Ali Sher: Singing to a different beat
By Fareeha Qayoom
li Sher has been quietly making his music and showcasing his work on the fringes of the music channels for quite some time. He first caught my eye with his song “Sham”. His song came on air and I switched the channel. My mom stopped me. She loved that song and she made me watch it with her…the video wasn’t all that good but the vocals and the lyrics were pretty good. My mom made a point of listening to that song whenever it was aired and she happened to be watching.
Ali’s music is certainly different from everyone else’s. It’s more serious for one thing – it appeals to more mature audience who appreciates a good piece of music which is well written and it has a very distinct sound with a couple of his songs influenced by a bit of Sufi and folk. His second album “man marzi” is not hard on the ears at all even though the music wouldn’t sound out of place in a disco. You can dance to the beat even on his sad numbers. “I listen to a lot of techno, trance music and even Indian songs. I guess it has influenced my compositions. My first album ‘Yadon Mei’ was mostly techno… I am told I have a good singing voice but I am a composer first – I wanted my compositions to shine so I didn’t pay as much attention to the production end of my work in the first or second album. I have paid more attention to the sound mixing for my third album. I get a lot of job satisfaction from my work; however, I admit it’s not very commercially driven.”
Talking about his current work in progress, Ali says “My music has matured. The vocals have improved. I have used a lot of live instruments. The sound is crisp. I have experimented a lot for this album – it’s very peppy.” Ali’s lyrics are not autobiographical. “A good friend of mine does most of my lyrics – sometimes, I have already written a tune and I want lyrics to fit and sometimes, I describe the scene and he writes me a song accordingly and then I compose the music. It’s very situational. Mostly Shakeel writes my music – another good source for lyrics is Khawaja Pervaiz.”
Video’s are very important and influence the way a song will be received by the audience – I found it strange that his videos don’t do justice to his music. His videos depict ordinary lives caught on camera, though the village girl in “Chan Sajjna” looked as if she had robbed the make-up technique and wardrobe from a Punjabi film. “Piyar ki saada” was a nice song but the video was pretty confusing. Till the end I couldn’t figure out that Natty was supposed to be yelling at a Ghost!! Talk about living haunting the dead! I loved “main tay mann lae haar” – a good song and a simple video that didn’t detract from the sound but actually complemented it for a change. “Doorian” was another good song but the video was pretty ordinary and didn’t do anything for the song. Same is the case for “Hijr.” His title song “tan, mun, dhun” currently playing on the music channels from his third album is a little different – there’s a little bit of dance in it which is going beautifully with the beat and actually complements the song.
Ali has showcased all his work through Jawad Bashir with only one video titled ‘Piyar Kar’ by a new company called Talking Filmain. “Jawad is a very good friend – I am very comfortable with him – besides, we are on the same wavelength about my music. Furthermore, he doesn’t have a hang up about big budgets and he is a pretty flexible director – I don’t see any problems with my videos.” ■
This article was originally published in the print edition of “The Knit-Xtyle Fashion Review,” (Tkfr), issue 12, October 2005.