Interview with Peshawar based duo – Ismail and Junaid


In the last decade Pakistani music industry has produced some new,young and very talented musicians. Among of these are greats like Ismail and Junaid from PeshawarAtif Aslam, Jal, Fuzon, Aaroh, E.P, Rahat Fateh Ali Khan and many others. Then in late 2000s there came a totally new generation of musicians which included Bilal Khan, Qayaas, Pukaar and one more which we are going to introduce you today with – Ismail and Junaid.

Ismail and Junaid actually hail from Peshawar,Pukhtunkhua. Coming from here very few could have imagined that they would catch any attention in the country, especially with a song that was in Pushto. Today many of us listen to Qarar,even though we do not understand what does “Qarar ra rasha” mean.

Well this explains what good music is. Even if you do not understand what it is,you just want to keep on listening to it and as long as you do not get totally enthralled in the notes.

Well PakiUM has done a sitting with this new talented duo from Peshawar, Ismail and Junaid.

Pre Script:Those of you who have not heard Ismail and Junaid’s song Qarar, Here is the link to video!

PakiUM: Being a Peshawar based band,what difficulties did you have in pursuing your passion??

Ismail and Junaid: There are many barriers here,From appreciation to light threats. Half of the people here love music but hate musicians,we have no opportunities here, no platform. And the biggest issue is piracy laws.You see our song has been copied by 3 singers and we can’t do anything about it, there is no such thing as copyrights here.


PakiUM: How did you come up with the idea of fusing local pushto music with western music, as you have done in your famous song Qarar??

Ismail and Junaid: Well I used to play guitar and a guy in our university used to play rabab. So I met him and suddenly it struck me that why didn’t we fuse these two in a composition. We also fused an Arabic instrument djembi which is usually played with belly dancers. So combination of these three from different backgrounds gave a unique touch to the song. And we, Ismail and Junaid, believe in innovation. Other than that, over the past few years real Pashto music has been losing its touch, and its perception has changed. Many people didn’t like hearing the same typical style. So we tried putting up a totally different and new composition to it which was never tried before i.e fusion of Rabab, guitar and djembi. And it positively brought a revolutionary change in Pashto music scene! You see that just like every one picked guitar after Aadat. Similarly after Qarar, people are trying to fuse guitar and rabab together.

We also want to bring change in the general stereotype about our city,people and province. We, Ismail and Junaid, want to change the general perception about Pathans.


PakiUM: What Qarar is all about??

Ismail and Junaid: Qarar is about praising and promising the one you love.

Ismail,Junaid and Farhan Bogra

PakiUM: Are you guys planning anything about launching an album?

Ismail and Junaid: Actually we come song by song, Because it is hard to study and manage music side by side.


PakiUM: So tell us about your future plans.

Ismail and Junaid: We have many projects coming up of different genres, ranging from rock to sufi, folk and alternative. Our next song is alternative folk (the genre introduced by us) song called “Ranra” which means light and the lyrics of song are random and are about comparing love with the wonders and beauty of nature, It talks about hope and revolution as well. We have also planned an album, consisting of 3 Pashto, 4 Urdu and 3 English songs.


PakiUM: Are your family and friends supportive in this regard?

Ismail and Junaid: Yes Friends are very supportive. They are the main reason of our motivation .


PakiUM: What about the family??

Ismail and Junaid: Family troubles are everywhere, but when they knew that we came up with something good and worth listening they became supportive. Because no one would agree to you unless you show them what you are capable of.


PakiUM: What difficulties do you have in continuing music with your studies?

Ismail and Junaid: The only thing is Time management. It is hard to devote time to both. (chuckles) It is the problem with all the young bands!!

Ismail and Junaid at LUMS

PakiUM: Are your teachers supportive in this regard?

Ismail and Junaid: Very much! They always motivate us.


PakiUM: How did you learn your guitar skills Junaid? And how you and Ismail got together and thought of creating a band?

Junaid Javed of Peshawar based Band Junaid: Ismail has a God-gifted voice and had no music background. As far as I am concerned, I learned guitar myself without any teacher.YouTube helped being the best teacher.

And how we met??

Well to cut it into short, we got together in our college. We started our journey with hard rock, but by looking at the local market we shifted to pashto by presenting it in a completely different way.


PakiUM: Did you guys receive any appreciation from other cities of Pakistan especially from your underground counterparts there??

Ismail and Junaid: Not only locally! It has been internationally!!


PakiUM: Wow! Tell us about it!!

Ismail Khan of Peshawar Based BandIsmail:Well,when Jal had a concert in Peshawar, Gohar came to us and said the words which we cannot forget. He said “I am a big fan of Qarar,good work boys”.

And I saw videos of Americans dancing to Qarar.

Junaid: One of my friends went to a party in Bangkok,and to his utter amazement the English DJ turned on Qarar. So its a big honour for us that even Goras are liking our song!!

And not to mention that Qarar gets played on Radio channels all over Pakistan !!


PakiUM:It is no doubt an outstanding song,well any message for your fans out there?

Ismail and Junaid: We love you!!! And whatever we are now is because of support from you all!!

And if you can join us at

Interview conducted by Syed Mujtaba Hasan for

Pictures Courtesy : Ismail and Junaid Facebook Page and QASIM ALI

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