‘Daily Times’ (Pak.): ‘Maham Suhail Releases ‘Pauna 6’ from her Debut Album ‘Mitti’

Following the release of the critically acclaimed track ‘Sajjan Yaar’ from her debut album ‘Mitti’, the multi-faceted vocalist, composer and producer Maham Suhail proudly announces the release of her second track from the album, ‘Pauna-6.’

Written, composed and performed by Maham Suhail, Pauna-6 features Mithu Saaein on Dhol, Rakae Jamil on Sitar, Amir Mazhar on Guitar, Bass & Production, Akmal Qadri on Flute, and international artist Olavi Lappalainen on Cello. The powerful track comprises of ‘Tarana’ song form as lyrics written by Maham Suhail to a special beat system with a unique count of 5.75 beat/cycle. The track also borrows its title, ‘Pauna-6’, from this beat count, as 5.75 translates as ‘quarter-to-6’ in musical time signature calculation. Indeed, this was the first time anybody ever recorded a track in this particularly odd beat, marking its place as a production marvel.

The ‘Pauna-6’ music video is a combination of narrative and performance elements. The video is directed and edited by Zain Peerzada, co-directed by Luke Azariah; under their company name ‘Flux Media’. The single shoot location is the historical heritage museum, ‘Fakir Khana’, which also serves as a ‘haveli’. The narrative is played out in the form of theatrical and dance movements by Nighat Chaudhry and Maham Suhail, the former wearing the hats of choreographer/performer on the video, as well as playing a significant role in the video concept. Nighat, through movement, has helped characterize Maham as the ‘Body’ self. Nighat herself plays the role of the Spirit; while both these entities seek integration for the Body’s spiritual liberation. The viewers can see Maham Suhail performing ‘Concept Movement’, with Nighat Chaudhry doing both ‘Concept Movement’ and Kathak dance moves along the video. In fact, the term ‘Concept Movement’ has been devised by Maham herself along the process for this particular form of experimental physical theatre.

Indeed, the overarching album “Mitti” was created with the intention of celebrating World Music overlaps, rooted in our South Asian folk music forms. ‘Mitti’ in Urdu language means ‘soil’, as the title arises from Maham’s innate yearning to connect with one’s own cultural identity, while being harmonious and inclusive of other influences. These elements mix together as intercultural music forms, just as soil is composed of diverse life forms, fading and blooming. ‘Mitti’ binds us; ‘Mitti’ connects us, ‘Mitti’ liberates us, just as a seed breaks the ground to grow into a towering, expansive tree. Exploring her own stories as a gypsy woman artist with makeshift homes, Maham Suhail wears the hats of composer, and producer/engineer, in the production process of ‘Mitti’.

Expressing her thoughts about the album, Maham Suhail said, “‘Mitti’ is a statement about bringing peoples, cultures, languages and music together: It is a world peace statement made through World Music. ‘Mitti’ has my heart, blood and sweat put into its production, where over the years since the first 2016 Kolkata recording, the album’s artistic content was evolving alongside my own growth as a human being and an artist.”

Maham Suhail is an artist of Pakistani origin. She is a travelling vocalist, songwriter, sonic artist, and a producer. Her primary genre is World Beat; Maham has performed/recorded in 7 languages and composes across cultures and styles, occasionally throwing in sound samples of her own to create digi-acoustic music & soundscapes. Maham has worked nationally and internationally, with various music/arts/theatre festivals, cultural venues, spiritual gatherings, and with recorded projects. Maham believes in sharing something of value with community; through her work in music. Maham was featured as the female vocalist on the award-winning ‘Peace Song’ at the ‘Peace Music Awards’ in Canada while she also been awarded an Interfaith Harmony certificate by the Evacuee Trust Board, Punjab Government for performing ‘Shabd Kirtan’ music in gurdwaras across the province. Additionally, Maham Suhail was one of the 10 global music artists selected for the prestigious Goethe Talents Scholarship residency in 2017, and the first Pakistani student to attend the Berklee College Masters’ program in Audio Production.

In 2018, Rakae’s ‘Mughal-e-Funk’ group made their Coke Studio debut with a gorgeous track called ‘Aurangzeb’. This was the turning point for the band, headed by him.

Having performed with the likes of Ali Hamza, Jimmy Khan and many more, Rakae is a disciple of Ustad Sharif Khan and currently of Ustad Shujaat Khan. He is a musical wizard when it comes to the sitar, but stays humble when told so.

His recent band production, a re-make of the originally Classical ‘Sakan Ban’ featuring Meesha Shafi, went viral soon after its release.

A Dhol virtuoso, Mithu is known more so for his duo with his brother, ‘Goonga Saaein’, known for their masterly skill as well as performance tricks on stage.

Mithu, as amongst those who know him more closely than his stage presence only, is known to play around straight beat systems, to form his own versions of odd beats. The beat/taal which is the spine of Maham’s ‘Pauna-6’ composition, is a reflection of the same beat-making tendency of his.

Mithu has performed very vastly, at both national & international platforms, in percussive sets as well as with other musicians. Though, ‘Pauna-6’ is his debut appearance with a vocal artist, and with such an eclectic instrumental mix.

An all-rounder on Strings, Amir Azhar, can efficiently play the bass guitar, mandolin, rubab and the acoustic/electric guitar. Azhar played his very first concert with the legendary Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan as a bass guitarist when he was only 14.

Growing up in a musical family of Tafoo Brothers, who have greatly contributed to the film industry of Pakistan, Azhar has recorded/played with a range of artists himself, such as Madam Noor Jehan, Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, Shazia Manzoor, Rahim Shah and Fariha Pervez. He has also played the bass guitar with Mekaal Hasan Band on their 2 albums.

Amir Azhar’s first appearance on Coke Studio was in Season 4, where he played the Mandolin. He has made appearances on later seasons since.

Akmal Qadri comes from generations of top traditional musicians, his father being a film, live & recording artist. Akmal, being a maestro flautist, with styles varying from S. Asian raagas, to Jazz, to Funk, etc., has played with a wide array of Pakistani & international acts.

Akmal has been a regular band-member of Arieb Azhar, performed with the Ari Roland jazz quartet, Abidah Parveen, etc. He also works extensively as a session musician for recorded projects, and has been performing and recording with Maham since 2015.

Olavi is a Cellist from Kupio, Finland. He has been playing with orchestras, and leading his own acts. Olavi composes too, and has been leading a few music projects including audio and video curation.

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