali Zafar who one was known as the “Prince of Pop” proved that he is one of the most versatile singer of the generation with his Sufi and Eastern Classical renditions at the Coke Studio. Zeb and Haniya, which is the only popular female band of Pakistan has also experimented with their music basically a step to bridge the language barrier, not only have they sung mostly in Urdu but have also opted for folks in Pashto and Turkish languages.
Pakistani Media and Music Journalism
The Media or Music Journalism as it is called has also played an important role in making their artists known to the world. Music Journalism has grown with the growth of Pakistan’s pop music industry. It was quite uncommon in the country until in 1985 when Karachi’s tabloid “The Star” started printing reviews by Farrukh Moriani who is considered to be Pakistan’s first “Pop Critique”. From then onwards Music Journalism emerged and artists started gaining mainstream popularity.
But amidst of all this rise and shine, Music Production have always remained in shadows. Producers have always been denied their due credit. It is sad that the country has only few producers who has the core knowledge of the music and has also done a lot for the benefit of music industry. Producers like Mekaal Hasan who is one of the most talented musicians and has produced hits like “Aadat” for Jal the Band, has never really gained that much of an honor which he deserves. Rohail Hyatt who was once a member of Vital Signs and has also produced all the albums of the band and also of other artists like Ali Azmat, was not in the public eye until and unless he became a project in charge or Producer of Coke Studio which with its diversified range of music has taken the world by storm.
It is good to see when in the times where Pakistan is literally fighting with internal politics and extremism, people like them have managed to keep their country’s head high with their work. And have given a reason to people to speak of their Country’s musical culture out loud which is something to be proud of.
– Kartika Sharma