2016 may have been a less-than-special year for cinema with several films releasing but not living up to the standard that was set by other films in preceding years, musically speaking, it has been another strong year, with promising initiatives and lots of gorgeous music. Thankfully, it’s not over, not yet.
Despite the fallout from the Uri Attack that has led to a cataclysmic division amongst artists and industry, music is flowing with remarkable regularity by artists across multiple genres. Think singles like the electro blissful ‘Ho Jao Azad’ by Zoe Viccaji, the spectacular Red Bull sound clash between Ali Azmat and Umair Jaswal or the iconic collaboration between Ali Azmat and Noori which culminated in the tune, ‘Dildara’ – it’s been a frenzied, outrageous and melodic year and more sonic goodness is on its way.
Among those who have announced a new album are artists as electric as Mooroo and Khumariyaan, both of whom are working diligently on their respective debut records. While the release date remains unknown, what is clear is the fact that expectations from these records will be sky-high. While Mooroo’s repertoire contain songs like ‘Kahani Purani’, ‘Patakhi Larki’ and ‘Mariam’ with the latter picking up the Best Music Video award at the Lux Style Awards earlier this year, the new record will reportedly contain nine tracks and will be called Pehli.
On the other hand, Khumariyaan, who delivered a gorgeous cover of the title theme of the popular TV series, Game of Thrones several weeks ago, have also confirmed that they are indeed working on an album. With hits like ‘Tamasha’ and ‘Bela’ to their credit, their upcoming debut album will hopefully help in putting Khumariyaan on the national music map and beyond in a big way.
Speaking of records, another studio album in the pipeline is that of Junoon, spearheaded by one Salman Ahmed sans Ali Azmat. The record is titled Junoon 25 and it marks the silver jubilee celebration of the band. Most importantly though, the record, slated to release in November in multiple countries, will contain several collaborations with a vast array of names like Indian classical artistes Samir Chatterjee and Kedarnath Havalda, Peter Gabriel and Outlandish.
Meanwhile, another band that has bit dust is SYMT as front-man Haroon Shahid who appeared on Coke Studio 9 with the monster grungy rock anthem, ‘Baliye’ confirmed that the band is no longer together though the break-up remains amicable. More to the point, Haroon Shahid is all set to try his hand at film soundtrack production with an upcoming feature length film. In addition, Shahid will also take on the mantle of acting like so many of his contemporaries. As for the music, Shahid will continue to release music via Noori’s BIY Records.
Pop prince Ali Zafar, who will be seen in the Bollywood film Dear Zindagi next has pushed back the production of his own film, Deosai which was announced earlier this year to make room for Ahsan Rahim’s film, which will mark the Pakistani film debut of one Ali Zafar. Whether Zafar plays music producer to the film or someone else is handed this responsibility remains to be seen.
Umair Jaswal, one of the new kings of music, is working on another feature film, besides Yalghaar which may or may not feature the musician-turned-actor. Aside from acting projects, Jaswal has turned his attention to the plight of Kashmiris and is working on a song that addresses the issue head-on. The song is composed by Waqar Ali and will also feature guitar guru Faraz Anwar, who incidentally is also working on his debut solo album. The single will be followed up with a music video as well.
Music group, SomeWhatSuper and Ali Gul Pir’s thumping collaboration, ‘Modi Teri’ also has a video coming out very soon. The group flew out to Karachi just last week and shot for the video with Pir before heading home to Lahore.
Hadiqa Kiyani, the ultimate queen of pop, is also back with a Pashtu/Urdu manqabat which features the poetry of her late father, Mahmud Akhtar Kiyani.
One of music’s brightest stars, Zeb Bangash is also having a career-best year it seems. Having picked up the Lux Style Award for for Best Original Soundtrack earlier in 2016, Zeb has managed to work on several projects, each as remarkable as the next. Aside from casting a spell via Coke Studio 9, Bangash has also featured on the soundtrack of films like Fitoor and Lipstick Under My Burqa and lent her voice to the soundtrack of the telefilm, Ek Thi Mariam.
Also making a transition from pop music to film music is Qurrum Hussain, one half of music group Josh. Making a mark as a soloist this year, Hussain worked with Komal Rizvi for Cornetto Pop Rock Season 1 and is now playing soundtrack producer to the film, Rangreza which features actors Urwa Hocane, Bilal Ashraf and Gohar Rasheed.
This brings us to the final part of the story which is about one Hassan Jamil Khan aka Jimmy Khan. With tracks like ‘Nadiya’, ‘Pehla Pyar’ and ‘Baarish’, Jimmy Khan has definitely made a place for himself in the colorful music scene. Teaming up with the wonderful folks at Salt Arts, the singer-songwriter is gearing up to play shows in Karachi on October 26 and October 29 respectively. He’s also featured on the soundtrack of Mehreen Jabbar’s all-star Dobara Phir Se, which comes out next month, so watch out.