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Mekaal Hasan Band To Jam With Ranjit Barot In Mumbai

The Sufi rock band from Lahore return to play in the city after two years

Rolling Stone India Jan 08, 2013
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Mekaal Hasan

Pakistani guitarist Mekaal Hasan recalls an intimate gig with his band at Press Club Mumbai back in 2005 as one of his most memorable gigs ever. In India, as part of their multi-city tour, the Pakistani Sufi rock band returned to their favorite venue last night, only to see the place completely spruced up from a dull room with functional furniture to a spiffy bar area. “It looked different and I think we had a more excited audience back then,” says Hasan.

For last night’s show, nothing seemed to deter MHB ”“ not the lack of a proper sound system without monitors nor the loudspeakers that blared slogans from a political rally that was in progress at the Azad Maidan next to the club. However, the band played crowd pleasers such as “Chal Bulleya”, “Ranjha” and “Mast Kalandar,” and stepped off stage within half an hour to watch their flautist Pappu aka Mohammad Ahsan perform solo.

Having performed in Ahmedabad this week, the band will play at Blue Frog Mumbai tonight, before they head to Delhi for two more concerts. “We play more shows in India in one week than we do in Pakistan in a year,” says the guitarist. In fact, for over a year now, MHB has not performed on local ground. Citing security issues as a concern, the Pakistani government has managed to pull the plugs on performance arts across the country. “I think that’s one of the reasons why Javed [Bashir, vocalist] went off in the middle”¦ because we were not getting enough work. If you are doing good music and have work, why would you leave?  Bands only break up when the financial pressure reaches a point that you can’t survive,” says the frontman, referring to their lead vocalist having parted ways with the band in 2010.

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At their gig tonight, the band will play songs from their albums Sampooran and Saptak, as well as take requests from the audience. “Ranjit Barot might sit in with us for the Mumbai show and I’ve invited Vishal (Dadlani) and Mahesh (Tinaikar) to come for the show, so who knows if they decide to join us on stage,” adds Hasan. 

 

Mekaal Hasan Band perform at Blue Frog, Mumbai on January 8th. Entry Rs 600; Blue Frog, Delhi on January 13th. Entry Rs 350.  

 

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