Friday, September 15, 2006


What appeals in any song or piece of music? A piece of music has its ups and
downs. This change is essential in any song. A good piece of music is one where
the highs are really appealing, while the lows are not too tiresome. The trick
is to have a good balance of those highs and lows. During the lows, the listener
starts longing for the highs, but the highs don’t come about just then. The low
period continues until the longing is almost unbearable. This is just that right
time to give the listener that high he/she covets to get the desired affect of
pure unbridled pleasure. If the low period is too small in a song, not enough
time is given to build up the longing to its crescendo. Having a very long
period of just building up craving might bore the listener. Different people
have different thresholds for bearing the low period. So it is tough to get that
right mix of highs and lows and that is why balance is important.

This was what I thought for a long time until I heard the music of Strings. Their music has this strange property of captivating me throughout the song. I can mentally take notes of the highs and lows. But my heart seems to like both the highs and lows. ‘The longing’ I so thoroughly described earlier is not during the song, but during the time I am not plugged into the song. When I am listening the song, it’s a high like no other.

A brief introduction is due. This was a band quite popular in Pakistan back about 14 years ago. A particular track “Sar Kiye ye Pahar” was quite famous even outside Pakistan. They were four members then. After completing two albums, Strings and Strings 2, the band disintegrated. I don’t know much of what happened between then and now except that they got married and had kids. Suddenly after an absence of 10 yrs they come back with this new album Duur. It must be the accumulation of their creative juices over the dry years or simply their pure luck, but the music was, to say in modest terms, awesome. After this was an equally popular album, Dhaani. Now I am waiting for heir next release. Meanwhile they’ve done some other songs here and there and some collaborative albums in between.

I’ve seen Strings live in one of the concerts they did in Lucknow. Not only is their music great but I think they are extremely well balanced and intelligent people. I think they’ve learned a lot from the years in hibernation. I was impressed by the maturity and the ability to relate to realms outside music. They talked about Indo-Pak relations and what they thought about it in their own small way. It was genuine and not once did I ever feel it was made up. It was good to know that there was more personality to them than just the music.

The first I ever heard of them was Duur. The soul stirring music of this song is characterized mostly by the way the guitar is handled. Never had any Indian or Pakistani music had ever used the guitar strings so centrally and yet so famously. The song and the album was an instant hit. Their next album Dhaani too was a major hit. Very rarely do we come across albums in which each song has something about it to cherish for.

So why suddenly after having followed them for so long do I feel the need to write about them only now? I listen to my mp3 player everyday in my travel to office, and for a long time now I am not able to find deliverance from these songs of Strings. I am in serious need of help.

Mera Bichra Yaar (Dhaani)
This is not the song for everyone. And it is definitely not the song you will be blown away by, the first time you hear it. But give it time and it grows onto you. It embraces you slowly but with such strong resolve that you cannot possibly turn away. Needless to say, I’m hooked.

Kahani Mohabbat Ki (Dhaani)
The story of love is conveyed beautifully using the most simplest of lyrics. This song refreshes you. The flute, the guitar, the words, the voice of Faisal, the whole composition inspires me to make new beginnings. I don’t know if others listening to the get inspired considering the sad setting it is intended to be in.

Na Jaaney (Dhaani)
This is that song which was selected for the soundtrack of Spiderman 2. Again the setting is sort of sad. I can’t put my finger on what I like in the song. Or rather I would say that this medium of my expression (writing) or any medium of expression for that matter, doesn’t quite convey it. Maybe someone else can but I can’t. Enough said. Go listen to the song and find out yourself.

By the way, their songs are available on their official website.

My other song recommendations for the month:

1. Kya Mujhe Pyar Hai (Movie: Woh Lamhe, Singer: KK)
2. Chal Chale (Movie: Woh Lamhe, Singer: James)
3. Tere Bin (Movie: Bas Ek Pal, Artiste: Atif Aslam (Jal))
4. Bas Ek Pal (Movie: Bas Ek Pal, Singer: KK)

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