Peshkash, launched in 2020, is an Instagram page with audio clips and photographs. Each click creates a pleasant surprise. Click 1. A 1979 vinyl released by Shalimar Recording Company Limited titled Music of Pakistan Bazm-e-Laila. For those who associate Runa Laila only with legendary Bengali numbers such as Istishener Railgarita or Bondhu Tin Din Tor Barite Gelam, this is a melodious reminder that she could be identified as a Bangladeshi singer today but has become Runa Laila. in Pakistan, and straddles many musicals. cultures and subcultures. One of the Bazm-e-Laila numbers is Jab Se Gaya Hai Mera Bachpan. Search the internet and you will find the video of a slender Runa barely out of her bachpan, hand over heart, swaying and chanting “Gulaaaabiiii”.
Peshkash founder Natasha Noorani told the Telegraph that an offline library and archive is in sight, as well as a website for people around the world to have access to Pakistani music. She says, “In Pakistani music, there have been a lot of erasures. Music from 1947 to the late 1970s was erased because Pakistani institutions do not keep records or allow public access.
Slide. Slide. Click on. The page contains an article on PIA’s in-flight music (1970s), a vinyl of wedding songs composed by archivist (Madras-born) Lutfullah Khan, a debut album by Nazia and Zoheb Hassan, and music by dance of the EMI stables. (EMI is Pakistan’s oldest and largest music company; it was once The Gramophone Company of Pakistan.)
Nahid Akhtar’s Naughty Boy audio clip is just long enough that you hear a funky instrumental followed by a hoarse trailing “Oh you, come here, naughty boy”. Noorani, who cross-references extensively, cites UK label Finders Keepers as having obtained the compilation from EMI. On the Finders Keepers site, you can listen to the rest of the song. How are you, “Principal pyaar held karaaa, duniya se main kyun daraaa… ”The article reads -“ Reimagine some of the most action-packed Bollywood productions (which Lollywooders actively did), then fire the makeup department, cut the special effects budget, then improvise. The lack of shine on a dusty Pakistani mini-LP makes for truly experimental oriental pop music.
Said Noorani, “Peshkash is basically to show that there isn’t a single mono sound coming out of Pakistan.
Azadi Records is an independent label launched in 2017. It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that it wears its heart on its homepage, which has only one visual – a cow. Click on the text – list, press releases, etc. – and there will appear a ticker that says, “Hide your cattle …” Uday Kapur, journalist, DJ and co-founder of Azadi records, proffers, “This was in response to the beef ban. We were on the point of putting on a show and since most of us are foodies who also love beef I thought it would be hilarious to have a slogan about all the gaurakshaks having to hide their cattle just because we are coming to town Underlying this arrogant response is the label’s philosophy, a philosophy that Mo Joshi – once lead singer of one of the UK’s first live hip-hop groups and the other founder of Azadi – calls “Counter-narrative”.
But first, a look at who they’re posting. There’s Ahmer Javed from Kashmir chanting the repeal of Section 370 in Inqalab released in October 2019. Then there’s Prabh Deep, who is now well known in music circles as an MC, but when he did his 2017 debut with Azadi Records, he was a voice of Tilak Nagar singing about life as he knew it. “Class mera music / Sar te pag mai ha Sikh”, sings Prabh Deep in Class-Sikh. There is Swadesi and his “Mumbai-based multilingual crew”. Their trippy The Warli Revolt is against logging in Mumbai’s Aarey Forest, and was produced in collaboration with activist and tribal leader Warli Prakash Bhoir.
In 2020, Azadi Records received 2,500 demos. Joshi reviews the demo submissions, Kapur “checks the facts” for authenticity. Kapur explains, “You hear a lot of political music that broaches the subject superficially, because they (the artists) haven’t had that experience. The goal behind the music we play is to reach artists in these affected communities. “
Joshi adds, “A lot of what we’re doing now not only provides a counter-narrative, but it’s also the timestamp and documentation of a version of the story that may not have been written by the winners. “
Sarah Elizabeth Chawla is a partner of the Border Movement project, a Goethe-Institut initiative and platform launched in 2012 primarily to encourage interaction between emerging electronic music communities in South Asia and Germany. Chawla talks about other Indian initiatives: REProduce, a platform that hosts listening rooms across the country; boxout, which is a Delhi-based community radio showcasing alternative music; the Coven Code women’s collective; the Consolidate label based in Bangalore. Sarah is a co-founder of the online music magazine Wild City and the Magnetic Fields music festival and from what she says it feels like there is an ‘alternative’ music conversation and experience, no. Bollywood films, which take place in urban India.
Ghurni’s descriptor reads: “a series of listening sessions, where we want to explore how people listen to music collectively”. The initiator is a non-profit artist collective from Bangladesh called Karkhana Collective. And the captain of the ship prefers to be identified as a woman and calls himself Maw, as in the Bengali alphabet.
Of the three initiatives, this is the one whose objective is the most difficult to convey, conceptually, in particular because it tries to do more than one thing at a time.
Maw, who is a trained DJ as well as a critical gender studies student, speaks in terms of “sound experiences”, “sound installations”, “ambient soundscapes”, “bro culture”. Ghurni’s social media pages feature articles about music events – “the free-style queues”; something dedicated to techno from Tunisian Deena Abdel Wahed to Malaysian Tzusing; and even a Bangladeshi composer trained in Hindustani and Western classical music “his production uses a hybrid of acoustics and electronic processes”.
Most of the listening sessions are free, some paid but reasonably priced, and almost all post-pandemic are online. The physical locations have names like Jatra Biroti and Studio 6/6 and are not five-star spaces. And there are workshop announcements – live visual manipulation and projection mapping, etc.
All of these Ghurni endeavors become easier to understand and appreciate if one understands and appreciates the social realities of Bangladesh, class, gender, nightlife et al. Maw and his colleagues want to change the experience of listening to music, to make it less elitist, less gendered. They also want to provide music-oriented Bangladeshi youth with training in digital sound production.
Explains Maw, “Ghurni is not for the Bangladeshi music scene, which is diverse, complex and heterogeneous… Electronic music remains very niche in Bangladesh and very inaccessible, due to its sometimes high cost and also the way it is. translated by raves, restricted evenings to high-end places. Ghurni aims to make this music accessible by keeping in mind that everyone’s social and economic realities are not the same.