Fusion (in music) is a global phenomenon. The world has actually become a global village and music is no exception. The fusion music is going to be a sustainable and long lasting genre.
“You are not meeting just east or west [in music]. You are actually evolving together as a culture. I will not call it fusion music but glocal music. I mix my local music with global music.”
Syed Imran Momina aka Emu, a Pakistani singer and musician, is a staunch supporter and producer of fusion music. His enthusiasm in composing new fusion music has been so strong that he co-founded a band in 2001 naming it Fuzon. He along with Shallum Asher Xavier and Shafqat Amanat Ali founded the band. The pop rock band from Karachi has been described as a fusion of Hindustani classical and modern soft rock music blended with the Sufi style of singing. Emu is a multi-dimensional pianist and a composer, who has been playing since the age of 19.
Emu’s style for arranging his own music and testing with melodies made him set up his own recording and mixing studio and it is where Fuzon’s recording sessions occurred. The band touched the heights of popularity with their first album Saagar, which featured 12 tracks, with a common strain of pop melodies blended with Pakistani classical and folk vocals. The opening track Aakhon Kay Saagar gave rise to their popularity within Pakistan.
Following songs, Akhiyaan, Tere Bina and Khamaaj were played in heavy circulation on the TV and FM stations of Pakistan and India. Fuzon was the first band to release their debut album Saagar in 2002 concurrently in Pakistan and India.
“I grew up listening to Pakistani classical music and western pop music. Since the beginning, I have been interested in creating fusion. I set up a music studio and joined hands with the other two founders and formed the band,” Emu said while talking to Community last week in Doha as the brand ambassador of Pakistan Souq, an online shopping platform.
Emu is also connected to Karachi Arts Council. He is a member of the governing body and chairman of the music committee of the council.
“I look after a music school run by the art council. There are 25 teachers and numerous students. I am preparing an archive of Sindhi folk music for the provincial government. I am also working with a private channel to nourish the singing talent of young children to sing Sufi music. I also organise programmes to hunt for talented young singers,” he disclosed.
Emu and his band have done collaborative music with different musicians across the world. “So far, we have collaborated with Norwegian and Italian musicians. We also have worked with New York- based jazz musicians that included Muslim jazz musicians as well. We have done lots of collaborative works in India, Bangladesh and China. We sang the Chinese national anthem entertaining a gathering. On the 70th Independence Day of Pakistan, I performed in London. I have also composed music for some movies in India. Our work is best known for playback songs for many Pakistani TV dramas.”
The musician wants to see more creative and innovative music produced in Pakistan. “Currently, there are many private TV channels and companies paying much attention on the music production. I want to see the government take more interest in music production. There should be new material injected in the national music scene. Earlier, musicians used to produce music for Radio Pakistan. We need to have more national heroes in the music market.”
The enthusiastic composer is however, happy with the digital platforms available nowadays for music. “Many music platforms have gone obsolete such as CDs. Radio and TV is still available but people now listen more to online music. However, whenever, some new platforms appear in the market, there is always pilferage of music. It worries the musicians. But online platforms such as YouTube are becoming a lot securer.”
Emu believes that music fusion is a genre that can be more creative and innovative. It is going to last for a long time. “The world is connected in real time nowadays. I can ask some of my friends sitting in an African country to play something traditional for me that I will fuse with some Pakistani music. To give an example, I recorded a composition for the members of Ballet Beyond Borders, a US-based ballet dance group, on their recent visit to Pakistan. They enjoyed my composition so much that they invited me to the US where they again performed on my compositions.
“Music fusion will develop more. It is a genre now. You are not only making east or west meet. You are actually meeting with other cultures — evolving together as a culture. If I use one word for fusion, it is glocal. I have mixed Pakistani folk music with western pop music.”
Emu notes that there are a few families who are keeping the eastern classical music alive in Pakistan. “There are Sham Chaurasia gharana [family], Delhi gharana and Gwalior gharana. They keep the music in its purest classical form. There are very good classical singers in Pakistan. I also keep encouraging the young classical singers to stay in touch with their roots.”
Emu was invited by Pakistan Souq as its brand ambassador to Doha. “The love for music has brought me to Qatar. I am thankful to Pakistan Souq. This was my first ever visit to the country. Surprisingly, I met one of my very old friends — Shoaib Baloch, who has been living and working here. We have plans to bring our music to Doha in near future. I also met the Pakistani ambassador here and found him very candid. He is very keen to work for the expatriate community in Qatar.
“I have found Qatar very peaceful. I have met many people who are very friendly and cooperative. Pakistanis living here are doing very well for their country and for Qatar as well. I would love to come here again. I would like to bring young talented singers here in the near future. I am also in discussion with some people to set up a studio here. I want to have a platform for Qatar-based singers.”
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