Strings is an internationally acclaimed Pakistani pop band comprising two members. The band was formed when four college students—Bilal Maqsood, Faisal Kapadia, Rafiq Wazir Ali and Kareem Bashir Bhoy—decided to form a band in 1988 in Karachi. In 1992, the quartet disbanded only to make a comeback with two of its members, Bilal and Faisal later in 2000. While the initial band was riding on the new wave of Pakistani pop music, the later formation ushered a new revival in the music industry of Pakistan.
Kapadia and Maqsood followed in the footsteps of Junoon and Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and took their act across the border to India only to realise they already were a recognised band in the country as remixes of one of their earliest songs were played in clubs. As ambassadors for Pakistani pop music, the duo set out to conduct concerts all over the world thenceforth.
Acclaimed world over for their stringed rhythms, their songs are praised not only for being melodious but having a strong poetic sense to them. Penned by Anwar Maqsood, Bilal’s father, the lyrics of their songs always carry a deep meaning with them. Anwar has been writing lyrics for the band since its re-formation.
Where Kapadia is the lead vocalist for the band, Maqsood acts as the composer, guitarist and at times does vocals for a few songs. To play live at concerts, both the members have hired Adeel on the lead guitar, Shakir on the bass guitar, Haider on keyboards and Qaiser on drums, an entourage ensemble that travels with them to various international concerts at times.
Strings is one of the few Pakistani bands/singers to achieve international fame. Their popularity is attributed to the significantly different approach to their music and lyrics. Other singers of international repute include the likes of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Junoon, Nazia Hassan and Vital Signs.
Where Fateh Ali Khan was actively promoting Qawwali music and Junoon rock music, Strings approached their music with a little tint of Pakistani pop with classical music and combined with rhythms from stringed instruments. Junoon and Vital Signs had only been famous in the United States of America with a significant following in Europe, whereas String took their gigs to India, all over Asia and the Middle East, and the rest of the world making Pakistani pop music a truly remarkable genre.
Even in areas like Nepal that are dominated by influence from their neighbouring India, Strings proved to be the most favourite band amongst crowds. So were they popular in Asia that they were given an award for being Asia’s most favourite band at the MTV Asia Awards.
Fuzön is a pop rock band from Karachi, Sindh, Pakistan formed in 2001. The name was derived from fusion, as the former vocalist Shafqat Amanat Ali describes the band as a fusion of Hindustani classical and modern soft rock music blended with the Sufi Style of singing. Fuzön encompasses hybrid styles of pop and rock instrumentation. "Fuzon was one of the innovative bands of the new millennium, as they gave us a timeless album like Saagar.
Agnee is an Indian rock band based in Pune. The band's debut album "Agnee" was released on 15 May 2007. Since then, they have released several singles and used an Internet-based free distribution model to gather a large following in the rock music circuit in Mumbai, Pune, Delhi, and Ahmedabad. The band continues to extend its reach across India through their 'Create with Agnee' venture in collaboration with Radio Mirchi.
Indian Ocean is an Indian rock band formed in New Delhi in 1990, who are widely recognized as the pioneers of the fusion rock genre in India. Susmit Sen, Asheem Chakravarty, Rahul Ram and Amit Kilam were band members till Chakravarty's death on 25 December 2009, after which Tuheen Chakravorty and Himanshu Joshi were officially inducted into the band as replacements. After the departure of Susmit Sen in 2013, Rahul Ram is the only founding member who appeared on the band's debut album Indian Ocean. Sanjeev Sharma has collaborated with them as lyricist on many Albums. The musical style of the band can be at best classified as jazz fusion and fusion music. It is an experimental genre, fusing raga with rock music, guitars and drums, sometimes using Indian folk songs. It has also been described by some music critics as "Indo-rock fusion with jazz-spiced rhythms that integrates shlokas, sufism, environmentalism, mythology and revolution". Since 2010, the band has moved against the lines of record labels. They released their latest album 16/330 Khajoor Road online for free.
Ali Azmat is a Pakistani singer-songwriter, musician and actor. He is best known as the lead singer for the influential Sufi Rock band Junoon and for his subsequent solo career. In 2001, he became the first musician ever to perform at the United Nations General Assembly along with an Indian band choosing to sing his song "Dosti", an aptly chosen title to promote the UN's mission in bringing peace to the world.
Nandita Das is an Indian film actress and director. She has acted in over 30 feature films in ten different languages. As an actress, she is known for her performances in Fire, Earth, Bawandar, Kannathil Muthamittal, Azhagi and Before The Rains. Firaaq, her directorial debut feature film, premiered at the Toronto Film Festival in 2008, and has traveled to over 50 festivals, winning over 20 awards. She has been on the jury of Cannes Film Festival twice—2005 and 2013—among others. She has been awarded the Chevalier of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the Government of France for her contribution towards arts. Nandita Das was the first Indian to be inducted into the International Women's Forum's hall of fame for her contributions to the arts.
Silk Route was a band from India consisting of Mohit Chauhan, Atul Mittal, Kem Trivedi and Kenny Puri. The band is much endeared for the song "Dooba-Dooba" from their acclaimed 1998 debut album, Boondein. Brought to the Indian film industry's notice, the band was then furnished opportunities to score and perform songs for movies such as Kalpana Lajmi's "Kyon", "Lets Enjoy" and "Urf Professor". They confess to such diverse influences as Sting, Simon & Garfunkel and Dire Straits, all of which find their way into the Silk Route sounds. The band always added a distinct touch to their music by using acoustic guitars, talking drums and harmonica and primarily by of the use of Recorder, a 17th-century European folk musical instrument played by Kem Trivedi.
Michael "Mikey" McCleary is an Indian-born New Zealand songwriter, composer, performer, producer and director living in Mumbai, India since 2007. He has worked on a large number of advertisements such as for brands like Levi's, Coca-Cola, Vodafone etc. and films such as Waiting, Margarita with a straw, Shaitan, Shanghai, David, Bombay Velvet, Nautanki Saala, Shaadi Ke Side Effects, Shaandaar etc. Besides his prolific work on soundtracks for ad-films, background scores and songs for Bollywood films, he is also well known for his re-interpretations of old Bollywood songs under the stage name of The Bartender, most notably Khoya Khoya Chand and Hawa Hawai from Shaitan, Neend Na Mujhko Aaye and Eena Meena Deeka from Shaandaar, Fifi from Bombay Velvet, O Lal Meri / Mast Kalandar from David and Dhak Dhak from Nautanki Saala. He has also released a one-of-its-kind album of full-length versions of some of his most popular advertisement jingles called TV Dinners.
Rahul Ram is an Indian bass guitarist, social activist and music composer. He plays bass guitar in the band Indian Ocean which he joined in 1991. He had been playing bass guitar since junior school in the seventies.