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11 Dec

“Moving to Karachi is like a jolt of energy for me,” says Ali Hamza

Singer and songwriter, Ali Hamza has made an immense contribution to the growth of music in Pakistan; be it as a band member of famous band Noori with brother Ali Noor, or mesmerizing fans with Coke Studio hits. The artist has a great body of work to prove the command over his craft.

Speaking exclusively to Something Haute, the ace musician, Ali Hamza shared his thoughts about the current music scene in Pakistan, his love for Karachi, online gigs, and safety plans amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

“We are finally evolving into the contemporary global sonic/music space,” he said. “At this stage, we are still in the process of discovering our Pakistaniat in it, which I believe, will mature once we start connecting these sounds with our deeper cultural leanings – a la folk et. al,” he commented regarding the future of music in the country.

Recently, Candi Meray Dost Meray Yaar 2 presented him as a musician-turned-teacher, Professor Hassan. In the series, his song — Tere Bin — is an irresistible yet catchy tune showing great friendships and an even bigger love for music.

 

 

Three years ago, the musician who hails from Lahore, moved to Karachi to produce Coke Studio 11. “I was very unsure if I would stay on once my gig was over. The gig ended, but I stayed back – and with time, the thought of going back also started dwindling,” he had earlier shared on Instagram.

Despite being from Lahore, Ali recently released a token of love for Karachi in collaboration with Coca Cola, which too earned him great praise in return.

 

 

“I’m not interested in any war. Every city has its own vibe, its own beat,” he responded about the often talked of Karachi vs Lahore debate. “I’ve been living in Karachi for the last three years. And after having been born and bred in Lahore, moving here it’s like a jolt of energy for me. I feel alive and I’m loving it.”

Speaking of his campaign, Karachi Love Hai Jaani, he explained that it gave him an opportunity to express that energy. “Even more so, it speaks the language of love of people for their city; nothing’s better than that.”

Also, addressing the issue of lesser original content being produced, the artist who previously covered Junaid Jamshed’s classic track Us Rah Par as a tribute, shared that his concepts about ‘originality’ have come into question with more and more covers and remixes coming into play.

 

 

“Some covers sound more original (and better) than the originals and some originals sound exactly like a cover from the past,” he stated, adding that for him, originality lies in the individual expression one adds in rendering a musical piece.

Being a responsible member of society, he also feels it’s important to spread the message of safety following the rise in Covid positive cases in the country. Ali Hamza feels it’s better to be safe than sorry, although he agrees that survival has become tough.

“The online gigs (corporate-backed ones are also financially supporting) that are happening are a good adjustment, but anything beyond that is risky, especially in this second wave.”

Adding further, he said that he understands that it’s hard. “It’s getting really tough on musicians, especially session players because of all of this and I hope things normalize sooner. But this is no time to risk lives and we need to be patient.”

As a message for his followers and aspiring musicians, he requests them to stay true to their expression. “I would strongly advise upcoming artists to create deeper connections with our own cultural heritage. Because that’s where the Pakistani musical identity is consolidated.”

Ali Hamza will be embarking on a serious journey of reconciliation and bridge-building in his musical career. “All I can ask for is ke Sunte Rehna,” he said as he signed off.

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Muna Moini

The author is a Karachi based writer at Something Haute.