Archive for the ‘Where in Islamabad’ Category

OMG… Kuch Khaas.

There has been a constant debate over how the critically acclaimed city of the dead is actually living up to its name as far as performing arts (mainly music) are concerned. The overall security situation of the country amongst many numerable reasons contributed to this sad state of affairs. But as they say, all hope is not lost for 2010 saw KUCH KHAAS (A community space for discourse, learning, meaningful entertainment and participation in Islamabad) break into the scene. I recently caught up with the KUCH KHAAS program team to discuss their new venture called Open Mic Gig (OMG).

1) For starters, tell a little bit about the program team at KUCH KHAAS and what it actually does.

The Kuch Khaas Program Team has Program Managers, Assistant Program Managers, Interns and extended Kuch Khaas Family Members. There is a whole lot of collaboration between the team on how to execute various ideas into programs such as events or classes/workshops.

2) How much in your view has KUCH KHAAS affected the arts/music scene in the capital?

Islamabad happens to be a place where previously being self-taught was the norm for most artists and musicians. Kuch Khaas hopes to have instructors who now can impart their knowledge and skill to eager learners. These learners have a relationship with their Instructors and Kuch Khaas, which later becomes a source of confidence for them to show their talent in events such as OMG.

3) You people have various music courses going on, tell a little about them.

We have previously hosted classes and workshops by Singing Instructors, Natasha Ejaz and Ahmed Ali.

Our ongoing classes include:

“Singing Success” instructed by Shahbaz Zaidi which has been one of our longest running classes alongside “Guitar Lessons – Beginners and Intermediates” instructed by Syed Salman Haider Zaidi.

“Classical Vocal Training and Tabla Classes” by Ustaad Umeed Ali Khan, student of Barey Ghulam Ali Khan Sahab, while Ustaad Naimat Ali Khan Sahab accompanies him on tabla have been a great source of inspiration for all of us.

We also have “Percussion Training” with Asfendyar Ahmed. Rawal Shadab Ahmad is our instructor for “Basic Keyboard and Piano Lessons”.

A weekly facilitated drum circle conducted by Ammar Latif also takes place at Kuch Khaas, open to anyone who would like to participate and get together to make music, the purpose of this activity is solely recreational.

4) Do you think KUCH KHAAS caters to particular strata of society or is it inherently universal in its approach?

Kuch Khaas does not prescribe to a formulaic approach in building its community. We are here to mobilize not only the youth but also reaching out to adults in order for them to redefine their notions of everyday life in Islamabad. Kuch Khaas is an idea impacting society physically and theoretically.

5) When did you people decide to hold open mic nights and how has the response been thus far?

The Open Mic Night was to ensure a platform for local enthusiasts and musicians, a gathering that is intimate and casual enough for different genres to come together creating a diverse program for the audiences.

Kuch Khaas hoped to bring together acoustic playing singers, solo acts and local bands. To balance out the night we now ask for submissions a week before the event. These processes lead us to rename the Open Mic Night to Oh My Gig! Or OMG as Kuch Khaas manages the entire program. This does not in any way shape or form mean we dismiss or undermine some talent over the other.

The program each time leads to new realizations for the next OMG. As the Kuch Khaas Team we want to set out an example for local youth to come out and perform not because OMG is an official musical gig but a night to celebrate local talent.

6) A lot of noteworthy musicians have played at this venue; do you think it’s slowly becoming the GEN-Y Civil Junction?

Absolutely not, Kuch Khaas is not catering to solely musicians but multitalented individuals, who have potential and want to perform.

7) Are there any facilities/programs except the Open Mic Gig platform to facilitate budding musicians at KUCH KHAAS?

We now have started Karaoke Nights for those who might just want to sing out loud to their favorite tunes in a relaxed and informal environment. It is not about OMG the event but about the people who go through the experience with us.

8) Why did the chicken cross the road?

To go to Kuch Khaas.

9) Do you people plan on expanding further, if yes, then what avenues are you people looking to explore?

We have an extensive video library in the making of all our previous programs and events. We hope that having an archival process will enable Kuch Khaas to go a step further in delivering constructive dialog beyond its four walls.

10) Any final words of wisdom, messages, dedications or statements?

Kuch Khaas is now coming to a full circle with the completion of its first year in May. A place open to youth and adults alike, bringing forth opportunity and support for a more engaging Islamabad.

 

Photo credits: Zeeshan Jamal/Kuch Khaas

The World Music Day Concert by Cityfm89 and what followed…

The National Library auditorium in Islamabad was the venue for the “World Music Day Concert” organized by CityFm89. What follows is a review of how things shaped up and should have shaped up but didn’t shape up due to certain psychotic fiasco’s on part of the people managing and the people playing. First things first, as one of the performers “Zujj” correctly pointed out before the show even started “.. The management has gotten the demography wrong”.. reason being the invitation cards. Apparently you could only utilize the pass if either:-

a) You were a couple.

Or….

b) You were two girls.

So there is an event which features relatively underground acts ( I hate the term but it is what was commonly used so I will do exactly that)… and you can only go in if you either have a “girl”.. (as required by the management.. I swear..) Now as derogatory to the female population as it sounds, it indeed was the case and it indeed is a case at relatively all the concerts which are well, concerts and to me, it makes no sense at all. If there is a concert, instead of relying on the gender derogatory management rule, what can be done is to properly scrutinize the entrants and if there was an incident in which some hormonally imbalanced people got out of their safe zone, security could simply throw them outside.

That was a starting opinion, now on to the exact concert itself. It featured very diverse acts ranging from Zujj to Natasha Ejaz (Brilliant songwriter/singer) who was playing for the first time with a complete band (She is critically acclaimed for her solo acoustic performances), the Islamabad Heavy metal act Saturn and another classically trained vocalist who went by the name of Shan Khan. There was also another band by the name of “Alag The band” who will get a separate exclusive part in this review (Owing to their extremely versatile rock star persona’s, and arrogant rude behavior).

What startled me the most during the initial sound check proceedings was the sheer epiphany that it is very evident that a sound check scheduled for a 5 pm kick off will always manage to start off a couple of hours later but here’s the best part worth a million laughs, the other bands “had no bass guitar”…Yes, the Rock stars HAD NO BASS GUITAR… Here’s the part where all of you can say ” Hein WHAAAAT?”… But let’s leave that part even though I am still “HEIN WHAT-ofying”… The gruesome procedure of the bands sound checking did manage to be done but since the invitation said 6pm, people had already started to come in so the bands were technically “checking their sound check in front of a live audience”…

The concert kicked off with “Alag the band” which technically means “Unique” in urdu, but the only thing unique about them in my humble opinion was how they weren’t unique at all. Just your run of the mill people who think that making original songs on the underlining Roxen/Jal/Every other urdu dipsy pop act is “Cool” and wearing “chains and lockets” makes them a Rock Star. Their Rock star element failed to blossom on stage and all they delivered was an average set which had worse crescendos than Atif Aslam on a bad day (yes that bad)…

Following the rather unique act was Natasha Ejaz, accompanied by her live band which had Parham Faraid (The guitar player of Iranian descent, an amazing friend and someone who has played with the likes of Zeejah and Silversmoke and is a full-time band member of Sketch) playing the bass, Ahmed Ali (The immensely talented ex-vocalist of the ex-brilliant now no more band Nafs, stage play star and the new face of the Ufone family) alternating between the bass and the acoustic guitar, Asfandyar Ahmed (Drummer par excellence who has played with almost everyone from the Islamabad circuit and has an immense amount of concerts to his name) and last but not the least the extremely talented musician from France, Mickael Bon who was playing the keyboard and the acoustic guitar on a few songs.

The set list included a few originals and a few covers. Natasha along with her extremely talented band played a set list that consisted of original songs which went by the name of “Kahan”, “show me the mirror” and “Ankho ko Ankho nay”.. along with a Coldplay cover medley of the songs “Fix you” and “viva la vida (which was performed with a slightly up-tempo rather unique and refreshing arrangement) and a song which went by the name of “Fight for your right”. Her set was the high-light of the show and was very well received by a majority of the crowd present, the minority being the usual “lamers” who have nothing better to do than to hurl abuses at people who take music very seriously and practice all day to put up a good show.

This is the part where Alag the band gets a special mention, apparently one of their mail groupies had the nerve to abuse not only Natasha but also her friends present in the crowd as a reaction of which there was a minor tussle between the lamers and the good people who were only trying to tell the lamers that using the word “Fuck” in a concert is NOT cool and does NOT impraas any gaalz… But the band held their nerve and completed their song. Kudos people Kudos.

Following Natasha was Shan Khan who belted out a few covers which were very well sung and got the crowd on their feet. Talent was plenty in that person as Salman Zaidi of the band Saturn said after his first song ” Dude, Dude, DUDE.. (He might not have EXACTLY said these words but the dept of the connotation was pretty much that.)”.

Saturn followed Shan Khan and by this time, mentally as well as physically each and every person waiting for their turn was exhausted but Saturn put up a very decent show and played an original and a few covers (One of which was the Baby national anthem of Pakistan, Dil Dil Pakistan)… Which was I guess the “surprise cover” most of them were talking about. Saturn’s drummer Shahbaz did an amazing job on the drum kit so hats off to you man.

Zujj was to end the show and by the time he got on stage, as it was late and well the crowd wasn’t really the sort who would listen to System of a down or other linked musical acts, the hall was half empty. Due to the torment of not having a drummer to play with and no bass guitar (Due to Asfandyar’s other commitments and the bass required at an adjacent concert venue), Zujj with his band that consisted of Parham Faraid, Zain Ali (Deframed fame and awesome musician) decided to go unplugged and sang 2 of his original songs that were to be featured on an upcoming Bollywood film and ended the set with his ever famous “phoonk lay” which is quite quickly becoming a crowd favorite.

Being someone who has had the pleasure of being to amazing concerts and some not so amazing ones, this concert just didn’t cut the cake as it should have done, Natasha Ejaz as I mentioned earlier was the highlight of the show. The sound was “Okay” and the lighting was “annoying” but commendable efforts put in my Cityfm89.

Football was being played in the parking lot and there were CityFm89 finger gloves all over the place and that was something I HAD to mention because today was the first time I ever bought something at a concert… *thumbs up*

Apologies for not taking ample pictures and the two used were the only ones that came out good.

Rana Market walay samosay, pakoray aur jalabian!



Rana Market, F-7/2. Islamabad. Yum. Yum.

Somehow, rain and samosas/pakoras/jalaibies just go hand in hand. So when it rains, drive to this very place and have their yummy samosas, jalaibis and pakoras

p:s: If you notice hard enough, you’d see a mullah giving me the “WHAT A HARAM THING YOU DO BUSTER” glare lol.

Nageena Burger

If you live in the vicinity of I-8/3 or F-10 then you must be familiar with the extremely excellent Nageena Burger. For those of you who don’t, this is an informative post. Go to either F-10 Markaz or I-8/3 Sangam Market and try it out. These people make the best burgers. Anda shami, chicken or beef. With or without cheese, scrumptious and delicious is their middle name.

An affordable meal and tasty as well. Hashim recommended :)

The euphoria collection.

“Classy, Confident and Beautiful… The euphoria woman has it all”..

artwok

Come see the first ever exhibit of the euphoria collection clothing line at:-

House # 4-A. Street # 55, F-7/4, Islamabad on the 9th of January’10

Time:- 1 pm-10pm

Both pret a porter and haute couture available.



I was "there"!

I was “THERE”, headed towards Zero Point and eventually Jinnah Avenue, when the signboard said “You are HERE!”.

You Are Here

You Are Here

Now i am confused that WHERE my location was. “Here”, “there” where? Probably “somewhere”. But does anyone “care”? Yes or no would anybody like to “share”? I must be “beware”, not to make anyone “flare” (up). Thanks you all for your stamina to “bear”. *giggles*

Road Block, An ITP Presentation

And now for the pleasure of the travelers, the Islamabad Traffic Police (ITP) presents blockage of yet another piece of another road of Islamabad. Painted concrete blocks have been used for visual pleasure. The blockage spreads over a little area that starts in front of the Capital Development authority building till the end of the ISI building. The blockage makes sure that while one is on Shahrah-e-Suharwardy and headed towards Abpara, one has to take many U V W turns and detour towards the destination via either Kashmir Highway or several smaller roads on the other side. The other side of the double road (Shahrah-e-Suharwardy), from Abpara to Zero Point has generously been left un-blocked. This is a limited time offer and may be discontinued anytime ITP personnel please. So do not waste time and avail the opportunity to travel on this currently un-blocked side of the road.

Everybody is welcome to come to this area for the first time and get stuck there, only to be redirected by the ITP representatives to some other road. Regular travelers are welcome to pass by that blockage and look at that route with a heavy heart full of hope for the restoration of that path.

Stay tuned for more “attractions”!

Islamabad Towers in the Sunlight

And when the sunlight shines on the towers of Islamabad, it only enhances their grandeur.

Shaheed e Millat Secretariat & State Life Building

Shaheed e Millat Secretariat & State Life Building

Metal Craft

Ok since everything seems to be falling apart right now (at least seems like it). I thought it would be a good time to post something completely irrelevant, something that doesn’t make my blood boil or give me sleepless nights.

Whenever there is a industrial area near a city like we have one in Islamabad. There’s always the matter of pollution, the traffic and all its issue and I totally agree to that. I really do, but the fact is it’s not going anywhere for quite a while. So if we have to live with it why not enjoy the good stuff, yes I did say the good stuff. You can always see the glass half full now can’t you (didn’t we learn anything from psychology class?). So this is my way of seeing the glass half full. I drive past this place for years now, the molten red Iron, the masked works men and tons of iron it’s just surreal somehow.

So let’s just sit back relax and enjoy the crises.Here a little glimpse into a factory at 3.00am.

(more…)

Possible Pedestrian Pathway?

Right now this might look like the stairway to heaven, but i think this is the possible elevated pathway (crossing) for pedestrians on the Islamabad Expressway.

Pathway/Crossing

Pathway/Crossing

I am pretty certain that this will turn out to be an overhead bridge for people on foot, making it easier for them to cross the road (reason for this assumption is the similarity of this structure with the the under construction overhead bridges on 7th Avenue). At the same time it might make the life easier for the motorists who might get rid of the yellow speed breakers on the road. Pat on the back for whoever has taken up this initiative to get these bridges built. A little spanking for them as well because it took them so long to take some appropriate useful action.

PS: I guess all will be well if the end is well. ;-)

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