On 15th September 1959, the music concerned citizens met up at the famous Coffee Shop of Lahore and launched a voluntary organization titled The All Pakistan Music Conference 1. The prime aim behind setting up this organization was to promote the declining music industry by organizing events.
As a result of the formation of this organization, the very first event was planned for 19-23 February 1960 which would consist of folk and classical music. It was a five day music event consisting of five evening and two morning sessions. The event was an instant success, musicians and attendees from all walks of life had attended this event. People from Dhaka, Quetta, Karachi and Peshawar had attended with all the big names of music industry being part of this glorious event.
This five day festival had given the music industry of Pakistan a bold step which helped the industry gain the confidence it was lacking after the violence of independence that they have undergone since 1947. It was after this event that the rise of music in Pakistan began in its full glory.
Pakistan is a country which has adopted a lot of its musical sense from its neighboring countries like India, Turkey, Persia, Arabia and more recently the American music.
There are various different genre of music that has evolved within Pakistan since the time of independence and each of them has made its place within the country. They include the following: -2
The classical note is formed from the seven basic notes called the “Sargam” (Sa-Re-Ga-Ma-Pa-Da-Ni) and five half notes making it a total of 12 notes. The classical music in Pakistan can be very well be understood from the “Gharanas”.
A Gharana is a system of social organization or school linking musicians or dancers by lineage or apprenticeship. Some of the famous gharanas include: – Agra Gharana, Gwalior Gharana, Patiala Gharana, Kirana Gharana and Talwandi Gharana.
There are various different types of composition, but among the major ones that are used are: –
It is an old traditional style of singing mainly done by male singers. The dhrupad is performed with a tanpura and pakhawaj as accompanying instruments. The style has a very devotional aspect towards it. It is a very North Indian Classical style of music which was brought to Pakistan during the independence.
In Pakistan, the Talwandi Gharana is very popular for such type of classical music. The popularity of Dhrupad in India started from 1920’s in the region of Punjab where this form of classical music was mainly cultivated by the Talwandi.
Khayal is a form of vocal music which has been adopted from medieval Persia and is based on Dhrupad music. The meaning of the word Khayal is “thought” or “imagination” in Urdu which has its origins from Arabic.
This category of music is usually used to express feelings and emotional attachment between two lovers where there is a high degree of intense feelings involved.
The Ghazal is a form of music that was inherited from the Persian style of music and even from the before Arabic qasida in the pre-islamic period. This genre of music is mainly used for expression of love and separation between individuals.
The spread of Ghazal in the South Asia started during the period of 12th century. Urdu poetry today mainly consists of Ghazal, but it has also influenced poetry of other languages as well.
The Ghazal singers in Pakistan are also trained classically in the area of Khayal and Thumri.
Some of the most well known Ghazal composers and performance of Pakistan are: – Abida Perveen, Ghulam Ali, Mehdi Hassan, Tina Sani, Nayyara Noor etc.
Qawwali is the devotional type of music of the Chishti Sufis. It is a type of music that is mainly been played and heard on Sufi Shrines and is very much appreciated and linked with the Sufi’s of the Sub Continent.
The mainstream popularity of Qawwali was achieved by the efforts of the following indiviuals: – Aziz Mian, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and Sabri Brothers.
The reason what makes Qawwali different from other genre of music is that its performers and listeners go into a state of trance and are able to feel oneness with God during a session of intense Qawwali and thus is linked with Sufism which preaches the same ideology of connection with God through spiritualism. There has been many times when Qawwali performers have continued to perform for twenty to thirty minutes on the same poetry because they have entered into a state on trance and it keeps on going entertaining the audience as well at the same time.
Among the famous Qawwali performers in Pakistan are and were : – Aziz Mian, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Sabri Brothers, Abida Perveen, Sohail Rana etc.
The folk music is type of soothing and relaxing genre of music that is also very popular in Pakistan. Folk music has always been a popular genre in the interiors of the country and has not been part of the popular culture.
It is usually performed by “faqeers” which means hungry. These are the people who believe in the Sufi tradition and are usually performing on various different shrines of highly spiritual saints of the past. The folk music has a very cultural aspect to it and depending upon the type of region of the country the folk music would differ accordingly.
Some of the popular fold singers which have also achieved international success through their poerty and singing include: – Allan Fakeer, Saeein Zahoor, Tufail Ahmed etc.
The birth of pop music in Pakistan has been linked with Ahmed Rushdi’s first every pop song “Ko-Ko-Korina” in 1966. It has since been adopted by neighboring South Asian countries as a possible form of music genre.
The true pioneer of pop music was Alamgir in Pakistan and later it was also followed by the brother-sister duo of Nazia and Zohaib Hassan.
It started with them in the early 1970’s and later on in 1980’s pop singing bands were formed which included Vital Signs who them became the inspiration for most of the later forming musical bands, also including in them were Awaz, Junoon, Ali Haider and very recently are Atif Aslam and Jal who have also achieved much acclaimed success in India.
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The Pakistani film industry which is also known as “Lollywood” is based in Lahore. The two indiviuals who have achieved the maximum amount of recognition in the area of playback singing in the Pakistani films are Madame Noor Jehan also titled (Malka-e-Tarranum) which means Queen of Melody and Ahmed Rushdi who was known as the prince of melody. These two individuals have formed the Pakistani film industry what it is today.
The rock culture of Pakistan is very recent and it was particularly started by Junoon who had created a sub-category called sufi rock, in which the poetry of Sufi’s were used to combine with rock music created a perfect blend of what would make the young generation go crazy about them.
Junoon proved to be the inspiration for later rock banks in Pakistan which have evolved a lot in the last decade involving Entity Paradigm, Mizraab, Aaroh, Roxen, Karavan and many such others.
A new genre of music is evolving as part of the rock culture of Pakistan which is the heavy metal. Although this is still not part of the main stream music of Pakistan it is getting more and more popular among universities and underground musical bands. A heavy western influence in obvious in these bands and from their songs.
The involvement of religious songs has always been part of the music industry of Pakistan which involves the composition of “Hamd” (Praising of God) and “Naats” (Praising of Prophet Muhammad pbuh).
There is a heavy involvement of religious music in the Sufi culture of Pakistan and many of them have achieved international fame due to their religious compositions. The instrument that can be used in a religious song is the duff and its mainly the power of the human voice that creates the wonderful sounds.
The Qadri family is very prominent in this type of music and the most famous performer of religious songs is Owais Raza Qadri who has achieved worldwide fame due to his dynamic and engaging style of performing. Other famous relgious performers are Junaid Jamshed (former pop singer/ex-band member of Vital Signs), Dr Amir Liaqut and many others.
Transformation of Music
In the recent years, there has a merging transformation in the type of music that has been produced. The pop and rock has mainly dominated the media industry due to its popularity among the youth and the wide number of audiences that it has grabbed.
However, other forms of music like Ghazal, Folk, Classical and Qawwali were being left behind. The trend that was mainly started by Junoon is also being followed by other musical bands and solo performers is basically to use the poetry of these left out music genre and package it into the new rock and pop style.
The idea behind this is to sell it to the new generations who are not very fond of traditional music tunes. This way many of the classical poerty which was about to die has been revived by the newly formed musical bands and thus a new fusion of music has been created in Pakistan.
A new concept has emerged two years back which has created a yet another but more obvious link of traditional and popular music. It is a program called Coke Studio 3 started by one of the band members of Vital Signs named Rohail Hayat. The idea behind this program is to invite leading musicians from all different genre and create a new type of music that has never been created before.
This means that a ghazal singer with a rock band will be performing a song which would have the tunes of the rock music plus the softness of a ghazal along with a range of different instruments are being used at once in a single song like tabla, dholak, harmonioum, guitar, drums, keyboards, percussions etc.
This program has created a revolution in the music industry of Pakistan since the younger generation have now started realizing the wealth of traditional music that Pakistan has had for all these decades but it was unexplored by the newer generations and thus a new way of creating music has been explored in which many new singers are now using many traditional musical instruments and vocalists to create their new songs with a different tone.
Future of Music in Pakistan
The future of music in Pakistan is very bright, since a wide range of music compositions are now being made and as more and more types of genre are being introduced the music industry is slowly taking its turn towards a whole new world of musical aspirations.
In the future, we can see that compositions which would involve aspects of different cultures would be blended in and packaged in a very Pakistani way would then be presented.
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