Here come two intoxicating and mesmerising Qawwali tracks from Rohail Hayat’s Coke Studio. Qawwali is a Sufi musical tradition that stretches back more than 700 years.
The roots of Qawwali can be traced back to 8th century Persia (today’s Iran and Afghanistan). During the first major migration from Persia, in the 11th century, the musical tradition of Sema migrated to South Asia, Turkey and Uzbekistan. Amir Khusro Dehelvi of the Chisti order of Sufis is credited with fusing the Persian and Indian musical traditions to create Qawwali as we know it today in the late 13th century in India.
Fareed Ayaz and Abu Mohammed belong to the Qawwal Bachchon ka Gharana. Their lineage descends directly from that of Mian Samat Ibrahim, a disciple of Amir Khusro, the renowned 13thcentury poet and musician. Centuries later, these brothers are still proudly rendering the ancient art form and are widely considered to be one of the best qawwal troupes in the world.
Fareed Ayaz and Abu Mohammed have worked hard to win the respect of listeners both young and old alike. In 1973 when Fareed Ayaz decided to form his own qawwali troupe, his father Munshi Raziuddin left his partner Manzoor Niazi and joined his son’s party along with Abu Muhammed. The early years were not easy, but they persevered, combining their integrity to the art form with sheer hard work. Gradually the troupe started garnering acclaim as listeners began appreciating both the depth of their kalaams and their remarkable skill.
Adeel uz Zafar is an emerging contemporary artist from Pakistan who is deeply committed to creative expression through experimentation. Born in 1975 in Karachi, Pakistan, Adeel completed his BFA from National College of Arts (NCA) Lahore in 1998, he later returned to Karachi and joined Karachi School of Arts as an instructor.
Adeel started his early career as an illustrator that gave him considerable experience of working with the finest and reputable publishing houses in Pakistan, and provided him the opportunity to make his contributions to a multitude of academic curriculum text books. He mentions his sojourn in the suburbs of Gilgit momentous, where he went as a national illustration consultant for Northern Areas Education Project. The unavailability of conventional art material in that rural and remote area led him to investigate into substitutes for paints and surfaces. Having developed the engraving technique on the exposed photographic sheet by using paper cutter, he scratched drawings onto them mostly based on empirical observation and by modifying them in his signature graphic style. This is something which he considers, has made his place in the contemporary Pakistani art scene.
Discourse (Diptych) - Engraved Drawing on Vinyl
He joined Indus Valley School of Art in 2008 where he exhibited his work, almost after a complete decade from his first college display, in the IVSA Faculty show. The show at V.M. Art Gallery, Karachi in 2009 was a turning point in Adeel’s career which catapulted him into the league of emerging artists of Pakistan. He came up with a humongous scale this time, retaining his hold on the meticulous skill and the objects he made an illustration history with. These props were singular, fluffed cuddly toys, very symbolically wrapped in gauze bandage. He engraved them on large adjoined pieces of plastic vinyl sheet coated with emulsion and acrylic gel. The small toy was blown up to a monstrous size with a pitch black background, and the intricately manifested concealing weave of the cloth opened many connotations regarding furtive and ambiguous identity.
This style and technique was further experimented through a group show of four artists at Art Chowk-the Gallery, Karachi, titled ‘Being a Man in Pakistan’ (2009) – which has initiated a dialogue for the artist to reflect upon various issues, both social and political at times out of the box.
The Lion At Rest - Engraved Drawing on Plastic Vinyl Surface
The Lion At Rest - Details
The Lion At Rest - Details
Adeel associates his childhood memories and his perpetual dealing with subjects for children as the core of his imagery development. He symbolizes this bandaging manipulation as the delusive ipseity. He alters the dainty characteristic by transforming the identity of the object, driving it into a rather serious orientation. Whereas, his flamboyant command over the painstaking patterned strokes may appear principled to miniaturesque craftsmanship.
Recently, Adeel has participated in both national and international art exhibits such as the RM Naeem Residency, Lahore, Pakistan, ‘On the brink’ at Fost Gallery, Singapore and at Slick Art, Paris. He has also been selected for an exhibition showcasing a decade of a new wave of Pakistani artists who have contributed to the ever growing diverse vocabulary of contemporary art that has evolved from South East Asia ‘The Rising Tide – new directions in art from Pakistan 1990-2010’.
Adeel uz Zafar currently works and resides with his wife Nehdia and two children in Karachi.
Persona - Engraved Drawing on Plastic Vinyl Surface
Usman Riaz is a 20 years old Pakistani musician from a creative and musically-literate family. Usman has been passionate about music since an early age, particularly with the classical genre. He has appeared in several TV and radio shows including live performances.
I wrote about Pakistani folk music before. Here comes a fusion of classical Pakistani folk and Sufi music with modern strings. I’m extremely sceptical when it comes to remixing classical folk with modern tunes but what is done at the Coke Studio below by Rohail Hyatt is so full of life, vibrant, refreshing and soul warming that I want to stand up and applaud, and applaud, and applaud…
The tracks below are in Seraiki, Sindhi, Punjabi and Urdu languages, featuring legendry Sufi kalam and folklore. Pakistani music is very diverse at its core, with heavy influences from South Asian, Central Asian, Turkish, Persian, Arab and modern western music especially American Rock resulting in a very distinct and signature sound.
Coke Studio prides itself on providing a musical platform which bridges barriers, celebrates diversity, encourages unity and instils a sense of Pakistani pride. Coke Studio is an inspired step by Coca-Cola for having created a platform where renowned as well as upcoming and less mainstream musicians from various genres can collaborate musically.
Mai Ni Main by Atif Aslam
Aik Alif by Noori & Saieen Zahoor
Aj Latha Naeeo by Javed Bashir
Toomba by Saieen Zahoor
And, this post wouldn’t be complete without a nice pop song by Zeb and Haniya.