The Launch of the Funoon Salon with Ali Hamza and friends
16 October 2016

We threw a big, fat, soul-filled party on Saturday to launch our Funoon Salon, a series of events which will provide a space for artists and audiences to engage more directly in an intimate, relaxed setting.

Some really incredible people came. Coke Studio Season 9 darling, and an important part of much-loved Pakistani band Noori, Ali Hamza was there. Fresh from touring America, acoustic singer songwriter and another Coke Studio favourite, Bilal ‘Bachana’ Khan was also there. Also the superb emerging talents of Natasha Khan and Noorzadeh Raja.

We were delighted to host Ali Hamza in his first ever UK performance. He sang from his diverse repertoire of pop, rock, Sufi soul and Punjabi folk songs, including his super hits Manwa Re and recent Coke Studio sensation Paar Chanaa De, to many a cheer from the crowd. He talked to the audience throughout – telling them about his musical journey, and the significance and meaning of the different songs – and jammed with the other musicians in a way that we haven’t seen him do before. We’ve received such tremendous feedback from the guests about how much they warmed to him as both a person and a hugely talented musician. We were, and looking back at the videos, continue to be endlessly charmed.

Speaking of charm, Bilal Khan is a sensation live, and a magician with that guitar! From his superb performance of To Kia Hua to getting the audience going on Bachana, he had us enthralled.

We are still getting messages about the luscious, velvety voice of Natasha Khan who accompanied Ali Hamza on an unforgettable rendition of Paar Chanaa De and sang a stunning acoustic version of her new song Tere Bin. And the terrific Noorzadeh, who rounded off the diversity of Pakistani music on display with her blues-y songs sung in both Urdu and English, and who reminded us of the lyrical genius of poet Parveen Shakir.

Not only was the evening a celebration of talent, skill and beauty, but also of unending generosity and goodwill. Ali Hamza worked closely with us to design an interactive format for the performance. Celebrated supperclub chef Asma Khan of Darjeeling Express put on a delicious street-food feast, and more importantly, in many a moment of panic, told us that everything would be alright. Our friend and graphic designer Tania Khan of Still Designing turned the venue into our comfy baithak. Hera Hussain, of the ground-breaking platform for domestic violence survivors Chayn Pakistan live tweeted the background and translations of the Urdu poetry featured in the performances. Our associate partner Goodenough College offered us a beautiful room just off their stunning garden courtyard. It was also at Goodenough that we bumped into Emmanuel who went on to provide tabla, cajon and piano accompaniment to the musicians, and do the sound engineering.

Massive thank you to our glorious team:

Ebba Qureshi

Tania Naima Khan

Sakeena Adamjee

Rida Bilgrami

Daisy Perkins

Pavi Rallapalli

Hera Hussain

Stefania Eugenia

Eva Anderson

Here are some photos!

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Photos by: Stefania Barichello and Implausible Blog

Posted by SK on 19 October 2016






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