It was time for Delhi to rock once again with the most awaited rock fest of the year, “South Asian Band Festival” Presented by Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) in collaboration with Ministry of External Affairs & SEHER, the three-day music festival, was in its fifth edition. The historical “Purana Qila “with its charming ambiance once again entertained the audience and the participants.
Among several bands featured this year highlight of the festival was the girl-band of Zeb & Haniya from Pakistan who belong to the conflict-torn region of Pakistan – Peshawar. Pakistani duo, with their music influenced by the classical tradition of the Indian subcontinent, Latin and West African grooves, American folk and blues, and with their poignant, soulful, and emotive lyrics, hypnotized the audience. Their latest recordings have included songs in Turkish, Dari, and Pushto, and their music has been claimed by diverse audiences across West Asia.
Vaibhav Agarwal talks to the musicians about their performance in the country and their unique blend of music.
A Fusion- Music connecting hearts across borders- Zeb and Haniya (from Pakistan)
This was a wonderful performance today. Do you find any difference between the Indian and Pakistani audience?
Hania: We have actually and unfortunately not played in front of such a big crowd in Pakistan. But we get a fantastic response, positivity, and energy from the crowd in both the countries. Of course, Pakistan is home ground for us and that was the primary audience, to begin with, but getting the same reaction in Delhi felt so great.
Zeb: The crowd is pretty much the same, people are same, faces are same, but I think what’s been unfortunate is that in the past, ever since we have come to the scene, we haven’t really been able to perform to such a large crowd. Half the time I did not realize I was not in Pakistan…. (Laughing), so it was a wonderful experience.
So were you born and brought up in Pakistan?
Hania and Zeb: Yes, we were. You know in India and Pakistan we have a very orthodox culture so as female artists did you face any difficulty?
Hania: Actually no we did not face any difficulty, not as women specifically anyways. We faced the usual issues, which happen with musicians across the world, but as a female artist, we just got everyone’s support and love.
Zeb: No, personally we did not. Every time the response was overwhelming.
What about the Indian artists? Which artist do you like?
Hania: Too many! Everyone like, when I was a teenager I was into heavy metal, I was listening to geeta dutt, RD Burman’s compositions and hemant kumar. These days I listen to Bollywood, a lot of non-film bands, I love Indian Ocean.
A message for the Indian budding artists?
We think this is a great time to be a musician in India, whether it’s in films or independent. The music scene has really grown in India in past years. We landed in Delhi and there were signboards of festivals all over the place, so we think anyone into music, should give it a shot before time flows away.
Zeb and Haniya is a pop group from Kohat, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan. The duo’s songs are mostly in Urdu, but some lyrics are also in Pashto, Persian and Turkish. Their music has been described at various times as alternative, art folk, ethnic blues and easy listening by international reviewer’s and critics