Arab Today, arab today lahore\s orchestra brings a twist to jazz
Last Updated : GMT 08:37:48
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today

Lahore\'s Orchestra brings a twist to jazz

Arab Today, arab today

Arab Today, arab today Lahore\'s Orchestra brings a twist to jazz

Lahore - Arabstoday

More than 50 years after that rudimentary introduction to the lure of bossa nova beats and swing, Majeed has finally realised his dream to bring jazz back to his homeland. This time it is not the United States Information Agency bringing the music to life in foreign climes as it did in the 1950s, part of a campaign by then-president Dwight Eisenhower to portray America in a favourable light overseas. Now, the music is home-grown, played by classical musicians who had long since hung up their violins or given up hope of ever making a living from indulging their first passion. Majeed\'s Sachal Orchestra has breathed new life into a dying industry in Pakistan and taken music lovers from both East and West by storm.Its album - Sachal Jazz: Interpretations of Jazz Standards and Bossa Nova, a compilation of unique renditions of classic jazz standards involving the tabla and sitar - has sailed to the top of the iTunes jazz charts in both the UK and the US.A version of Dave Brubeck\'s Take Five has earned praise from the composer himself, who called it \"the most interesting and different recording of Take Five I have ever heard\". The official video on YouTube has had more than 178,000 views. Their success has drawn comparisons with Buena Vista Social Club, a troupe of Cuban musicians who won international acclaim when they reunited after 50 years. But it took a huge effort to assemble a cast of 50 musicians to recreate tracks such as The Girl From Ipanema and Misty with an eastern twist.\"Jazz was always very dear to my heart,\" says Majeed, 61, the producer and founder of Sachal Orchestra. \"There was a time in the late 1950s when the US used to send the great jazz masters around the world as its ambassadors. All the greats came through Lahore. \"By the time I started producing music, though, all the great musicians in Pakistan had stopped playing. There was no patronage from the state; one musician had opened a vegetable shop, another was running an electrical store. \"I could barely find 10 people who could play the kind of music I wanted. Very few of them were practising music; they were just eking out a living. \"Most of the people who played on this album know absolutely nothing about jazz and had never heard it before.\"Classical musicians in Pakistan, a country beleaguered by extremist violence, have faced tough times for decades. Many originally worked in film studios composing scores but as that industry declined, thanks to a lack of funding and increasing religious conservatism, most had to give up their passion just to survive. Some even abandoned their instruments amid fears of offending their pious neighbours. Ghulam Abbas, the cello player, was running a tea stall while Mubarak Ali, the violinist, earned less than Dh12 a day selling vegetables from his bicycle.When Majeed, a businessman who made his millions with a series of investments in oil, gas and finance, embarked on his plan to revive the music industry, he had to lure most of his musicians out of retirement.He built the US$2 million (Dh7.3m) Sachal Studios in Lahore in 2005 with the help of technicians from London\'s Abbey Road Studios, where The Beatles recorded many of their albums, including their last, and recruited his friend Mushtaq Soofi to track down artists. From / The National

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