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

Photogallery Pistorius Sentenced, Taken to Prison

Pistorius, convicted of culpable homicide in shooting death of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, will likely serve about 10 months of five-year sentence, before completing it under house arrest More

UN to Aid Central Africa in Polio Vaccinations

Synchronized vaccinations will be conducted after Cameroon reports a fifth case of the wild polio virus in its territory More

WHO: Ebola Vaccine May Be in Use by Jan.

WHO assistant director Dr. Marie Paule Kieny says clinical trials of Ebola vaccines are underway or planned in Europe, US and Africa 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.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid