Following the success of his work on Coke Studio’s Season 8, his music for the award-winning biopic “Manto”, and his breathtaking single ‘Kithay Nain Na Jorin’last year,the soulful and multifacetedmusician Ali Sethi has released his first song and video of the year on 05thFebruary 2016: “MahiMera”, a collaboration with folk artist Jamaldin,with a video directed by acclaimedinternational filmmaker Umar Riaz.
The event was opened with an introduction on the evening by the host which was followed by the official premiere and screening of the song, “MeraMahi”. The host then invited on-stage Ali Sethi, video director Umar Riaz, folk artist Jamaldin and music producer Saad Sultan for a panel discussion, where they spoke about their experience and efforts with “MeraMahi” and how a raw idea was turned into reality. Jamaldin also enthralled the attendees with a live performance. The panel discussion was concluded by a question and answer session. The event was well attended by musicians, artists, educationalistsand media personalities alike, including AtifAslam, FarhadHumayun, Jimmy Khan, Sara Haider, AdeelHashmi, Fariha Pervez, Jamal Rehman, Mehreen Syed and Omair Rana to name a few along with members of the esteemed media.
The lyrics of “MahiMera”expound the notion of “hijr-o-malal”,or yearning for one’s beloved; a theme of lament that is interpreted through the ecstatic beat of a dhol and a euphoric melody. Producer and arranger Saad Sultan (‘LaiyanLaiyan’, ‘Kithay Nain Na Jorin’) has enhanced this dynamic with subtle layers of synth and guitar, encapsulating a distinctivenew genreof progressive folk music.
The video was collaborativelyconceptualized by Umar Riaz and Ali Sethi and shot in artistJamaldin’s village of Hussaingarh.
Speaking about “MahiMera” and his collaboration with Jamaldin and Umar Riaz, Ali Sethi has said, “I first heard Jamal at a wedding three years ago in Shergarh, my maternal grandfather’s ancestral village, and I responded immediately to the lehek and soz in his voice – he is a very charismatic singer and I knew I had to record Jamal in a studio and bring his music to a wider audience. I thought of Umar for the video because I wanted his eye – a curious but sympathetic eye. I wanted the video to enact the mood and temperament of the song without becoming sentimental or resorting to formulas of ‘rural landscaping’.”
Umar Riaz adds: “For MahiMera, I didn’t want to have a glossy plot-based presentation of rural life. We wanted to get a real sense of the people and the place. I took a lot of cues from the music, from elemental aspects such as the dhol as a driving force and the classic sense of Punjabi exuberanceintrinsic to the song; also a sense of searching for the ‘mahi’ and how this search can generate euphoria from melancholy. It serves as a neat metaphor for the role of music in that community which creates true joy out of what is mostly a poverty-stricken place. That idea guided my application of filming techniques to our subject matter.”
Ali Sethi is a Lahore-born writer and musician. A graduate of Harvard College, he is the author of the acclaimed debut novel ‘The Wish Maker’ and a contributor to The New York Times op-ed page. Ali is also a classically trained vocalist. He made his singing debut on Season 8 of Coke Studio Pakistan and was featured on the soundtracks of Mira Nair’s ‘The Reluctant Fundamentalist’ (2013) and SarmadKhoosat’s ‘Manto’ (2015). Presently Ali is making a documentary film and working on his second book.
Mahi Mera Credits:
Song produced, mixed and mastered by Saad Sultan
Guitars and bass by Amir Azhar
Dhol by PeeranDitta and Chhabba
Harmonium by UmairHasan
Directed by : Umar Riaz
Song Produced by Saad Sultan
Song Arrangement: Ali Sethi and Saad Sultan
Production Manager: Waqar Peter Gill
Assistant Camera :MasoodFarid
Colourist: Sohail Azad at Checkpost
Special Thanks : Syed Mohammed Mohsin, JugnuMohsin
Shot on location in Shergarh and Hussaingarh, Punjab, Pakistan
the music video can be viewed here:
Mahi MeraMahi Mera( Official Music Video) – Ali Sethi and Jamaldin.Directed by : Umar RiazSong Produced by Saad SultanSong Arrangement: Ali Sethi and Saad SultanProduction Manager: Waqar Peter GillAssistant Camera : Masood FaridGrip/Electrician: Haider Colourist: Sohail Azad at CheckpostSpecial Thanks : Syed Mohammed Mohsin, Jugnu MohsinShot on location in Shergarh and Hussaingarh, Punjab, Pakistan
Posted by Ali Sethi on Friday, 5 February 2016