News / Asia

Rock Musicians 'Carry On' in Pakistan

Rock Musicians 'Carry On' in Pakistani
X
March 20, 2013
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.
TEXT SIZE - +
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

Abuja Blast Impacts Lives, Livelihoods

Officials say they are looking at ways to help bombing victims and boosting security More

Cambodia Technology Adviser Criticizes Cybercrime Draft Law

Phu Leewood says current criminal code can be used to prosecute offenders and that there is no need for a separate law More

Photogallery A Year Later, Boston Remembers Deadly Marathon Bombings

City pauses to honor victims and salute emergency workers who came to their assistance in frantic moments after blasts 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.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid