Lahore Music Meet - Pakistan's First Ever Music Symposium

    Written by: Momina Mindeel
    Posted on: April 04, 2016 | Post your comment here Comments | 中文

    Mai Dhai performing 'Koyal Shor Machaway' - Lahore music Meet, Alhamra Cultural Complex, April 2016

    Mai Dhai performing 'Koyal Shor Machaway'

    The second edition of Pakistan’s first ever music symposium – Lahore Music Meet (Mehfil-e-Mausiqi Lahore) – took place on the 1st and 2nd of April at the Alhamra Cultural Complex. The event was a join-up of a large number of talks, music workshops, live outdoor performances, as well as an enormous food court featuring several food start-ups including Khanaybaz, Sarak pay Karak, Maroo Tandoors, and a number of Gol Gappa stalls.

    The central lawn featured live outdoor performances throughout the major portion of both the event days. Although the outdoor performances served as the glue that kept the entire event in place, their unrestricted timings disrupted a number of talks being held simultaneously in the adjacent halls. The event, nonetheless, was one of its kind, and succeeded in attracting a colossal number of music lovers from all over the country.

    Lahore music Meet, Alhamra Cultural Complex, April 2016

    Ali Sethi, Ali Zafar and Zoe Viccaji at the LMM

    The first day of the LMM featured several talks on classical and electronic music, band dynamics, and the impact of contemporary radio. However, the live evening performance by Mai Dhai – a classical folk singer hailing from Tharparkar – headlined the day in entirety. Haroon, Ali Sethi, Tina Sani, the Mekaal Hasan Band and Noori were enough to keep the crowd glued to their seats throughout all the sessions, as the major fraction of the audience comprised college and university students.

    The art gallery, situated adjacent to the central lawn, showcased a curated collection of album artworks of various Pakistani musicians from different decades. The exhibition was titled “Music to my Eyes”, and was curated by Karachi-based illustrators Samya Arif and Sana Nasir, and the photographer Humayun Memon. The description of the collection stated rather clearly that it was “not just a walk through memory lane, but a look at the evolutionary process of the music-based art from vinyls through cassettes and CDs, all the way to how musicians use artwork to promote music on current social media” (from the 1960s to the present year). Unfortunately, despite the unique idea, the gallery – unlike the halls and central lawn – did not have a large attendance.

    Lahore music Meet, Alhamra Cultural Complex, April 2016

    A collection of album artworks of Pakistani musicians over the decades

    The second day was all about concert management, western harmonies, the evolution of music in Pakistan, and more outdoor performances. Zoe Viccaji, Naseer and Shahab and Takatak gave some remarkable performances, complemented by surprisingly pleasant weather in Lahore that day.

    The session “You can’t be Serious: Satirical Music in Pakistan”, moderated by Ali Raza, a professor of History at LUMS, brought to surface the frequent problems faced by our satirists. Ali Gul Pir and Mooroo kept the audience thoroughly amused with their witty and sarcastic humour. The talk formally began when Ali Gul Pir started narrating his early childhood memories of when people would stare at his mother whenever they went out for shopping, and how this reprehensible phenomenon, rather common among Pakistani men, served as an inspiration for his song Taroo Maroo. Throughout the talk, he kept asserting that his music is purely satirical, and hence should not taken in offense. He, along with Mooro, threw light on the lack of satirical music in Pakistan, due to which their work has incited a lot of opposition from the public. Ali Gul Pir confessed that he had actually received life threats due to the eccentric nature of the lyrical content in his songs, but this would not stop him from pursuing his artistic talents.

    The musical extravaganza concluded with a heart-warming performance by Attaullah Khan Esakhelvi, the legendary folk musician.

    Lahore music Meet, Alhamra Cultural Complex, April 2016

    Attaullah Esakhelvi at the LMM

    The Lahore Music Meet is not merely a musical celebration, but a festival aimed at developing a strong musical affinity that would pave the way for future artists and collaborators in the country, and even more importantly, for a much-needed renaissance in Pakistani music.   


    All images have been taken from the ‘Lahore Music Meet’ Facebook page.

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