Taking their collaborative effort forward, Pakistani band Strings and local act Euphoria recently jammed on the track Aman ki asha, for a live audience hooked onto the radio to mark Martyr’s day last month.
The track written by Palash Sen, was first performed when the two bands performed in Kolkata in December last year. On January 30, the voices from Pakistan and India came together on 92.7 FM via video conferencing with Strings in Karachi and Euphoria in New Delhi. "It was really a unique endeavour that has never been done before. We had to keep things like delay in mind, so we tried to improvise as much as we could," says Sen.
Faisal Kapadia, the lead singer of Strings added that he happily hopped on board when the idea to perform live on air with Euphoria was first mentioned. "We have known each other for the longest time. We respect each other as artistes and we have been performing and singing each other’s songs on stage, so there wasn’t the least bit of hesitation to take it up," says Kapadia.
The Strings and Euphoria friendship developed at the beginning of their careers respectively, when the two bands were slated to perform in 2001 at a concert in Chandigarh. "We met each other and were soon sharing stage. Palash came and sang our songs with us on stage and we decided to perform together as much as we could after that," recalls Kapadia, who also collaborated with Euphoria on a 2003 track titled Jeet lo dil, which was produced for an India-Pakistan cricket tour.
Kapadia also recalls hosting Euphoria and many other Pakistani musicians like Ali Azmat from Jal at band member Bilal Maqsood’s house in Karachi around the same time. “Our music sensibilities match and I think that played an essential role in our growing friendship,” says Kapadia, who will also be performing sometime later this month with Indian Ocean in Ahmedabad.
Reflecting on his nation’s terror-struck state, Kapadia says it’s becoming more and more difficult to find a voice as an artiste in his homeland. “Our frame of mind is quite troubled with all that is happening. The lack of avenues for us musicians is making us feel trapped.
That’s why some of us, like Ali Azmat and Atif Aslam are recording music together to start a cultural revolution of sorts,” says Kapadia.
He recently recorded an angst-ridden, motivational song Ab khud kucch karna padega, with his contemporary Aslam. “Our aim is to spread the message of responsibility and peace amongst the young of our country. We also want to make sure our ties with India as musicians flourish, because that’s the only way our voice can survive,” says Kapadia.