Music is like a bird that knows no cage but flies everywhere to spread peace, love and faith. It wanders without any concern over boundaries, fences and divisions, speaking a tongue that is not bounded by words yet comprehended still all over the world.
Ironically, it sings the sweetest when it is maimed, bruised or hurt. And when it speaks through its ebbs and flows, rises and falls, the whole lot listens- entranced, enraptured and engrossed.
I was one such listener even from a very early age, fascinated by all its sorcery but also intrigued by its process. It was incomprehensible to me how a pair of strings could create a havoc of emotions inside, could change the whole climate of a room and turn sorrow into calm and calm into sorrow in a moment.
This magic I wanted to understand and know for myself. From where did it spring? What was its source? Could I make such a magic for myself? I thought the answer to all these questions lied in the magical/musical instruments themselves. So I saved up enough money from my meagre pocket money to buy a harmonium for myself at the time when I was studying at Lahore during my college years.
But the harmonium in my hands only produced discordant sounds, jarring and unpleasant even after repeated attempts. The magic simply wasn’t there. Therefore I started going to a musical coaching center, though at the expense of a slight guilt for not committing myself fully to my studies- the only purpose which I had come to achieve so far from home.
Only then did I learn where the magic really lurked and how it could be produced. It had rules which every magic maker or composer had to follow, but then only following the rules could not produce any magic. One had to have the heart for it as well, for reaching that magical moment when the tunes spring out on their own.
I labored and labored over the following years to unravel this mystery which had fascinated me for so many years. During the university years, I was attending musical events on a regular basis. I was listening to Ustad Salamat Ali Khan besides ravenously consuming the music of Ustad Mehdi Hassan and Ustad Ghulam Ali. I would follow any musician after listening to their concerts for the little chit-chat about the landscape of music which they had mined so deeply.
By then the mystery had started untangling itself slowly. I was composing songs by my own. I then wanted to mould the tough and resistant Balti language into a fit musical form. By that way, I wanted to preserve the fast fading Balti culture of mine.
I started working on a project in that regard which besides having the core traditional elements could incorporate the modern musical elements as well, so as to be in tune with the changing musical tastes of our times.
But the biggest problem was the funding and sponsoring. Any such venture required money which a student subsisting on pocket money from parents couldn’t afford. Yet that did not pose such a big problem when so many encouraging and kindly faces sprung up to give a helping hand. Among them, Mirza Ajmal Baig and Dr. Zakir Hussain deserve all the credit who supported and helped me at every stage.
And so we officially released our first song, dedicating it to all Mothers. It was much appraised everywhere which was completely unexpected. Besides going viral on the social media, it was also mentioned in some television channels. We had not hoped for such a great response.
Now I have even bigger plans after this success. I want to create something even better than the last one.