'The idea is to give a platform to musicians from all genres and ages where they are forced to engage with each other'
Dedicated to celebration and critique of music in Pakistan, Lahore Music Meet (LMM) 2016, a two-day music festival, began here on Saturday.
LMM founder Natasha Noorani shared the idea behind convening the festival in Lahore, saying that at the festival, they would try to cover as many topics such as classical music, metal music and indie music, besides highlighting the importance of traditions and narratives of the Pakistani music.
“So the idea is to give a platform to musicians from all genres and all ages where they are forced to engage with each other, which is something that never really happens,” she said.
“Therefore, we call it the LMM as we want people to meet each other and create a music fraternity, which is generally very scattered and fragmented. So you get to hangout in this space with your favorite musicians and look for ways to collaborate.”
The festival was a lively affair with a range of sessions featuring riveting discussions on various aspects of music, particularly in the Pakistani context, while workshops were held on how to master playing musical instruments and chords. Musicians also interacted with the audience and gave them advice on how to pursue a music career in Pakistan.
Among them was the band Noori, with Ali Noor, Ali Hamza and drummer Kami Paul, who during their session titled ‘Believing in Yourself’, talked about how music has its own journey and therefore cannot be relied upon as a means of earning livelihood.
“You genuinely make music for yourself and you can’t expect it to serve as a means of making money because good music will always be heard, just like it did in the olden times,” Mr Noor explained.
Taking the discussion forward, Mr Hamza said: “Making music is a multifaceted process during which your experiences from childhood, youth and otherwise come into play thus as a musician you have a responsibility to share your thoughts and ideas about society through music.”
Mr Noor invited passionate musicians to join them for their new album, so together they can produce the kind of music that comes out of meaningful conversations. The band concluded the session with a fiery performance, singing ‘Muje Roko’, also one of their classic singles.
Similarly, Tina Sani in her session “Classical Music Appreciation” shared her journey of music through the years and discussed reasons why classical music is missing from the Pakistani music scene today.
“The biggest reason is that no gharanas (or households) exist in the geographical boundaries of Pakistan today as the people who migrated to Pakistan during Partition were only few members of a family,” she said.
“The television supported them however there were not many teachers then to help them to continue practicing music.”
Arieb Azhar gave enough reasons to budding musicians to take up music as a career in his highly informative session titled “Proud to be a Marasi”, where he took the audience on a journey through the history of music in the subcontinent, where it was considered a great talent and also talked about its cultural significance. Ali Sethi, in conversation with Mina Malik, shared how he decided to take up music as a career, particularly classical music, as he was inspired by its illustrious history in South Asia.
Other notable sessions included “The World of Percussion” where Sikander Mufti spoke about the elements of percussion. The workshop ended with an enthralling performance. About the festival, Mr Sikander said: “The LMM is absolutely a brilliant initiative. I’m so glad it’s happening for the second year in a row and I hope it keeps happening because things like this don’t exist - not in Karachi or Islamabad. I’m happy that Lahore, the cultural capital, is owning this festival.”
Under a crown of colorful festival flags, outdoor performances continued in full swing throughout the day. These included performances by Mooroo, Shamoon Ismail, Umer Naru and Bayaan.
Taimoor Salahuddin, aka Mooroo, was all praise for the festival.
“I think it’s a great initiative and festivals like this should happen more to revive music because music is not just for the senses but it is also an intellectual activity with which your brain grows,” he said.
Besides music, the venue also offered an interesting mix of food stalls like Awesamosas with their delicious assortment of samosas, ‘Maro Tandoor’ with their popular selection of naans and juice stalls.
The day one concluded with phenomenal performances by Mai Dhai and the Red Blood Cat.