Among this fine breed of musicians, there is one name that is very famous on the roads and in the Underground Scene of Peshawar, and that is Farhan Bogra. Farhan Bogra is the guy who actually has played a very substantial hand in the promotion of Rubab in the Underground, National and even international music scene. He is the one who has played Rubab in Qarar by Ismail and Junaid. He has also played Rubab for a Japanese band Rain in Eden.
Rubab is also known as the “lion of the instruments”, and Bogra has on it profile the credit to play the first ever Rubab Rock song (Rubkin) in the history. He is undoubtedly the Pioneer of fusing Rubab with modern day instruments. PakiUM recently did a sitting with this aspiring and talented Rubab Player aka Rubabist.
Q) How did you end up playing Rubab as today’s generation is more interested in modern day music equipments like Guitars.Drums etc?
Ans) Rubab is a cultural instrument of Pushto community. It is a thousands of years old instrument. Most people who play it are uneducated and the instrument was therefore neglected in the society. I had a Rubab with me which I was not interested in to play. One of my friends asked me to give it to him and I gave it to him without any hesitation. He took it home, but his father threw him out of the house and broke the Rubab. He stayed with me for two days. After two days his father called him and told him that he had a special gift for his son and he wanted his son to come back home.
My friend told me that it was a guitar. I was shocked when I heard this because his father was a respectable man in our society and he spat on our cultural instrument and preferred a western cultural instrument. From that day on I took that Rubab back, fixed it, learned it and started playing it with the aim that I would make this instrument so popular among the youth that everyone will have a Rubab on their shoulders like they carry guitars today. And today many upcoming bands are fusing guitar with Rubab.
Q) Well that is a whole lot of a story. Farhan, you played Rubab in Qarar. How did you come up with the idea of fusing Rubab with modern day rock and pop music?
Ans) Rubab has been played with Tabla, Matka and Dholak since decades. Therefore it was neglected because there was no innovation. I decided to bring a change as people always welcome a positive change and decided to fuse it with Guitar. I am the first one to introduce to the western music in 2006. And it worked for me as well as for others.
Q) Farhan, You have also toured India. Tell us about your experience with it ?
Ans) I went there in India for a peace conference and for the promotion of Pushto culture. I played Rubab there with Zerbaghali (Djembe) and Guitar.
Q) Was that after you had played in Qarar?
Ans) No, I actually went to India in 2009 and later played Rubab in Qarar in 2010.
Q) How did you end up playing Rubab in Ismail and Junaid’s Qarar?
Ans) Actually, they were playing Qarar in the lawn of IMS and I went up to them and I asked them that come on lets fuse this song with Rubab. They agreed and after we fused it people actually liked it. The intro in Qarar was the music for my song Shenai, but I decided to play it in Qarar.
Q) You also have a band named Khumariyaan. Tell us about it
Ans) Well, In 2007 I met Guitarist Amir Shafeeq. He and his friend Rahim Khan had a song named Khumar, I remixed that song with Rubab and played it with them in LUMS Olympiad. The song was a super hit with the Lahore audience even.
Afterwards I met Shiraz in 2007, who loves to play with beats and plays Djembe. He toured India with me and we decided to form Khumariyaan in 2010.
The Band Khumariyaan consists of
Aamir Shafeeq=Rythm Guitars.
Me = Rubab
Recently Sparlay joined us as a session player. He plays Lead guitars with us. We mostly play instrumentals.
Q) How was your experience in LUMS?
And) Well It was fabulous. I was the team leader of our band which was representing our institute IMS Peshawar in 2007, 08, 09 and 10. We were positioned as 4th,4th,3rd and 2nd respectively.
Q) Name some of your own songs or your bands’?
Ans) Shenai, Tamasha, Sakal, Sky High and Rubkin (Rubkin is the first ever Rubab rock song in history)
Video performance: Sakal by Khumariyan ft. Sparlay:
Q) How come you have not recorded these songs as all of these are fabulous?
Ans) Oh we are waiting for some handsome sponsors.
Q) Well Shenai is sung by a female vocalist. Is she also in your band?
Ans) No she is just featuring in Shenai. Her name is Rayan. I am looking forward to record Shenai with her.
Q) How did you come up with the idea of having a female vocalist? Because apart from that she sang it really well, KPK is going through a turmoil in social aspects.
Ans) Well yes it is true. Educated females are very shy to come forward. But things are changing now. We have Zeb and Haniya and others. Actually I created Shenai as an instrumental. Rayan loves to sing. So we called her in one of our random jam and we created lyrics. She actually sang it really well. So we decided to go ahead with her on Shenai.
Q) Have you taught Rubab internationally?
Ans) Yes, I am actually the first guy who has put a Rubab lesson on Youtube. Because of which a Japanese band contacted me and I played Rubab in one of their songs named Rumi.
Q) You seem to be a very sincere person to your country and culture, what do you think of the current music scenario of Pakistan? Is is satisfying according to you?
Ans) Copyrights are really an issue. All the hard work and innovation is wasted after someone else copies your work and presents it as his own. Government is also not supportive. We are a very talented country and have very talented musicians, but musicians here have no exposure due to Government’s negligence.
Q) What do you think of current entertainment situation in Pakistan? Is it bleak?
Ans) It was bleak in 2010, but now people are used to such conditions around us and we are seeing more concerts now. Youth also have a fear to practice music openly. I also used to play Rubab in a corner in IMS because of this fear.. (CHUCKLES),But inshaallah great days are coming.
Q) Tell us about your future plans?
Ans) I plan to promote my cultural instrument Rubab, want to write a book on it and currently I am looking for sponsors for recording and doing concerts in educational institutes of Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad.
Khumariyaan have lots of instrumentals and we are planning to enter into the industry with a bang inshaallah after we get a sponsor. I am also playing in the first ever hip hop Rubab song with a Peshawar based band. I have also played Bachana by Bilal Khan on Rubab. He thanked me for it through a message. I will also be featuring in a song by Saad Khalid called Sakoot.
Q) Well any message for your fans out there??