Patari, Pakistan’s premier music streaming platform, released the fifth episode of their massively popular “Tabeer” series. The project showcases raw, unsung talents from across Pakistan by pairing them up with established producers to make exciting music. The project’s fifth song, titled Sajan Moi Khay Yaad Payo, was written and performed by four musicians across Sindh, who never met during the making of the song, yet captured the unique and ancient culture of their native land.
The four musicians on the track are Bhagat Bhuru Laal, Faqir Zulfiqar, Rajab Faqir and Zamar Hussain, and produced by the internationally renowned band, The Sketches. Bhagat Bhuru Laal is an ascetic, nomadic musician from a small village near Mirpurkhas who sings at the various shrines of Sindh. Here, he sings a Hindu devotional song, known as a bhajjan, but in the true tradition of Sindh’s syncretic, multi-faith culture, his songs are not unique to any one faith but instead accepted and celebrated by all creeds.
Faqir Zulfiqar is one of the world’s last musicians who still play the Borrindo, a 5000-year old clay instrument that was also found in the ruins of Mohenjodaro. A spherical, flute-like instrument that carries with it the millennia-old culture of this ancient land, carrying the sounds of one of the humanity’s oldest civilizations down to the modern world. Rajab Faqir lives in Mithi and runs a small music academy for the local children of Thar. One of his most enthusiastic students is Zamar Hussain, and the two of them come together in this track to sing the glories of Sindh.
Explaining the project to journalists, Khalid Bajwa, the CEO of Patari said that #PatariTabeer came together due to a chance meeting with Fawzia Naqvi, a Pakistani based in New York. Khalid said that “Fawzia was a big fan of an earlier volume we released, called Patari Aslis where we produced songs for indie musicians. She offered to fund another volume, and encouraged us to pursue our dream to try and do justice to the talent in Pakistan.”
Fawzia’s generous donation encouraged the Patari team to come up with something worthwhile, and the team thought of creating a project where they reached out to the fringes of Pakistan to bring out all sorts of dreamers looking to make their mark on Pakistani music. It was this process that created #PatariTabeer.
Once the project was underway, Patari asked Saif Samejo from The Sketches to help them find voices from the interior of Sindh. At the time, Saif had been traveling across the province to record some of the unique musicians there, and he offered to bring his project onto the #PatariTabeer platform. Over several months, Saif and his band finalized their recordings and added their own production and sound to what was originally a traditional folk tune. Sajan Moi Khay Yaad Payo is the fifth of six releases planned in the #PatariTabeer volume, and all of the songs are in regional languages (Sindhi, Seraiki, Balochi, Pashto and Punjabi).
Most of the artists had never even been inside a recording studio before. Ahmer Naqvi, the Director of Content, said that Patari made a conscious decision to reach out to not just Pakistanis from underrepresented backgrounds, but also those who were mostly amateur musicians. Naqvi said “it was a big risk for us, as a music startup staffed by privileged Pakistanis to reach out and look to enter the lives and dreams of much less privileged compatriots. We wanted to make sure that we do what was best for them, and let them truly express their creative selves.”
He added that Patari would help each artist in #PatariTabeer to connect with other musicians and platforms in order to help them build a career out of their opportunity. #PatariTabeer will continue to release a song on its social media pages every few days over January. The Sketches are a band from Jamshoro, Sindh who have received considerable national and international acclaim. Having originally emerged in 2003, the band spent many years touring the universities and venues of Sindh as they crafted a sound that took its inspiration from the majesty of their homeland.
After the release of their first album, they were also featured on Coke Studio. The band only continued to build on that success, launching several initiatives like the Lahooti Musical Ashram, a music school that spawned an internationally broadcast live music show and a spectacularly successful music festival held in Hyderabad. Saif Samejo, the band’s frontman, and its soul have worked tirelessly to promote and celebrate the culture of Sindh and use it as a way of fighting off the menaces of fundamentalism and consumerism.The Sketches released their second album, YOU, in early 2016 which won considerable critical and commercial acclaim.
Patari is an audio platform for the web and mobile that hosts Pakistani content. It has the largest library of Pakistani music, audiobooks, and podcasts. It is available online at http://patari.pk and as an app on the App Store and the Play Store for iOS and Android devices. Fawzia Naqvi (no relation to Ahmer Naqvi) is a New Yorker of Pakistani heritage.
Although her career has been in investments and banking, she has been deeply engaged with Pakistan’s civil society, particularly helping young people realize their objectives. For her, Patari Tabeer is a highlight in her life, because it is truly giving Pakistanis a gift of 6 new unique musical talents from all across the country