Public perception dictates that cross-border collaborations have come to a screeching halt over the past two years. But that’s an oxymoron, at least partially.
A series of strong and limited Pakistani drama series found a platform with India’s Zee Zindagi, giving them a wider market, although Pakistanis can no longer subscribe to the platform.
It is true that Pakistani actors and musicians cannot work in India as before (like Mahira Khan, Fawad Khan, Saba Qamar, Sajal Aly, Ali Zafar). However, the audience for shows like Coke Studio and the discourse between artists is alive. From Takatak to Rutaba Yakub, collaborative songs between artists from both countries were born, transcending man-made boundaries.
Recent collaborations include a song titled ‘SaafHawa (Clean Air)’.
Associated with the UN Breathe Life campaign on International Clean Air Day, the single features Zeb Bangash on vocals with lyrics by Mir Ali Hussain. Shantanu Moitra (‘Kya Khayal Hai’listen)) composed and produced the song with Arab violinist Layth Sidiq as part of the collaboration.
It’s no secret that South Asian countries are so polluted that they are the epicenter of what is essentially a global air pollution crisis. The purpose of this song is to bring attention to this crisis. With Pakistan already experiencing the worst floods that have left thousands dead and millions more affected in the aftermath, the song’s timing is relevant.
Speaking about the song, Zeb Bangash explained how the devastation wrought by the floods across Pakistan will also be felt by the next generation.
Believing in the threat posed by climate change, she said: “With the catastrophic floods in my country [Pakistan]it is clear that climate change presents a future of consequences to be borne by our children. ‘Saaf Hawa (Clean Air)’ is a heartfelt ode to Clean Air written and performed as a love song. I am extremely happy to be able to be the voice of ‘SaafHawa (Clean Air)’.”
According to a press release, the song was commissioned by Air Quality Asia (AQA). He added, “Air Quality Asia (AQA) has commissioned an anthem featuring a human voice due to the positive response to vocal music in South Asia. With this song, AQA launched a movement for clean air in collaboration with the United Nations campaign: Breathe Life. The main goal is to inspire the South Asian public to collaborate across borders and countries to achieve clean air, as they are the sole main culprits for the pollution that occurs around the world while contributing with the lowest carbon emissions.
Hope this hymn makes the difference and the artists presented can work together without national constraints. A favorite example is Zeb and (Haniya Aslam)’s collaboration with Shantanu Moitra and Swanand Kirkire for the opening season of The Dewarists (‘Kya Khayal Hai’). Moving on, Zeb Bangash’s collaboration with Shamali Afghan and Saad Sultan also suits the style of music that Zeb Bangash is best known for. Check it out and before you do, give’SaafHawa’ a chance, not only the song, but also the idea behind it.
Many music listeners tend to skim through so many songs that an algorithm will automatically suggest similar music tips.
But as a result, other artists, especially if they fly under the radar or don’t break through like a Hasan Raheem does, are left behind.
As part of Coke Studio 14Kaifi Khalil joined Eva B and Wahab Ali Bugti for a song titled ‘Kana Yaari’.
As the song grew in popularity, the song automatically gave Khalil a nationwide platform. No one can top Wahab Ali Bugti, but it kept us following the music of Kaifi Khalil. What is evident is that like most of his peers, Kaifi is ready to make a name for himself singing and uploading raw content to Youtube.
It is also true that the Coke Studio 14 machines, more powerful and faster than ever, showed us a side of Kaifi Khalil. His social media platforms suggest there is more than one side to the musician. He released his music quietly but there is a context to every song.
‘Kahani Suno 2.0’released in the summer of 2022, is a mournful love song, singing about that elusive soul mate.
What works in the song’s favor is the raw music video. No gimmickry and not a headache-inducing song. This is another side of Kaifi Khalil and he has enough fans with the song hitting the 3 million mark; a feat that many traditional artists cannot boast of. Along with performing the song, Kaifi also wrote the lyrics and created the music. Head over to his YouTube page and you’ll find several songs, both raw and polished. Kaifi’s performance on Coke Studio 14 is diametrically different, lending himself to the belief that he is not just a good performer but an up-and-coming artist who can make his own music and write his own lyrics and play with languages.