In Conversation With Zahra Paracha – A Rising Star In Pakistani Music

By Sonya Rehman Singer and music producer, Zahra Paracha, found her refuge in music from a young age. Having endured a personal setback which affected her deeply for years, the artiste sought an outlet where she’d be able to express herself without fear and judgment. Words felt pointless, almost trivializing her pain, but it was … More In Conversation With Zahra Paracha – A Rising Star In Pakistani Music

The Wonderkid Making Waves in Pakistani Music

Hasan Raheem was in fifth grade when he experienced the tangible magic of live performances. Standing on stage and belting out lyrics to a popular dance track by the British-Indian band, RDB (an acronym for rhythm, dhol and bass), Raheem felt his heart surge with excitement as he watched the crowd leave their seats to … More The Wonderkid Making Waves in Pakistani Music

Meesha Shafi Turns Up The Heat With Her Latest Song

By Sonya Rehman Released this month, Meesha Shafi’s latest song, Hot Mango Chutney Sauce, is every bit a sizzling ditty with a killer music video to boot. But don’t be fooled, as always, with Shafi’s music – it has a strong message woven into its fun and very danceable, electro pop tune. Produced by Abdullah Siddiqui, a young electronic … More Meesha Shafi Turns Up The Heat With Her Latest Song

Weighing In On The Future Of Pakistani Music With Zeeshan Parwez

By Sonya Rehman Always ahead of the game, Zeeshan Parwez has worn many hats throughout his fascinating career in Pakistan’s music scene. While some would have remained in their comfort zones, Parwez has continued to push the envelope, as a musician, video director and an animator. A cerebral, humble and hardworking artiste, Parwez’s purpose lies solely … More Weighing In On The Future Of Pakistani Music With Zeeshan Parwez

Hitting The Right Notes: Pakistani Music’s Comeback

By Sonya Rehman After refining her craft in music production in Canada for five years, Haniya Aslam, returned to Pakistan last year to pick up from where she left off. A part of the local music scene for over a decade, Aslam thinks that the new phase in Pakistani music, that’s swiftly unfolding, is an exciting … More Hitting The Right Notes: Pakistani Music’s Comeback

Back To Their Roots: Krewella Talks Pakistan And Collaborations In Their Homeland

By Sonya Rehman         Popular electronic dance music (EDM) sister-duo, Jahan Yousaf and Yasmine Yousaf (of the band, Krewella), revealed that their recent collaboration with Pakistani artistes for the music series, Coke Studio, was “unlike any other creative experience” they had ever had. Teaming up with Riaz Qadri, a classical music maestro, and his son, Ghulam … More Back To Their Roots: Krewella Talks Pakistan And Collaborations In Their Homeland

Coke Studio Explorer Unearths Pakistan’s Hidden Talent

By Sonya Rehman Pakistan’s biggest and most popular annual music platform, Coke Studio, under the banner of its exciting new initiative – Coke Studio Explorer – cuts through the mainstream and brings previously undiscovered music talent to the public eye. Having released a grand total of five tracks this month, each song highlights Pakistan’s cultural … More Coke Studio Explorer Unearths Pakistan’s Hidden Talent

Feeling The Music: A Pakistani Band’s Concert For The Deaf

By Sonya Rehman Concerts in Pakistan that are inclusive of deaf individuals are close to none. However, there have been a sprinkle of events that were specifically organized for the deaf overseas. In 1984, for instance, the legendary Prince, once performed to crowd of over 2,000 deaf and blind students at a college in Washington, … More Feeling The Music: A Pakistani Band’s Concert For The Deaf

Pakistani Singer Highlights Trans Lives In Latest Single

By Sonya Rehman It’s a fun and catchy little ditty, but on closer inspection, Madam, the latest single by Pakistani musician, Jimmy Khan, shines the spotlight on a rather grim issue: local society’s apathetic attitude towards its transgender community. But it was only after the song was recorded that Khan started considering highlighting the lives of transgenders … More Pakistani Singer Highlights Trans Lives In Latest Single

Pakistani Music Maestro Teams Up With Grammy-Winning Producer

By Sonya Rehman In perhaps one of the most exciting developments in the global music sphere, a Pakistani classical music giant, Ustad Naseeruddin Saami, will be collaborating on a multi-CD album with Ian Brennan, an Irish-American record producer who won a Grammy Award in 2011 for the Best World Music Album. “[Saami] is a world class vocalist, both virtuosic and soulful … More Pakistani Music Maestro Teams Up With Grammy-Winning Producer

A Platform For New Music Talent In Pakistan

By Sonya Rehman Pakistan’s largest music streaming site, Patari, recently launched Patari Tabeer, a project that has stirred up the local music scene thanks to its unique line-up of artists from Islamabad to Sindh, and beyond. With its sixth and final song soon-to-be released, the project brings unexposed talent from humble backgrounds to centre stage: a tea-seller, … More A Platform For New Music Talent In Pakistan

Music Has No Borders

By Sonya Rehman Pakistani documentary filmmaker, Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, known for her big Oscar win in 2012 for Saving Face (a documentary about acid attack survivors in Pakistan), has once again brought a spellbinding story to the fore – Song of Lahore. Highlighting eight incredible Pakistani classical musicians, who go by the name of Sachal Jazz … More Music Has No Borders

“Music Was a Secret That I Hid From My Father”

By Sonya Rehman Hariprasad Chaurasia needs no introduction: he is a living legend in the field on Indian classical music. In an up close and personal interview with the maestro, he tells Masala! Magazine about his journey to becoming one of the most celebrated flutists in the world today. Panditji, is it true your father … More “Music Was a Secret That I Hid From My Father”

Shehzad Roy: Fighting for Change in Pakistani Education

By Sonya Rehman Last month, well-known Pakistani pop star, Shehzad Roy made an appearance at Harvard to talk about music, activism and his new documentary series, Chal Parha (Urdu for: Come, Teach), which highlights the extensive issues plaguing Pakistan’s education system. Having visited over 200 schools across the country, in an interview with DAWN, Roy … More Shehzad Roy: Fighting for Change in Pakistani Education

Pakistan’s Youth Stirred by Music with a Dash of Social Satire

By Sonya Rehman In Pakistan, young musicians are using music to vocalize their thoughts on the charade that is Pakistani politics. Two bands in particular, Topi Drama and Beygairat Brigade, have recently released songs that touch on the current state of affairs in the country. Topi Drama members Sohail Qureshi, Arafat Mazhar and Kenny Zeerick … More Pakistan’s Youth Stirred by Music with a Dash of Social Satire

Pakistani Duo Zeb and Haniya Cross Musical and Geographic Borders Alike

By Sonya Rehman In 2004, cousins and musical collaborators Zebunnisa Bangash and Haniya Aslam — whose families hail from the city of Kohat in the Pakistani province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa — released their first single, “Chup.” At the time, the Pakistani music scene was becoming thoroughly saturated with primarily mainstream pop music. But, encouraged by … More Pakistani Duo Zeb and Haniya Cross Musical and Geographic Borders Alike

Old School Rock

By Sonya Rehman Pakistan’s music industry is currently at odds. While some would scoff at the term ‘industry,’ stating that the term ‘scene’ would perhaps make far more sense – given the present state of local music, the fact is that the local music industry/scene – just as Pakistani cinema – has seen its glory … More Old School Rock

Qayaas Make Progress in Pakistan

By Sonya Rehman Qayaas, the progressive-rock band from Islamabad, are bucking the trend for Pakistani rock bands by proving that their music can work in overseas markets. Founded in 2008 by lead guitarist Khurram Waqar, and currently consisting of Waqar, vocalist Umair Jaswal, bassist Shaheryar Ghayas, and drummer Kamran Farooque, Qayaas (which translates as ‘Deliberation’) … More Qayaas Make Progress in Pakistan

String Master

By Sonya Rehman 21-year-old, Karachi-based musician, Usman Riaz, made a quiet entrance into the local, Pakistani music scene in 2011  by way of his debut single, ‘Fire Fly,’ which fast became a viral sensation following its release by EMI Pakistan, who signed on Riaz when he was just 18. With the release of his first … More String Master

Music with Fizz

By Sonya Rehman Since its inception in 2008, Coke Studio has come a long way in Pakistan. Currently in its 5th season, the show has featured contemporary and classical Pakistani musicians sharing the stage, collaborating on songs, blending different genres in a fusion of Eastern and Western melodies. From mainstream artists such as; Ali Azmat, … More Music with Fizz

A Pakistani Rapper Breaks New Ground

By Sonya Rehman For mainstream hip-hop fans used to hearing lyrics about East-West rivalries and other American concerns, Adil Omar rhymes in unfamiliar territory. The Islamabad, Pakistan, native gives a shout-out to cricketer Shahid Afridi and riffs on his country’s traffic jams and weather (“You wonder why I’m cocky, ‘cos I stay burning hotter than … More A Pakistani Rapper Breaks New Ground

The Rhythm of an Ustaad: In Conversation with a Maestro

By Sonya Rehman Seated in a white cotton shalwar kameez, Ustaad Naseer-ud-Din Saami reaches across and lowers the volume of his electronic tamboura. But he doesn’t lower the volume completely. Throughout the interview, the soothing, intoxicating hum of the electronic tamboura remains consistent, giving Ustaad Saami’s rich voice a certain ethereal quality. He has been … More The Rhythm of an Ustaad: In Conversation with a Maestro

A Tale of Two Cities

A Tale of Two Cities By Sonya Rehman and Khaver Siddiqi “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times”. Charles Dickens’ literary masterpiece, ‘A Tale of Two Cities’ begins with these words. Though the novel has a theme of self-sacrifice and resurrection, the starting line of the novel can be applied … More A Tale of Two Cities

Introducing ’13’

By Sonya Rehman While some critics would subscribe to the notion that the local music scene’s growth curve has tipped its way into an abyss of ambivalence, the fact of the matter is that currently, a majority aren’t really aware – nor bothered – about the breaking and entering of music acts, both old and … More Introducing ’13’

Albums Galore

By Sonya Rehman This year – just before the curtains fall on the year 2008 – a whole new barrage of Pakistani music albums are set to be released. Hadiqa Kiyani, the Mekaal Hasan Band, Raeth, Kaavish, Mauj and Rubberband seem to be running against time, in a bid to take out their albums either … More Albums Galore

Coke Addict

By Sonya Rehman Who would’ve thought a multinational would wind up launching a project which would bring together a variety of local musicians together – on one sole platform – to sing, dabble in musical experimentation and fuse their genres of music as one? To me, like many others, it comes as quite a shocker … More Coke Addict

“Session playing isn’t all that great” – Waqar Ahmed Khan

By Sonya Rehman Think about it; the vocalist – to the average listener and viewer – is always in the spotlight. Therefore, the vocalist’s persona always seems far more ‘tangible’ somehow, rather than the guy who holds the bass guitar, the flute, the saxophone, or the guy seated behind the drumming kit. Audiences can be … More “Session playing isn’t all that great” – Waqar Ahmed Khan

“In this Sufi line of work your love, passion and devotion is all-consuming” – Saieen Zahoor

By Sonya Rehman It all started with a dream. A dream which Saieen – at the tender age of seven – could not yet comprehend the implication of. And it was this very dream, which changed young Saieen’s life forever. Seated in the Rafi Peer Workshop’s office in Lahore on a humid Saturday afternoon, Saieen … More “In this Sufi line of work your love, passion and devotion is all-consuming” – Saieen Zahoor

Peer and the Purpose

By Sonya Rehman For the first time in Pakistan, a podium for the classical music maestros has finally been provided. And we’re talking a pretty big podium here. Launched this year by the Rafi Peer Theatre Workshop (RPTW), ‘Peer Artist Management’ (PAM) brings forth a substantial goody bag for the country’s renowned (and upcoming) classical … More Peer and the Purpose

Melody Replay

By Sonya Rehman Released in 2007, in India, ‘Charkha’ – Rahat Fateh Ali Khan’s debut album – has been met with standing ovations…both at home, and abroad. Comprising of eleven soul-stirring compositions, Charkha takes its cue from the intense, Eastern-classical genre of music. But that being stated, Rahat’s sophomore effort is anything but over-powering. Just … More Melody Replay

Music Sets You Free

By Sonya Rehman What do you get when you take two Pakistani Marxists, a guitar and satirical poetry? The answer: a toe-tapping number sautéed in irony that hits close to home. Penned by the eminent, Leftist Urdu poet, Habib Jalib, ‘Main Nay Kaha’ was written “in response to a conversation he [Jalib] had with Hafiz … More Music Sets You Free

…And the Verdict is

By Sonya Rehman In the early 2000s, two thoroughly charismatic young men released a song called ‘Aadat’ which put the Pakistani music scene in quite a little tizzy. Sung by frontman Atif Aslam, along with a close friend – and guitarist – Gohar Mumtaz, ‘Jal’ (the name of the band) experienced national recognition which truly … More …And the Verdict is