Chakdey.Com had the opportunity to interview maestro of Folk, Classic, Sufi, Qawwali and Fusion – recently honoured with Pride of Performance, Pakistan, lead vocalist of Mekaal Hasan Band and notable performer on Coke Studio: Javed Bashir. We discussed everything from his past work, future releases, crossing over to Bollywood and working in the UK Bhangra scene. Check out the full interview here!
Chakdey.Com Interview with Javed Bashir
Straight in the deep end, what was the main reason you got back together with Mekaal Hasan Band?
The band’s presentation style was unique and it was what the fans had stated they wanted. Their commitment to the scene and style of sound that needs to be put out was also very important to me. Also the fact that we were both fans stated it, prior to this the reason we weren’t working together was because we were both busy on various projects.
How amazing was the feeling touring India in 2011 and performing at great locations?
We performed at six shows across the country; I can’t describe how great the public’s response was to our performances, the venues and hearts were moved. It was an unforgettable experience and I really enjoyed myself.
Do you think anyone apart from MHB can do justice to your vocals?
No one understands my music like they do, which is why our work has lasted for so long.
When can we expect you to tour the UK with the full band?
I will be touring with my own family of musicians and band including Akbar Bashir, through SaReGaMa in 2013. No dates have been announced.
Your last album Subrang, was released on Times of India. The album had many hits such Chori Chori and Jao Ree Jao, do you believe it received the attention it deserved?
The audience always expect classical music from me; this was different in its output. The response was good but should have been better.
You were said to be recording a new album with Sahir Ali Bagga and poet Farhat Shahzad. What style of music will it include and when will this be released?
We are attempting to release it as soon as possible and are in talks with record labels to sort this matter out. The album has been completed and has a mixture of classics like Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan in my own voice and style. It also includes many ghazals which are all my own composition.
You have also had a soundtrack on a new Bollywood feature film Cocktail. How did the track “Tera Naam Japdi Phiran” come about? Can we expect more appearances from yourself in Bollywood?
I received a telephone call from the music director of Cocktail, who arranged for me to record the vocals in Dubai and it took off from there. I have another song coming directed by Shankar Mahadevan which will be out soon.
Do you think it’s important for Pakistani musicians to work in India?
Of course, I think it is crucial that we are shown to be representing our own country on a Global scale, the whole world can hear the talent that is coming out of Pakistan. It will also help in bettering and showcasing work for all involved.
How did it feel when your visa with Arif Lohar was rejected to perform at the launch of Cocktail?
The reason was not because we had no visa but due to the lead actor Saif Ali Khan being ill, the album launch was cancelled.
Your appearance on Coke Studio series 2 has probably been one of the most iconic pieces in its 5 year history. Aj Latha Naeeo was an instant hit, can we expect to see you feature again on Coke Studio?
If they called me up I wouldn’t say no to such a prestigious offer. The platform that Coke Studio has set has become massive, the uniqueness has changed since my appearance in season 2 when the likes of Shafqat Amanat Ali Khan were there; it doesn’t feel quite the same since.
What did you think of the latest series (coke studio 5)? Did it do justice to past versions and what was your favourite track?
The classical tracks stand out the most, I couldn’t choose a favourite though as all the songs represent the country and its amazing music.
In the past few years you have came to England many times. Which producers have you recorded vocals for?
The track I have just recorded (July 2012) is titled ‘Lorh’, it has been composed by myself and produced by Kam Frantic of Frantic Studios. The project was all down to Sadia Khan and Sophia Hussain, who have worked with me to pass on a message similar to ‘Chal Bulleya’.
The track is a pure Sufi kalaam, which discusses turning towards your Guide (Murshid) or God. Many Sufi poets have the same message of closeness to God from Mian Muhammad Baksh (Saif Ul Malook) and Bari Nizami who penned lyrics for Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Ghulam Ali, and Noor Jehan etc.[image src=”http://media2.chakdey.com/Images/JavedBashirInt5.jpg” width=”500″ height=”333″ lightbox=”yes” align=”center”]
Your vocals have recently appeared on tracks by Creative Independent (Kam Frantic), Surinder Rattan (OMG feat Metz n Trix) and also by JKD. Are these old or new vocal recordings?
Yes these are all recent vocal recordings, as a matter of fact JKD’s ‘Restless’ was recorded just last year.
You are most well known in the UK for the track “Nahin Tere Jeha Hor Disda” by Rishi Rich released nearly a decade ago. Do you still get requests to perform that track?
Definitely the requests to perform always come from the audience.
What plans do you have for music releases for 2012/13?
I have many releases in store over the next couple of years but I can’t name them all!
Do you have any messages for your fans in the UK/North America?
God willing, we will bring good quality music for you with a real identity running transparently through it, which everyone can appreciate and enjoy.
Thank you for taking part in the interview. Best of luck for your future music releases!