News / Asia

Rock Musicians 'Carry On' in Pakistan

Rock Musicians 'Carry On' in Pakistani
X
March 20, 2013 2:35 PM
Pop and rock bands used to play in clubs across Pakistan in the more liberal 1980s, but have largely receded from the public eye. VOA's Sharon Behn catches up with one band that is still playing and reaching out to other musicians, though, in an effort to keep Pakistani rock and roll alive.
Sharon Behn
— Rock and roll never really died in Pakistan. But it did fade away.

Pop and rock bands used to play in clubs across Pakistan in the more liberal 1980s, but have largely receded from the public eye. One band is still playing and reaching out to other musicians, though, in an effort to keep Pakistani rock and roll alive.

Drummer Allan Smith of the band "RockLite" says 20 years ago there were dozens of bands playing in clubs, discos and parties across the country. Now he says there are only five.

"A lot of people went abroad from Pakistan. And, we have this whole new group of people that have come into Pakistan and have changed the idea, you know - totally believe that this music shouldn't be played, that you shouldn't have this outfit, you shouldn't have long hair, and we usually do get pressured by that. We've got nothing to do, we simply play music," said Smith.

Rising intolerance

Pakistan’s increasing conservatism and threats from some extremist groups have led sponsors to pull out of rock concerts. TV channels rarely promote bands.

The shrinking audiences for Western-influenced music are part of a broader trend against diversity, said university professor and human rights activist Farzana Bari.

"There is an increasing intolerance, there is lack of acceptance for plurality and diversity of thoughts, so I think that is increasingly what we feel. If I think, even myself, when we were growing up, I think our society was far more tolerant and secular and accepting of all kind of diversity," said Bari.

Rocking hard

Even though they cannot play in public, the musicians still jam in private homes, or play house parties like this one. They say performing is still fun.

Indonesian DJ Balqis Natasyrah, who sings with the band, said Pakistan’s art and culture is much richer than the violent images that frequently make the news.

"In the end, I feel like Pakistan is not what you see on TV - it is full of artists. There is a lot of potential here. And, that is what I would like to show to the world, instead of war and conflict and bombs, I would like to introduce Pakistan as what I see in my eyes right now," said Natasyrah.

Musicians like Smith survive by playing in several bands. "I keep telling our musicians, don't give up hope. It could get better," he said.

Until then, he said, let the good times roll and have fun.

You May Like

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

Multimedia 100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

Chocolate Too Bitter? Swap Sugar for Mushrooms

US food technology company develops fermentation process using mushrooms to reduce bitterness in cocoa beans, believes it will cut sugar content in candy More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Shawez from: Ottawa
March 20, 2013 8:10 PM
I'm very sorry to point this out but this article doesnt have one iota of anything resembling the music scene in Pakistan. Let me explain:

- First of all, the 1980s that you mention as the 'more liberal' was actually the least liberal period in Pakistan's history. Gen Zia was the president and had clamped down on all music activity in the country to the point that bands were going abroad to record and release their singles.

- I have been attending concerts since as far as I can remember in Pakistan. Just last year there were a few concerts by Romanian stars Edward Maya, Akcent and Vika Jigulina at different times in the country. Other than that local concerts are always happening in schools, colleges, universities, and local hang out spots. They're going on ALL THE TIME. I can point to dozens just by going through my facebook 'suggested events'.

- Lastly in the past few years music has gotten a tremendous boost from the likes of Coke Studio, Ufone Uth Records, that has given artists (new or old) new avenues of creating amazing music. Coke Studio is recording its 6th season this year. But even before that Pakistan has been having local underground 'battle of bands' type events for young rock'n'roll talent to come up.

So i dont know where exactly all this came from but you're not really giving a correct view of whats going on in Pakistan in terms of the music situation.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israeli
X
Carolyn Presutti
July 23, 2014 1:21 AM
The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israel

The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video NASA Focuses on Earth-Like Planets

For decades, looking for life elsewhere in the universe meant listening for signals that could be from distant civilizations. But recent breakthroughs in space technology refocused some of that effort toward finding planets that may harbor life, even in its primitive form. VOA’s George Putic reports on a recent panel discussion at NASA’s headquarters, in Washington.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.

AppleAndroid