Thursday, December 13, 2007

Asad Amanat Ali Khan

Asad Amanat Ali Khan

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Asad Amanat Ali Khan
Born 1955
Died 2007
London, UK
Spouse(s) Sharmeen
Children Sikandar Khan, Tanya


  • 1 Introduction
  • 2 Family
  • 3 Singing Career
  • 4 Awards
  • 5 Death
  • 6 His Work


Asad Amanat Ali Khan(September 25, 1955- April 8, 2007) was a very popular classical, semi-classical and ghazal singer from Pakistan. Hailing from famous Patiala Gharana, Asad was son of famous musician Amanat Ali Khan. Asad Amanat Ali Khan died relatively young of heart attack on April 8, 2007 in London.


His great-grandfather, Ali Baksh Khan, was the founder of the Patiala Gharana. His grandfather, Akhtar Hussain, was a prominent musician of his time who added to his repute by coaching two of his sons into becoming a formidable singing duo. Of the duo Amanat Ali Khan, Asad's father, died in 1974. Asad's younger brother Shafqat Amanat Ali Khan is a popular pop singer and he is the lead singer of band Fuzon.

Singing Career

When he was 10 years old Asad recorded his first song, which featured on his grandfather’s debut album. He had also been interested in academics and often said if not a singer, he would love to be a pilot. He joined a private institution however and began singing professionally after completing his F.A. He started his musical career performing thumri and then went on to record some of his most popular Punjabi numbers and ghazals, such as umra lagian, zara zara, kal chaudwin ki raat, and ghar wapas jab. One of the songs that featured in almost every concert he performed, arguably his biggest hit, was Insha ji utho (Originally sung by his father).

Asad worked for Pakistan Television for several years. Nisar Bazmi, composer and PTV producer, who passed away one week before him, gave him his first break, introducing the artist to the world on live television. He retained his affiliation with television through the years, recording over 1,000 songs. Asad also contributed to the Pakistani film industry, featuring on a number of soundtracks. Moreover, he caught the attention of neighbouring Bollwood and contributed to soundtracks there too.

Asad also sang as a member of singing duo with his uncle Hamid Ali Khan. Asad owed much of his early recognition to his late father's famous numbers. Quite often his concert would round off with "Insha'a Jee utho, abb cooch karo" (Get up O Insha! It's time to leave the world) — a song that finds another ironic reference in Asad's death. Ibn-e-Insha who wrote it, Amanat Ali and Asad Amanat who sang it — all died relatively young. Other than music and the family name, Asad inherited from his father a passion to act in films. But the affair was cut short after an unsuccessful attempt.

Asad Amanat Ali was also famed for his "soz-o-salam" recitations in Urdu describing the events of Karbala during Ashura in Muharram, and appeared on many radio and television specials about Karbala over the years before his death.


Like his father, Asad was given the president’s award for Pride of Performance. The government of Pakistan acknowledged Asad Amanat Ali Khan’s immense contribution to Pakistani music by awarding him the Pride of Performance on March 23, 2007 (2 weeks before his death).


He had visited London in January and was receiving treatment for a condition known as Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. He retutned to Pakistan however during his treatment to receive the President's award of Pride of Performance. After receiving the award he had left Pakistan on April 3, 2007 for medical consultation, and while in England, on April 8, 2007 died in Cassiobury Park in London whilst enjoying an outing with the family. He had fallen to the ground and many attempts were made to revive him however, he had died instantaneously. His medical tests were scheduled for the following week but he never got a chance to continue his treatment. His body was brought back to his home country Pakistan for the burial. He was buried in Mominpura Graveyard Lahore.

His Work

Some of his superhit songs are listed below.

  • Insha Ji Utho (Originally Sung by his father)
  • Ghar Wapis Jub ao gai tum
  • Umraan langiyaan pabbaan paahr
  • Pyaar Nahii Hai Sur Se Jisko
  • Abhi Kalion Mein
  • Diyaar Yaar Geya
  • Doob Gai Sub
  • Ghum Tera Hum Ne
  • Jo Bhi Dil Ki
  • Kal Chowdhwein Ki Raat
  • Zara zara dil meiN dard huaa
  • Apne haathoN kii lakiiroN meiN
  • Piya dekhan ko tarseiN morey
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He has been the recipient of numerous awards and recognitions: the Tamgha-i-Imtiaz granted to him by Gen Ayub Khan; the Pride of Performance bestowed on him by Gen Ziaul Haq; and the Hilal-i-Imtiaz conferred by Gen Pervez Musharraf. Besides the Nigar Film and Graduate Awards from Pakistan, he was presented the Saigal Award in Jalandhar, India, in 1979, whereas the Gorkha Dakshan Bahu Award was given to him in Nepal in 1983. Recently, he travelled to Dubai to receive yet another award.


While he was singing in the Court of Nepal's King Shah Birendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev, he forgot the lines of his song "Zindagi mein to sabhii pyar kya kerte hain". Shah, then stood from his seat and start singing the next line. This was really a great tribute to him.

Stepping Down

Following a severe illness in the late 80s, Mehdi Hassan stepped down from playback singing. Later due to severity of his illness he completely departed from music. He now lives a secluded life in Karachi which he has made his permanent residence. Nevertheless he often visits Lahore where he spends most of his time with his children and other family members.

King of Ghazals

King of Ghazals

He is universally acclaimed as the finest ghazal singer of his time, perhaps of all time. His unsurpassable vocal range and his mastery over even the most difficult of raags makes him the undisputed emperor of ghazals. His popularity amongst the masses, appreciation by the masses, and continued success over five decades makes him on par with Noor Jehan and Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan in the league of the greatest Pakistani singers of all time. The ultimate tribute to his greatness was from the eternal nightingale, Lata Mangeshkar, who compared his songs to " voice of god " . Talat Aziz is one of his famous disciples.


The struggle ended when Mehdi Hassan was given the opportunity to sing on Radio Pakistan in 1952, primarily as a thumri singer, which earned him recognition within the musical fraternity. At the time, Ustad Barkat Ali Khan, Begum Akhtar and Mukhtar Begum were considered the stalwarts of ghazal gayaki.

Mehdi Hassan also had a passion for Urdu poetry and began to experiment by singing ghazals on a part-time basis. He cites radio officers, Z.A. Bukhari and Rafiq Anwar as additional influences in his progression as a ghazal singer. They gave him ample opportunities to display his mastery over the ghazal on radio. He sang ghazals of all the renowned Urdu poets and his innovative style was soon appreciated by both masses and discerning audiences.

Mehdi Hassan’s voice and unique performance skills in ghazal singing were unmatched in the world of South Asian music. The 60s and 70s can be named Mehdi Hassan’s decades’, as there was hardly any hero in the Pakistani musical scene on whom Mehdi Hassan’s songs were not filmed.


Mehdi Hassan was born in the village of Luna in Rajasthan, India in 1927 into a family of rich traditional musicians. He claims to be the 16th generation of hereditary musicians hailing from the Kalawant. Kala means "Art" and Want means "teacher" so he is from family of teacher who taught Kings and Royal families the art of music. Mehdi Hassan received his musical training and grooming under his father, Ustad Azeem Khan and his uncle Ustad Ismail Khan who were classical musicians, well-versed in dhrupad singing. They instructed him in classical music and voice production within the framework of classical forms of thumri, dhrupad, khayal and dadra, from the young age of eight. After the Partition of India, 20 year-old Mehdi Hassan and his family migrated to Pakistan and suffered severe financial hardships. To make ends meet, Mehdi Hassan began working in a bicycle shop and later became a car and diesel tractor mechanic. Despite the hardships, his passion for music didn't wither and he kept up the routine of practice on a daily basis.

Mehdi Hassan

Tamgha-e-Imtiaz, Pride of Performance, Hilal-e-Imtiaz (Urdu: مہدی حسن) affectionately called Khan Sahib and titled as "Shahenshah-e-Ghazal" (English: King of Ghazals) is a well-known Pakistani Ghazal singer and a former playback singer for Lollywood.

Muhammad Ali Shehki

(Urdu: محمد علی شہکی) is a Pakistani pop singer of Iranian birth.

Along with Alamgeer or Alamgir, he set the trend of pop music only in Pakistan. When he started his career, he was young energetic student of NED University at Karachi, Pakistan. He is still loved by people for his contribution to music and his charming personality. His songs delivered message of love, patriotism and sincerity.

His voice quality is way much better than so many other hit singers but may be he didn't find good compositions at his peak time. His first song "Pyar kia mai ne dil diya main ne dil lia" produced by Ghazanfer Ali was a big hit of that time. He then sang the famous "Main bhi Pakistan ho" which is the most famous national song ever. Then Shehki produced another hit song "Allah Allah ker bhaiya" along with Allan Fakeer. This song beat all previous hit records. Shehki has sung almost all types of songs like classical, semi classical, rock n pop and jazzy stuff. He has won many national and International awards for his songs. Also he remained as a play back singer for some time. He was offered to sing as playback singer in bollywood but Ball Thakray, the Hindu extremist warned that if any Pakistani singer/actor comes here in India, he will shoot him. Desite, his song "Han Behli baar" was included in one of the Indian movies. He is out from Pak Music Industry but still he holds a high rank in the Pakistani Music Industry. He also tried his luck as an actor in Lollywood but was not much successful. As a singer, he is ranked among top 10 Pakistani singers ever.

Music of Pakistan

Music of Pakistan: Topics
Semi-Classical Ghazals
Qawwali Folk
Pakistani Pop Filmi
Sufi Rock Bhangra
Awards Lux Style Awards, MTV Pakistan Awards, Indus Music Awards, The Musik Awards
Charts MTV Pakistan Charts, AAG 10, The Musik Countdown
Music Festivals All Pakistani Music Conference
Media MTV Pakistan, Indus Music, The Musik, AAG TV
National anthem "Qaumi Tarana"
Regional folk styles
Balochi - Punjabi - Sindhi - Pastho - Kashmiri Khowar - Saraiki - Farsi - Hindko

The music of Pakistan includes diverse elements ranging from Central Asian folk music as well as music from South Asia, Persian music, Turkish music, as well as more modern American music influences. Pakistan is a country which lies at a crossroad of cultures from South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With the multiple influences, Pakistani music has emerged as a "fusion" of many other types of sounds together to form a distinctly Pakistani sound.

* 1 Classical music
o 1.1 Instruments
o 1.2 Gharanas
o 1.3 Famous Composers and Performers
* 2 Ghazal music
o 2.1 Famous Composers and Performers
* 3 Qawwali music
o 3.1 Instruments
o 3.2 Qawwali Party
o 3.3 Famous Composers and Performers
* 4 Folk music
* 5 Balochi
* 6 Pashto
* 7 Punjabi
* 8 Sindhi
* 9 Siraiki
* 10 Persian
* 11 Shinha
* 12 Khowar
* 13 Filmi music
* 14 East meets West
o 14.1 Pop music
o 14.2 Rock music
* 15 The West Connection
o 15.1 Hip Hop
o 15.2 UK Bhangra
o 15.3 Pop, Rock & R&B
o 15.4 Music Producers
* 16 Music Journalism
* 17 See also
* 18 External links

[edit] Classical music

See also Classical Music & Gharana
A boy is mending a Sitar in Islamabad
A boy is mending a Sitar in Islamabad

Pakistani classical music has 7 basic notes (Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Dha Ni), with five interspersed half-notes, resulting in a 12-note scale. Unlike the 12-note scale in Western music, the base frequency of the scale is not fixed, and intertonal gaps (temper) may also vary; however with the gradual replacement of the sarangi by the harmonium, an equal tempered scale is increasingly used. The performance is set to a melodic pattern (raag) characterized in part by specific ascent and descent. Other characteristics include King and Queen notes and a unique note phrase (Pakad). In addition each raga has its natural register (Ambit) and glissando (Meend) rules, as well as features specific to different styles and compositions within the raga structure. Performances are usually marked by considerable improvision within these norms. It is traditional for performers who have reached a distinguished level of achievement, to be awarded titles of Ustad.

[edit] Instruments

* Sitar
* Tabla
* Harmonium
* Sarangi
* Santoor

[edit] Gharanas

A gharana is a system of social organization linking musicians or dancers by lineage and/or apprenticeship, and by adherence to a particular musical style. A recent documentary film, Khayal Darpan, traces the development of classical music in Pakistan since 1947.

[edit] Famous Composers and Performers

* Ustad Amanat & Fateh Ali Khan
* Ustad Umeed Ali Khan
* Ustad Salamat & Nazakat Ali Khan
* Ustad Mubarak Ali Khan
* Ustad Fateh & Hameed Ali Khan
* Ustad Nihal ABdulla Khan
* Ustad Vilayat Ali Khan
* Ustad Mohammed Hafiz and Mohammed Afzal Khan
* Ustad Barkat Ali Khan
* Ustad Bhailal Mohammed Khan
* Ustad Ghulam Hassan Shaggan
* Ustad Amanat Ali Khan
* Ustad Akhtar Ali/Zakir Ali Khan
* Ustad Asad Ali Khan
* Ustad Badar/Qamar-uz-Zaman
* Ustad Chote GHulam Ali Khan
* Ustad Hussain Baksh GulloKhan
* Ustad Imtiaz/Riyaz Ali Khan
* Ustad Ghulam Shabir and Jaffar Khan
* Ustad Ghulam Haider Khan
* Ustad Nassirudin Sami Khan
* Ustad Nasir Ahmed Khan Khan
* Roshanara Begum
* Naseem Begum
* Surraiya Multanikar
* Umrao Bandoo Khan
* Mohammed SHarif Poonchawalay
* Ashraf Sharif
* Nathoo Khan
* Bundu Khan

[edit] Ghazal music

Main article: Ghazal

In poetry, the ghazal (Persian: غزل; Turkish gazel) is a poetic form consisting of couplets which share a rhyme and a refrain. Each line must share the same meter. Etymologically, the word literally refers to "the mortal cry of a gazelle". The animal is called Ghizaal, from which the English word gazelles stems, or Kastori haran (where haran refers to deer) in Urdu. Ghazals are traditionally expressions of love, separation and loneliness, for which the gazelle is an appropriate image. A ghazal can thus be understood as a poetic expression of both the pain of loss or separation and the beauty of love in spite of that pain. The form is ancient, originating in 10th century Persian verse. It is derived from the Persian qasida. The structural requirements of the ghazal are more stringent than those of most poetic forms traditionally written in English. In its style and content it is a genre which has proved capable of an extraordinary variety of expression around its central theme of love and separation. It is considered by many to be one of the principal poetic forms the Persian civilization offered to the eastern Islamic world.

The ghazal spread into South Asia in the 12th century under the influence of the new Islamic Sultanate courts and Sufi mystics. Exotic to the region, as is indicated by the very sounds of the name itself when properly pronounced as ġazal. Although the ghazal is most prominently a form of Urdu poetry, today, it has influenced the poetry of many languages. Most Ghazal singers are trained in classical music and sing in either Khyal or Thumri.

[edit] Famous Composers and Performers

* Faiz Ahmed Faiz
* Qamar Jalalabadi
* Ahmed Faraz
* Makhdoom Mohiuddin
* Melody Queeen Noor Jehan
* Amanat Ali
* Firaq Gorakhpuri
* Ghulam Ali
* Iqbal Bano
* Munni Begum
* Mehdi Hassan
* Farida Khanum
* Nayyara Noor
* Abida Parveen
* Malika Pukhraj
* Tahira Syed

[edit] Qawwali music

Main article: Qawwali

Qawwali (Urdu: قوٌالی) is the devotional music of the Chishti Sufis. Qawwali is a vibrant musical tradition that stretches back more than 700 years. Originally performed mainly at Sufi shrines throughout the subcontinent, it has also gained mainstream popularity. Qawwali music received international exposure through the work of the late Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, largely due to several releases on the Real World label, followed by live appearances at WOMAD festivals. Listeners, and often artists themselves are transported to a state of wajad, a trance-like state where they feel at one with God, generally considered to be the height of spiritual ecstasy in Sufism. The roots of Qawwali can be traced back to 8th century Persia, however, Qawwali in the form we know it today was essentially created by Amir Khusrau in the late 13th century.

During the first major migration from Persia, in the 11th century, the musical tradition of Sama migrated to South Asia, Turkey and Uzbekistan. Rumi and his Mevlana order of Sufism have been the propagators of Sama in Central Asia. Amir Khusrau of the Chisti order of Sufis is credited with fusing the Persian and South Asian musical traditions, to create Qawwali as well as the classical music tradition. The word "Sama" is used (or is the preferred name) in Central Asia and Turkey, for forms very similar to Qawwali while in Pakistan, the formal name used for a session of Qawwali is "Mehfil-e-Sama".

[edit] Instruments

* Tabla
* Dholak
* Harmonium

[edit] Qawwali Party

A group of qawwali musicians, called a party, typically consists of eight or nine men — women are, for all intents and purposes, excluded from traditional Muslim music as respectable women are traditionally prohibited from singing in the presence of men, though these traditions are changing — including a lead singer, one or two side singers, one or two harmoniums (which may be played by lead singer, side singer or someone else), and percussion. If there is only one percussionist, he plays the tabla and dholak, usually the tabla with the left hand and the dholak with the right. Often there will be two percussionists, in which case one might play the tabla and the other the dholak. There is also a chorus of four or five men who repeat key verses, and who aid and abet percussion by hand-clapping. The performers sit in two rows — the lead singer, side singers and harmonium players in the front row, and the chorus and percussionists in the back row.

[edit] Famous Composers and Performers

* Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan
* Abida Parveen
* Bulleh Shah
* Sabri Brothers
* Aziz Mian

[edit] Folk music

Main article: Pakistani folk music

Pakistani folk music deals with subjects surrounding daily life in less grandiose terms than the love and emotion usually contained in its traditional and classical counterpart. In Pakistan, each province has its own variation of popular folk music.

[edit] Balochi

Main article: Music of Balochistan

[edit] Pashto

Main article: Music of NWFP

[edit] Punjabi

Main article: Music of Punjab (Pakistan)

[edit] Sindhi

Main article: Music of Sindh

[edit] Siraiki

Siraiki is spoken by 13.9 million people in southern Punjab and northern Sindh. It has its own culture and life style and most speakers of [Siraiki] love to listen to the Music in their native Language as would the speakers of any other language. Atta Ullah Essa Khelvi is one of the most famous name in promoting [Siraiki] Songs and Music. Essa Khelvi belongs to Essa Khail, a part of district [Mianwail] and originated his music from the city of Mianwali. Recent media developments have now brought more talent into the field of entertainment specially the channel The KOOK TV broadcasted locally has been a major contributor of Siraiki language into National Media. The Seraiki language is often considered the sweetest of all Pakistani languages.
Also, the great late Pathany Khan, who belonged to city of Multan, did considerable work in the field of Saraiki music. His songs such as Mera Ishq Vi Tu or Charakay de are still loved by masses and equally appreciated by other languages' speakers. Another star of this language is world renowned folk singer Reshmaan. She rendered some beautiful songs in her mother tongue, Saraiki, along with in Punjabi for which she gained more fame.

[edit] Persian

Persian is spoken mainly in the North West of Pakistan but there are also considerable Persian speaking inhabitants in Pakistan's major urban centres of Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad. During and after the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan and subsequent arrival of millions of Afghan refugees to Pakistan, much of the Afghan (Dari/Persian) music industry was kept alive by performances and recordings made in Pakistan. After more than 20 years, Persian folk music has made considerable and often subtle contributions the overall Pakistani music industry. singers from Afghanistan regularly perform throughout Pakistan particularly at weddings and other formal functions.

[edit] Shinha

The predominant language found in Pakistan's Northern Areas has an extensive oral history which dates back several thousand years. With the increase in tourism to Pakistan's Northern Areas and increased domestic as well as international awareness of the local folk music, the Shinha folk traditions have managed to stay alive and vibrant.

[edit] Khowar

A dardic language with considerable Persian influence is found in Pakistan's Chitral region in the North West of the country. Khowar folk music had considerable patronage particularly during the rule of the Mehtars in the last century. Folk music in this region has remained relatively pure and unscathed by modern influences due to the relative isolation of this district. The arrival of many refugees from the adjacent Nuristan province of Afghanistan and the subsequent increase in commercial activity in Chitrali bazaars allowed this local form of music to flourish in the past few decades.

[edit] Filmi music

Main articles: Cinema of Pakistan and Filmi

Pakistan's film industry known as "Lollywood" is based in Lahore. One of the most famous singers of the Pakistan film industry is Madame Noor Jehan (Malika-e-Tarranum). Noor Jehan had a brief and successful acting career before devoting herself completely to music. She sang extensively for Pakistani films and also sang Ghazals, folk songs and patriotic songs (milli naghmay) for Pakistan television.

Until the 1960’s Pakistani film music enjoyed a robust period of creative activity with a great number of songs acquiring popularity across the sub-continent. The major music directors of this period (with the noted exception of Khawaja Khurshid Anwar) were mostly rababis. Some of the great names were: Ustad Inayat Hussain, G.A. Chishti, Rashid Attre, Ustad Tasadduq, Master Abdullah, Firoze Nizami, Tufail Farooqi and Ustad Nazar.

During the early 1960s Urdu film and music quality declined as the result of various factors. The dominance of trend-setting music directors who had experience of seasoned pre-partition artists declined and they were replaced by a new and younger generation who tapped the Punjabi film market.

[edit] East meets West

As the new century began, so did a new type of music in Pakistan, which has become popular not only in Pakistan, but also in many other parts of the world too such as UK, USA, Canada, Iran, Middle East and India. This new type of music had a rich blend of classical/folk with western sounds leading the music industry to rebuild and re-establish itself. The industry really began to pick up in late 2003, when media laws in Pakistan became more relaxed, and resulted in a mass explosion of private Pakistani television channels. While many "fusing" bands have produced genuine and equilibrium music, there are some who just managed to produce native language charbas (Pakistani slang for media meaning ripoff) of Western songs. Most old-school Pakistani music lovers deride this fusion as charbas and remain loyal to the classic ghazal and qawwalis.

[edit] Pop music

Main articles: History of Pakistani pop music and Pakistani pop music

Vital Signs made a significant contribution to Pakistani Pop worldwide
Vital Signs made a significant contribution to Pakistani Pop worldwide

Artists such as Nazia Hasan, Zoheb Hasan, Muhammad Ali Shehki, Alamgir and the Benjamin Sisters were pioneers of Pakistani pop music in the 1980s, but the real breakthrough for the music industry came with the hit song Dil Dil Pakistan by Vital Signs (band) which gave birth to the current music scene in Pakistan. Dil Dil Pakistan was voted the 3rd most popular song in the world by a BBC poll. Some very popular Pakistani music acts include:

* Abrar-ul-Haq
* Adnan Sami Khan
* Ahmed Jehanzeb
* Ali Zafar
* Annie
* Atif Aslam
* Ali Haider
* Faakhir Mehmood
* Jal
* Junaid Jamshed
* Junoon
* Kraze (first all-girl Pakistani band)
* Hadiqa Kiyani
* Sajjad Ali
* Strings
* Vital Signs
* Zeeshan

See List of Pakistani pop singers

[edit] Rock music

Main articles: Pakistani black metal, Pakistani rock, and Sufi rock

Rock music in Pakistan has become very popular not only in Pakistan but across South Asia. All these groups have millions of fans across the world including in other parts of South Asia. A landmark event occurred in 2003 when the Pakistani group Strings's song, Najane Kyun became a featured single on the Urdu Soundtrack for Spider-Man 2. Rock music has developed so much in Pakistan, that it already has two sub-genere's. The Pakistani band Junoon popularised a genre of music called Sufi rock (influenced from legend Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan) that blended traditional Pakistani folk and Sufi music with western rock. Pakistani black metal has just recently begun, with many underground bands in cities such as Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad and even Peshawar. Popular Pakistani Rock Bands are:

* Aaroh
* Call
* EP
* Fuzon
* Junoon
* Karavan
* Mauj
* Mekaal Hasan Band
* Mizraab
* Noori
* Jal

Underground Rock Scene in Lahore: There are number of Underground Bands in Lahore, some of them proved themselves to be a complete rock bands. EP, Call and Noori have been integral in revitalizing the rock culture in Pakistan, but many now feel that the future of rock music is in the hands of underground bands like Black Warrant, Paranoid, Kain, Lithium, Drainage, Cultural Jukebox, Genocide, Hypnotix-2000 and many more.

Moreover, Bands like Mizraab, have played a big role in promoting Metal Music in Pakistan. Headed by Faraz Anwar, this Band is probably the first Metal Band in Pakistan, with their Songs Meri Tarha and Insaan being the favorites of many Metal Fans.

For all the information and video, audio and picture galleries of the Underground rock bands at Lahore visit:The Underground Act:Lahore

[edit] The West Connection

There are more than 10 million expatriates who live outside of Pakistan mainly in countries like Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, the United States, United Arab Emirates, Malaysia and many other countries. With this large population lots of musical talent has been produced, some of which is world recognized!

[edit] Hip Hop

Although hip hop and rap have not taken root in Pakistan, many musicians of Pakistani origin have begun to enter the hip hop industry. Some popular Pakistani hip-hop & rap artists includes:

* Desi Ji - The King Of Desi Rap the Creator of Desi Rap From Germany Website
* DJ Aphlatoon - A DJ based in New York City, has produced two hip hop Pakistani remixed albums.
* 8T2 - This Pakistani MC is making waves all across the UK [1]
* Aky - Hip Hop Artist from London, Uk
* Bohemia - Roger David (Raja da Punjabi Rapper)
* THE PAK The Original PAKMAN"Da Desi Rapper"®™ PAKMAN From Los angeles/Punjab. PAK
* Pak - Patti a.k.a "Pirate Asian King" Punjabi rapper from islamabad , Pakistan Website
* Mr. Capone-E - Website
* Faz MC - Hip Hop Artist from Australia
* Jihad - Rapper from Cerritos, California. Beat Jin in a 2002 freestyle battle Website
* Kostal - Urdu R&B artist from Sugar Land, Texas Website
* Lazarus - Kamran Rasheed Khan from Detriot, Michigan Website
* PakMan - The Original Punjabi Rapper-American Desi Rapper from Corona, California - Website

* RZK - Hip Hop Artist from Australia
* ShahRick - Produces and Hip Hops in French, from Geneva, Switzerland Website
* Sir Aah - Website
* Waqas Ali Qadri - A member of Outlandish; the fastest Urdu rapper in the world from Copenhagen, Denmark Website
* PakArmz - New recent Hip Hop artist hailing from Queens, New York Website
* Metz & Trix - Website (From Manchester, UK, their first album Danger was an international mega-success, and was produced by RDB).

[edit] UK Bhangra

The UK Asian music scene is full of talent and the most popular is often referred to as UK Bhangra, is a rich blend of Punjabi sounds with western beats such as hip hop and techno; some popular UK Bhangra artists include:

* 8T2 - This Pakistani MC is making waves all across the UK [2]
* Riz Ahmed - Rizwan Ahmed, also known as Riz Ahmed or MC Riz, is an MC and British Actor

8 [[Omar Khan}} - Omar Khan is a British born MC/Producer, who formed a peace group called World Riderz

* Khiza - Owner of Khiza Records from Birmingham, England Website
* Legacy - Tariq Khan from Manchester, England - Website
* Notorious Jatt - Website
* Bona Fide - Maz & Ziggy from Manchester, England Website
* Angrez Ali - UK Pakistani vocalist from Coventry
* DJ Vix aka DJ Vips - Famous DJ from London, UK [3]
* Gupsy Aujla - UK Sikh DJ from Bradford
* Aman Hayer - DJ and Producer from Coventry
* Hunterz - Producers of the "Streets of Bollywood" 1 & 2
* Jinx - Successful Producers and DJs from the Midlands
* Kray Twinz - Desi, Bhangra and Grime/Garage Producers, produced for Lethal Bizzle, Twista and Gappy Ranks
* Northern Lights - Producer Duo from Glasgow
* Tanveer Gogi - Punjabi Vocalist from Glasgow

[edit] Pop, Rock & R&B

Pop & Rock music hadn't seen many Pakistani artists until of late. Some popular Pakistani pop & rock artists include:

* Kraze - The first all-girl Pakistani band from Michigan, USA
* Imran Khan - Imran Khan-Niazi from Holland
* Deeyah - Deepika from Oslo, Norway Website
* Josh The Band - Qurram Hussain from Toronto, Canada and Rupinder Magon from Montreal, Canada Website
* CarMa - A Rock/Alternative act based in Toronto, Canada Website
* Nadia Ali - A former member of ilo from New York City (popularized by the hit single Rapture)- The Next Pakistani Electronic Diva Website
* Tariq Hussain - A Canadian singer-songwriter and radio personality from Cowansville, Canada Website
* DJ Stormz - From The Uk,DJ/Producer and Radio Show Presenter, owner of Toofan Entertainment, Website
* Falak The Band - A South Asian fusion rock band from Toronto, Canada Website
* Kashif - An upcoming English R&B artist based in Montreal, Canada Website
* Zameer - The band is based out of Toronto and consists of three brothers, Zameer, Hussain, and Ali who have been writing and performing together from a very early age. They were previously known as Dead Shyre, and independently sold over 2000 copies of their CD Poet of the Season. Website
* Zzen - A Progressive Rock/Metal outfit coming out of Toronto, Canada Website
* Zeeshan A young singer with Pop & Rock music and great compositions from Lahore, PakistanWebsite

[edit] Music Producers

Music production seems to have stayed in the shadows in the Pakistan music industry. Behind the successes of some of the top talent in the country, there were almost always music producers who never got their due credit. Some of them include:

* Rohail Hyatt - Member of the Band Vital Signs. He has produced all the Vital Signs albums and various other artists like Awaz, Rahet Fateh Ali Khan, Ali Azmat to name a few. He has worked with big names such as Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Ustaad Saami and Fareed Ayaz. His production 'Jiya Dhadak Dhadak Jaye' for the film 'Kalyug' with Rahet Fateh Ali Khan on vocals, went to number one on the Indian charts for 6 weeks in 2005. He has also produced the background score and main score of the film 'Khuda Kay Liye'(In the name of God) Website

[PAKMAN(Yousaf)]_ Member of Pendoo Productionz Producer/Musician He has produce big hits"Soniye" War Gamez" Azadi", Shake It"

Throwing his 1st Underground LP under Grimm mind state, now working with Pendoo productionz for 2nd Album' Groovy"

Did a main score in the Desi/udru/Punjabi Hiphop. More info: [4]

[edit] Music Journalism

Main article: Pakistani music journalism

Music journalism in Pakistan has grown tremendously over the years, especially with the growth of the country's pop music industry and underground rock culture. Popular music journalism was uncommon in the country till about 1985 when Karachi's tabloid, The Star started printing reviews written by Farrukh Moriani who is also considered to be the country's first ever pop music critic. At the end of the eighties and with the coming of the Liberal government of Benazir Bhutto in 1988, the once repressed and frowned upon (by the Islamist dictatorship of General Mohammad Zia-ul-Haq), Pakistani pop music emerged from the underground and started gaining mainstream popularity. With this came another pioneering Pakistani music and fashion critic Fifi Haroon who was amongst the first in the country to undertake full features on the growing local music scene. Another frontrunner in this regard was Mohammed Ali Tim, but it wasn't until the arrival of the iconoclastic Nadeem F. Paracha in 1990 that music journalism started to be taken as a serious form of journalism in Pakistan. With Paracha was Farjad Nabi (at The The News International) and Aysha Aslam (at The Herald). Streaming Pakistani music online.

[edit] See also

* Music of South Asia
* Culture of Pakistan
* History of Pakistani pop music
* Association of Music Professionals of Pakistan
* Pakistani musical instruments
* List of Pakistani musicians
* List of Pakistani film singers
* List of Pakistani folk singers
* List of Pakistani ghazal singers
* List of Pakistani qawwali singers
* List of Pakistani musical groups
* List of songs about Pakistan
* Filmi pop
* National Academy of Performing Arts

Junoon (band)

Junoon (band)

Origin Flag of Pakistan Karachi, Sind, Pakistan
Genre(s) Sufi Rock
Years active 1990 – Present
Label(s) EMI: Pakistan
EMI Arabia
Lips Records
Sadaf Stereo
Salman Ahmad
John Alec
Aashiq Ali
Tom France
Sunny Jain
Jeremy Wilms
Former members
Brian O'Connell
Nusrat Hussain
Ali Azmat
Fahad Syed
Jay Dittamo

Junoon (Urdu: جنون) (meaning "obsession" in Urdu and "madness" in Arabic) is one of Pakistan and South Asia's most popular Rock bands, based out of Karachi, Pakistan, and formed in 1990 by guitarist/songwriter/medical doctor Salman Ahmad. Junoon is considered as one of the most successful bands in the history of the music of South Asia. It basically comes in the genre of Sufi rock. At the time, Junoon consisted of two other members: Ali Azmat on vocals and Nusrat Hussain on keyboards.


1 Etymology
  • 2 History
  • 3 Music
  • 4 Members
    • 4.1 Salman Ahmad (Guitar/Songwriter)
    • 4.2 Ali Azmat (Lead Vocalist)
    • 4.3 Brian O'Connell (Bass)
    • 4.4 Shehryar Ahmad (Band Manager)
    • 4.5 John Alec (Producer/Bassist)
    • 4.6 Nusrat Hussain (Keyboards)
  • 5 Discography
    • 5.1 Albums
  • 6 Trivia
  • 7 References
  • 8 See also
  • 9 External links


The name Junoon came to lead guitarist Salman Ahmad in a dream where one of his teachers shook him and said "Tumhey mousiqui ka Junoon hai!" (You have an obsession for music!). He formed Junoon soon after with two friends, Ali Azmat and Brian O Connell.


Though the band's first album, the self titled "Junoon" barely made a dent in the Pakistani music industry. Their second album "Talaash" (The Quest) began creating a cult following for Junoon.

It was only after their 1995 release of their third album "Inquilaab" (Revolution), that Junoon developed a nationwide fan following, blending rock guitars and bluesy vocals with eastern elements like the use of tablas (traditional south Asian hand drums), raga-inspired melodies, traditional Pakistani folk music, and Eastern inspired poetry.

The band were one of the first bands in Pakistan to insist on playing live music where most music was sampled and programmed synth pop. Heavily influenced by rock bands like Led Zeppelin, Junoon aimed at combining loud guitar riffs with the tranquility of sufi poetry by the likes of Maulana Rumi, Allama Iqbal and Baba Bulleh Shah.

Success didn't come easy to Junoon as they tried to defy traditions in a conservative country like Pakistan. Their politically influenced songs were often subject to censorship, which led to the eventual ban from all state run television and radio during the rule of former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

In 1998, the band took both Pakistan and India by storm with their hit single "Sayonee" which was part of their tremendously successful fourth studio album "Azadi" (Freedom) released by EMI. In 1999, Junoon released their fifth studio album "Parvaaz" (The Flight), which was based mostly on the poetry of Baba Bulleh Shah. "Parvaaz" was recorded and mixed at Abbey Road Studios in London and was hailed by critics as Junoon's finest work to date. Junoon won the award of "Best International Group" at the Channel V Music Awards in New Delhi, India in November 1999, where Sting, Def Leppard, and Prodigy performed with Junoon.

UNESCO invited Junoon to perform at their Millennium Peace concert in 1999 in Paris. The synergy created by Junoon aimed at peace, was an inspiration to all those present, which included renowned legendary artists like Lionel Richie, Dr. K.J. Yesudas, Ray Charles, Montserrat Caballé and Zubin Mehta conducting the Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra. The famous actors Gregory Peck, Sidney Poitier, and Peter Ustinov were the masters of ceremony. Dignitaries from around the world, including the heads of the European union and the ambassadors from 170 countries attended this global event.

Compilation albums of the bands music and videos were released in 2000 (Junoon 1990-2000). Junoon released "Ishq" in 2001 and "Dewaar" in 2003 . Salman Ahmad was appointed Goodwill Ambassador by the United Nations, attending a Special Session of the UN General Assembly. Following the 9/11 attacks, Junoon helped to organise a concert at the General Assembly on UN Day with Junoon and an Indian group performing at the Assembly Hall, a first of its kind. They also released their first English-language single, "No More" - an anti-violence song which deals directly with the events of that day. However they called "No More" as their first English song but before "No More" they had released English songs in their first two albums such as "Our Land", "Lady Magic", "Downtown Princess", "Game Of Chance". The song "No More" is the first English song for which Junoon made a video.

Junoon has been the most successful Pakistani group in history, having toured extensively around the planet, including at the renowned European rock festival, Roskilde in June 2000, where Pearl Jam, Iron Maiden, Travis, Queensrÿche, and over 200 other world famous artists performed. The band has been across Asia, Europe, North America, the Middle East, and performed for kings, queens, presidents and prime ministers across the globe.

Junoon's track "Garaj Baras" was selected as part of a Bollywood movie soundtrack in 2003 for the Pooja Bhatt film Paap, which topped the charts again in that country in 2004 . The band's controversial single "Pappu Yaar" again shot to the #1 spot in Pakistan.

In 2005, Brian O'Connell returned to his native New York. Pakistani musician Mekal Hassan and the band's producer John Alec have been playing bass guitar for live shows in his place. A reunion concert took place in Dubai, UAE in March 2006.

Both band members Ali Azmat and Salman Ahmad have released their debut solo album in the market. Salman Ahmad said in a few interviews that Junoon will release their 8th studio album in the year of 2007.


As it goes for Junoon's music, what has been seen is that their music, lyrics and sound is based upon issues of today. Their music has been one major force which has truly kept the national spirits high amidst the prevailing social woes which have surely worsened in the last three decades. Such music included songs like Jazba-E-Junoon, Sayonee, Talaash, Main kaun hun and many more. Considering everything mentioned on this page, it is not surprising to learn that the popularity, standard and stature of Junoon is considered to be the same as that of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan or Lata Mangeshkar. Junoon's music has captivated the Pakistani youth for well over ten years and they were the only saving grace to Pakistani music on the international scene after the departure of Pakistani pop-music heavyweights, Nazia Hassan, Zohaib Hassan and the Vital Signs.

One of the legendary tours that Junoon had undertaken was their tour to Denmark and Europe in 2000-2001. This tour played a pivotal role in increasing Junoon's international popularity and standing and in spreading awareness about Pakistani music.

Junoon has played a major role in bringing the people of India and Pakistan close to one another. When tensions were high after the nuclear explosions in 1998, Junoon's' "Yaaron yehi dosti hai" was being played quite enthusiastically across music channels in India which also had a sizeable audience in Pakistan. Junoon's viewpoints on nuclear tests were loud enough to reach the White House. Their claim that rather than spending billions on nuclear weapons which would basically cause nothing more ruthless destruction, should be spent on spreading the light of education, alleviating poverty and providing good socio-health care conditions to the masses.


Salman Ahmad (Guitar/Songwriter)

  • Founder of the band
  • Song Writer/Leader/Lyricist/Guitarist/Pianist/Composer/Co-Producer of the band
  • Previously was in Eclipse, Eastern Winds, The Doctor's League (pop band)
  • Previously was in the band Vital Signs.
  • Brought up in Rockland County, New York.
  • Appeared in the VH1 News Special Islamabad Rock City, a rockumentary on Junoon hosted by Susan Sarandon
  • Appeared in the PBS/BBC documentary The Rockstar and the Mullahs in 2004.
  • Appeared in the PBS/BBC documentary It's My Country Too in 2005.
  • UN Goodwill Ambassador for HIV/Aids
  • Made two appearances on Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher in 2001.
  • Currently teaches a course on Islamic Music at the City University of New York's Queens College campus and is involved with QC professor Dr. Mark Rosenblum's efforts to bring Jewish and Muslim students together through shared cultural and musical experiences.

Ali Azmat (Lead Vocalist)

  • Previously was in Jupiters.
  • An icon of angry youth,He commands a wide range of vocals.Infact,It was Ali's superb voice that led Junoon to a wide spread popularity internationally.
  • Currently,He's working on his self titled solo project and has released an album "Social Circus" which was a critical hit commercially.

Brian O'Connell (Bass)

  • A U.S. citizen by origin who eventually called Pakistan his home.
  • Was friends with Salman Ahmad long before Junoon was formed.
  • Joined the band during the second album Talaash in 1992.
  • Responsible for harmonizing the western 5-string bass riffs with the traditional tabla and drums.
  • Was married toPakistani actress and model Ayeshah Alam

Shehryar Ahmad (Band Manager)

  • Pakistani-American, born in London, England
  • Attended University of California, Los Angeles
  • Trained as an investment banker with JP Morgan at their 23 Wall Street office
  • Designed as the first Pakistani music website[citation needed]
  • Joined the band to release the Azadi album, negotiating the band's first international record deal with EMI World.
  • Arranged Junoon's first international tour of the US, UK, Europe, the Middle East, Japan, China and India.
  • Negotiated largest endorsement contract with Coke in 2003.
  • Announced departure from the band in 2005 to join BMA Capital, an investment bank.

John Alec (Producer/Bassist)

  • Mixed and produced Azadi, Parvaaz, Ishq, Daur-e-Junoon, and Deewar
  • Childhood friend of founder Salman Ahmad
  • Owns J.A. Studios in New York
  • Started playing bass for Junoon after Brian's departure from the band

Nusrat Hussain (Keyboards)

  • Was previously with the band Vital Signs.
  • Was part of Junoon only during the debut album.
  • Was the voice behind the first composition and hit 'Khawab'.
  • Went on to release a solo album in 1992.
  • Is a pilot for Pakistan International Airlines.



Album cover Album information

Junoon (Obsession)
  • Released: 1991
  • Singles: "Khaub", "Neend Aati Nahin", "Heer"
  • Label: EMI: Pakistan
Talaash (The Search)
  • Released: 1993
  • Singles: "Bheegi Yaadein", "Jazba-E-Junoon", "Talaash"
  • Label: EMI: Pakistan
Kashmakash (Struggle)
  • Released: 1995
  • Singles: "Mujhay Insaf Do", "Husan Walo", "Saeein"
  • Label: VCI Records
(Inquilaab Revolution)
  • Released: 1996
  • Singles: "Dosti","Rooh Ki Pyas", "Mein Kaun Hoon"
  • Label: VCI Records

Azadi (Freedom)
  • Released: 1997
  • Singles: "Khudi", "Meri Awaz Suno", "Sayonee", "Yaar Bina"
  • Label: EMI Arabia / VCI
Parvaaz (The Flight)
  • Released: 1999
  • Singles: "Bulleya","Ghoom", "Mitti", "Sajna", "Sanwal"
  • Label: EMI Arabia / Lips Records
Millennium 1990-2000
  • Released: 2000
  • Singles: "Azadi", "Muk Gaye Nay", "Allah Hu (Live)"
  • Label: Lips Records

Ishq (Love)
  • Released: 2001
  • Singles: "Chal Kuriye","Chaen", "Ishq"
  • Label: Lips Records
Daur-e-Junoon (The Era of Junoon)
  • Released: 2002
  • Singles: "Garaj Baras" Live Songs: "Heer Alap", "Sayonee", "Jazba 2002"
  • Label: Sadaf Stereo

Junoon for Peace
  • Released: 2002
  • Singles: "No More", "Khudi", "Bulleya"
  • Label: Nameless Music
Dewaar (The Wall)
  • Released: 2003
  • Singles: "Deewar","Baarish", "Garaj Baras", "Yeh Maza Zindagi Ka", "Hungama"
  • Label: Sadaf Stereo


  • Junoon expressed interest in singing with Morten Harket, vocalist of the Norwegian band a-ha. Morten Harket and Junoon teamed up for a duet in 2001.
  • Junoon has also sung a cover of the Morten Harket song " Holy Ground ".
  • Salman who is the UN Goodwill ambassador for HIV Aids, was invited once again recently to perform at the UN General Assembly Hall with Richard Gere, Whoopi Goldberg, Naomi Watts, Wyclef Jean (from the Fugees) and Jackie Chan in 2006.
  • Junoon is the biggest band of South Asia.
  • On December 11th 2007, Junoon performed on the Nobel Peace Prize Concert in Oslo, Norway together with a variety of artists, wich was broadcasted live to over 100 countries.


  1. ^ Nobel Peace Prize Concert 2007. Retrieved on 2007-12-11.



  • Greatest Hits (1999)
  • 2nd Album (2001)
  • Choro Pyar Wyar (2003)


  • Kaash (1st Song)
  • Choro Pyar Wyar (Remix)

Reunion (Unreleased)

  • Jinn (sneak peek)
  • Sohniye (sneak peek)
  • Chal Diye (sneak peek)
  • Tota Maina (rough)

a little fun movie clip check it