Posted in Events, Hopeless, Music

All kinds of madness

After a very weird and violent Friday, ‘resilient’ Karachi is back to ‘normal’.

Karachi has no choice but to do so. Ordinary people have to go to work and life must go on, despite the colossal damage to so many lives and property.

Much has been said in the papers, local as well as international, about blasphemy, the film that mocks Islam and the Prophet Muhammed, the protests that have ensued, the demands for a worldwide ban and censorship on anything that ridicules any religion, so I won’t go into any of that.

Suffice it to say that we, along with the majority of Pakistanis, stayed at home and watched helplessly on tv, as mobs gathered after Friday prayers and proceeded to break, burn, hurl stones. The police, outnumbered as they were, tried valiantly to bring the situation under control, but the mobs were too caught up in their own frenzy.

Five famous cinema houses were gutted, and a couple of banks burnt down too. Not sure about the exact number of people who lost their lives, but hundreds of people were injured.

Amidst the pall of gloom and the outrage at being held hostage at the hands of a few and at the State’s complicitness in furthering the aims of the miscreants/protesters, a bunch of people came out of their homes on Sunday and set themselves to cleaning up the mess in the aftermath of what can only be called a storm. Here’s a glimpse of what they did.

And while Pakistan busily loses points in the world in so many different ways, I thought I’d share with you one Pakistani who ploughs on with his brilliant music. Dubbed ‘the guitar prodigy from Karachi’, Usman Riaz began playing classical piano at the age of 6, and took up the guitar at age 16. Now, at 21, he has two albums under his belt, the first being ‘Flashes and Sparks’, and the latest being ‘Circus in the Sky’.

It was his video ‘Firefly’ that caught my attention sometime last year. Unfortunately, since Youtube is banned in my country since last week (a genius move by the government to stop people from watching the idiotic blasphemous film) I cannot link you to it, but if you search for it and have a listen, I promise you a fascinating few minutes.

I also cannot link you to his solo performance at the TEDGlobal 2012 where he got a standing ovation, and where he finally got to jam with Preston Reed, one of the guitarists whose work he learnt from while watching him play on Youtube.

But what I CAN link you to is this very uplifting video of Usman at a Walmart in Florida. I watched this today. Such fun. Take a look at a different kind of mob altogether.

Posted in Music

Blown away! (finally!)

Now THIS…my dear Single Malt Monkey….is the definition of Coke Studio awesomeness!

Feel free to head-bang your way through this number.

Nationwide opinion seems to be that Coke Studio has been a bit ho hum this season, with the exception of Charkha Naulakha. I mean, the songs have been easy enough on the ear……but we now expect quite a bit more in terms of edginess. ‘Neray Aah’ has delivered on all fronts! I LOVE the way both Farhad and Rachel seem immersed in belting out the lyrics…with such…..feeling! And omg, that girl can scream!

This is seriously good stuff people.

Here is something about the band called ‘Overload’, how they came into being, what set them apart, and what happened to them subsequently.

And watch the ‘behind the scenes’ bit to know what the song means, how they put it together, and how Rachel overcame her issues with pronouncing the Punjabi 🙂

Posted in Music

Dil-e-nadaan tujhe hua kia hai? (what is UP with you, silly ol’ heart?)

After being serenaded in the wee hours of the morning with a ghazal by Abida Parveen I have begun to rethink my lack of enthusiasm for her voice.

Good music is good music after all, and whether I consider pirs and murshids to be flaky or not is irrelevant 😉

Sometimes the time of day greatly affects your receptivity and enjoyment of a particular piece of music. And the mood dictates what meaning you’ll glean from the lyrics.

I happened to be listening to this one when the first light of dawn was just about to break. The mood was mellow and the house was quiet….and Abida finally managed to work her magic on me….

That was nice.

With my heart agreeably melted, I let my guard down further when someone posted a different song on a music group on Facebook. I clicked on the link, and was surprised once again by my receptivity. Does this mean I’m finally acquiring some ‘culture’?

But I’m throwing down the gauntlet with this one. Written by Ghalib and beautifully sung by a woman who imbues her voice with her soul.

I feel less like a neanderthal already! 😀