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Pakistani girl band influenced by classical, Bollywood music

Thursday, 1 December 2011 - 2:51pm IST | Place: New Delhi | Agency: PTI

Hailing from Kohat near Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in Pakistan the band sings in more language than its members speak. Their repertoire comprise of Urdu, Pashto, Persian and Turkish songs.

Introduced to Hindustani classical music when they were just babies, Zeb and Haniya, of popular girl band duo from Pakistan say they were "quite shocked" when they learnt that melody queen Lata Mangeshkar was not from Pakistan.

"In our childhood, the cable TV in our area used to catch Doordarshan so Chitrahar became a regular. We grew up listing to those songs, without knowing that this music is from India - a different country. For us, it was music, our music, the borders were irrelevant. It was only when we grew up that geography dawned on us," says Zeb who is visiting India with cousin Haniya.

The duo is making their debut in the annual South Asian bands festival beginning here on December 2 that will include 15 popular rock bands from across nine countries in the subcontinent.

"Growing up in a family where everyone not only loved music but also lived it. Our grandmother used to hum Hindi lullabies, there was an uncle of ours who owned recordings of the entire series of Geetmala (a weekly radio countdown show of top filmi songs from Indian cinema.) So we were shocked when we came to know that Lata Mangeskar was not a Pakistani," says Zeb.

The singer duo is very excited about the concert here on December 2 for which they say they have a surprise in tow.

"We are featuring two surprise musicians in our performance. One from a local Delhi band and the other also from Delhi but doing a very different kind of music," Haniya who is a guitarist, vocalist and songwriter told PTI.

The musicians who were in Tamil Nadu earlier this year say they absolutely adore Tamil actor Dhanush's song Kolaveri Di that has become a blockbuster over the Internet.

"We were in Coimbatore when a friend told us about Kolaveri song and we loved it. It has hit the Pakistani youth as well. People are sharing the song on Facebook," says Zeb who has been singing since age eight and has been trained as a vocalist under acclaimed Ustad Mubarak Ali Khan.

Hailing from Kohat near Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in Pakistan the band sings in more language than its members speak.

Their repertoire comprise mostly Urdu songs but some of the songs are also in Pashto, Persian and Turkish.

"As kids we used to listen to Dari and Pashto songs, sung by migrant Pashtuns from Afghanistan. We just learnt the music, even though we didn't understand the lyrics," says Zeb.

Their very first song, Chup, composed when the duo was studying in the US was released on the internet, and was picked up and made popular by radio stations in Pakistan.

Zeb and Haniya are also coming up with their yet to be named, new album early 2012.

"Beginning of 2012 we will come up with our new album with all original tracks in Urdu. We have not named the album yet," says Haniya.

The artistes also dream to translate and sing the poems of their grandmother Jamsheeda Begum who had a big influence on them.

"Our grandmother used to write poems in Urdu, Pastho and Dari. We would love to use the poems by our beloved grandmother in our projects," says Zeb.

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