Courtesy Instep Today, The News published on November 21st, 2008 by Maheen Sabeeh
After a hiatus of almost two years, brothers Ali Noor and Ali Hamza return to the spotlight with ‘Do Dil’
It’s the first song Noori ever wrote. It’s the first love song from the grungy rockers – it is ‘Do Dil’, a tune that marks the comeback of brothers Ali Noor and Ali Hamza.
Currently running on airwaves, the melodic and beautiful tune sees Ali Noor and Ali Hamza take turns at the vocals while the video is, quite literally, a walk through time – a look back at the journey of Noori.
Shot by the hugely talented Mandana Zaidi aka Mrs Ali Noor, the performance shots are interspersed with footage of a very young looking Ali Noor from his teenage as well as other musicians like Mohammed Ali Jafri, Shiraz Uppal, Mekaal Hasan, Gumby and Fahad Khan among others.
What’s really surprising is that this song works. It isn’t another inane love tune. Noori isn’t a rock act known for its lovey-dovey music. But the turn of the century has worked out well for the rockers from Lahore who are all set to take the scene by storm all over again.
The Ballad of Noor and Hamza
Noori did for the new music scene what Junoon had done for rock back in the nineties.
If Junoon gave rock music a foot to stand on, Noori did the same more than a decade later.
It was a time the internet was just picking up steam in Pakistan and word had spread that a song called ‘Manwa Re’ was online by an unknown band.
‘Manwa Re’ spread like wildfire and it led one to discover other Noori tunes like ‘Sari Raat Jaga’, ‘Ooncha’ and ‘Mujhe Roko’. And suddenly people started talking about the band called Noori.
With an album in the making, Ali Noor and Ali Hamza with band mates Mohammed Ali Jafri and drummer Gumby became regular live performers all around the country and released back to back videos.
So much so that by the time their debut album, Suno Kay Main Hoon Jawan released in 2003, more than half the songs on the album were already hits with a generation that had been waiting for a rock act to stir things up. And Noori did just that.
Critics may have slashed their debut for too much of the “Jawan” factor but fans refuted the criticism vehemently. Here was a song that was singing about being young and being able to conquer the world. When you’re young, you believe anything is possible and Noori was playing to that effect.
This was the band that gave the word DIY (Do It Yourself) a whole new spin. Their videos may not have been superior technically but the band knew exactly who they were catering to and what was needed. With every video, be it ‘Suno Kay Main Hoon Jawan’ or ‘Jaana Tha Hum Ne’ or ‘Tum Hans Diye’, the ball of energy that was Noori penetrated through.
Their deal with Polo led them to play free shows all around Pakistan. And they did it magnificently well. And then disappeared only to return in 2005 with a solid follow-up to their debut, Peeli Patti Aur Raja Jaani Ki Gol Dunya (PPARJKGD).
But things went downhill from there. Even though PPARJKGD was an incredible second album, the band itself was going through a rough path. Mohammed Ali Jaffri quit the band (albeit amicably) but the big blow came a few months later when Gumby split with Noori. And it was not a pretty sight. Gumby and Ali Noor couldn’t see eye to eye. And it had its effect.
PPARJKGD didn’t sell as well as its predecessor and with two band mates out of the way, Noori started disappearing from the spotlight until they just vanished. Only two videos came from their second album – ‘Nishaan’ and ‘Meray Log’. Rumours were ablaze that the band was breaking up and that Ali Noor was planning on doing a solo album.
With ‘Do Dil’ all those rumours are finally laid to rest. Noori is still together. An album is in the making, which, Ali Noor maintains, should release early next year right after the month of Moharram.
Ali Noor and Ali Hamza have re-launched their website. Both of them write blogs regularly and we have to say that Ali Hamza in particular makes for a delightful blogger.
“Ali Hamza will sing a lot more on our album. He was supposed to be the original singer in the band while I was set to be the guitarist but he went to LUMS so I took over,” says Ali Noor.
And that isn’t the only good news. The band known for its fiery and energetic concerts revealed that they will mix it up when it comes to the line-up.
“With the new album coming out, we’ll have about 30-35 songs. We don’t want to do same old routine shows. So the idea is to bring in different players to our live set-up. Farhad Humayoun, Sikander Mufti, Fahad Khan – we’ll play with all of them,” explained Ali Noor. He also promises that the band will still be DIY, only more hardcore.
The record itself
Its common knowledge, especially with hardcore Noori fans, that their two albums – Suno Kay Main Hoon Jawan and Peeli Patti Aur Raja Jaani Ki Gol Dunya – are a part of a trilogy. The third record was supposed to be the final installment.
However, Noori is still divided on that front. It remains unclear if Noori will finish this installment or do an album that runs on the theme of ‘Do Dil’.
What is clear though is that Ali Noor and Ali Hamza haven’t lost their touch. So watch out for Noori. For now, all we can say is, welcome back guys… we’ve missed you!
Noori and Euphoria to collaborate
Times of India
The Indian band Euphoria have good news to share – they’ve cut an album with a Pakistani music label, in collaboration with a Pakistani band, and Palash Sen from Euphoria also recorded India’s first ‘green song’, on global warming.
The Indian band has teamed up with leading Pakistani rock band Noori for an album by one of the largest Pakistani music labels, Fire Records. Confirming this, Hitesh Madan from Euphoria says, “We met Noori at the music awards in Pakistan earlier this year, in June.”
Noori comprises brothers Ali Noor and Ali Hamza, and the band has been credited with bringing underground music into the mainstream. Euphoria’s lead singer, Palash Sen, is excited about the two tracks they’re doing together. “One track is called ‘Woh Kasme’, and it’ll be shot partly in India and partly in Pakistan. We were blown away by the kind of reception we got in Pakistan and also Noori’s talent. They came to India in August, and we sat and chalked out the tunes and lyrics. We’ve recorded the song and sent it back to them to record their part. It’s our second collaboration with a Pakistani band after Strings.”
The song is about the harmony between the two nations. Ali Noor from Noori says, “Our experience has been fabulous. The bands have a unique relationship. We were intrigued by their music and it was refreshing to see a popular rock band performing, as we get to listen to only Hindi film music back home, and Pakistan has a rich rock culture. Plus, Palash is an amazing singer, so it was an instant connect. We’re quite similar – in fact, we share our birthdays,” he says, adding, “We had written a song and they had another. We showed our songs to each other and now the one we wrote has been recorded. I have hardly seen any big label releasing an Indian rock band’s album back home, so I’m sure it’s the first development of its kind.”
A lawyer by profession, Ali has been coming to India quite often. “I would come to Delhi because of my association with the Sanjan Nagar Institute of Philosophy and Arts. Both my mother and grandfather were classical singers. I’ve seen a lot of good rock bands in Delhi and I was impressed but frankly, I haven’t made up my mind on Hindi film music. I do like the work of Rabbi and Kailash Kher, though,” he says.
Meanwhile, Euphoria are full of dhoom about their ‘green song’. “We also have recorded India’s first song on global warming, whose video has already been shot in McLeodganj. It’s for Oxfam,” says Palash. Priya Pillai from Oxfam International adds, “Our idea is to generate awareness and mobility on issues like poverty and climate change. The video that has been shot aims to do just that, and it’s come out really well.”
Instep Desk adds
While Ali Noor is mum on working with Euphoria for the time being, he maintains that the two have been in touch for sometime and this collaboration was inevitable.
This isn’t the first time Noori is collaborating with an Indian pop act. Prior to Euphoria, Noori teamed up with Indian pop singer Anaida for the single, ‘Naya Jahaan’ which is featured on Anaida’s album Jahaan.
For Euphoria, this will be the second time they team up with a Pakistani band. In 2004, the boys of Euphoria collaborated with Strings on the single, ‘Jeet Lo Dil’.