Ahsan Bari is in love with Amir Khusro.“He was an icon of pluralism, the original subversive”, says the brains behind Sounds of Kolachi, and composer, vocalist and guitarist of one of Pakistan’s most exciting musical acts. “In the 13th century, he was making fusion music. He was putting together Persian and Hindavi poetry and language, taking Turkish music and fusing it with Indian sounds. He played a huge role in developing Hindustani classical music, and to this day we are singing, revering and building on his music”.
It’s this legacy of experimental mixing with a view to the future of Indian music that Sounds of Kolachi are all about. A 10-piece ensemble comprised of both Eastern and Western instruments and a choir of vocals, their sound is big, symphonic, orchestral, and a complete departure for Pakistani music.
With the support of The Pakistan Society and Goodenough College, we are thrilled to be bringing the three core members of Sounds of Kolachi – Ahsan (guitar and vocals), Waqas Hussain (sitar) and Gul Muhammad (sarangi) – over from Karachi for our second Funoon Salon, as part of the 2017 Bloomsbury Festival. A celebration of an area of London known for its ideas, creativity and diversity, the Festival is the perfect platform for the band’s explorations of rooted ideas of identity, faith and interconnection through an international vocabulary of music.
Unrestrained by an affinity with any one musical genre, Sounds of Kolachi’s music is a vibrant, audacious and beautiful layering of raag, rock, folk, funk, blues and ghazal. The sitar and sarangi are the band’s beating heart, anchoring its ‘journeys’ in following a reference, idea or inspiration through to musical realisation. Have a listen to the stunning Yaar Mileya, my favourite from the album Elhaam, and Allah Hi Deyga – one of its superhits.
Masterful though the studio recordings are, Sounds of Kolachi are a live band. “No two of our concerts are the same. Our music is fundamentally about connection and we like to talk to our audience, and create with them an experience that’s unique to that performance.” Experimenters at their core, collaborations are the band’s life blood, and they’ll performing with a range of UK-based musicians of Indian and Pakistani heritage at the Salon. We’re delighted to feature the hugely talented Grewal twins – Sukhman and Hernoor, who have a background in kirtan, and the loveliest repertoire of folk songs from the Punjab.
Canapés and chai will be provided by the ever-innovative (and generous) regional food restaurant Talli Joe, and warm and fuzzies by us! Last year was a blast – this year will be even better. Don’t miss it.
When: Saturday 21 October 2017, 7pm
Where: William Goodenough House, Mecklenburgh Square, London WC1N 2AB
Tickets: £25, £20 (students). Please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are unable to afford the ticket price – we have a small number of £10 tickets available.
To book: Bloomsbury Festival
By Seema Khan.
Posted on 4 October 2017
Supported by the Pakistan Society and Talli Joe.