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One of the Five Defining Pop Acts of Pakistan

  • BGBS Comes to Peshawar on 22nd November 2015

    Album Sales and Meet and Greet from 5pm to 6pm at Mr Cod (University Town Peshawar)

    Live Performance 7pm onwards at GUZEL (Only for Ladies, Couples and Families)

    For Live Performance Tickets Contact: 0331-8020006, 0323-3323334 and 091-2601121

  • Noori’s labour of love finally shines through

    By Mehek Saeed

    Ali Hamza, Ali Noor and Shiraz Uppal having fun at the album launch. PHOTOS: PUBLICITY

    LAHORE: After a 10-year hiatus, Noori released the first single of their third album, Begum Gul Bakaoli Sarfarosh (BGBS), in June, making a commitment to revive the dormant music industry. They then moved between Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad to host exclusive album previews for fans, who invested into their music by getting Noori merchandise on the band’s website. The much-awaited BGBS was finally released at Fortress Square on Friday night amid live singing, excited fans and distribution of signed CDs.

    nterestingly, there were even numbered ‘selfie tickets’ for each person who bought a CD. “You’re choosing to be a part of the music industry when you invest in a CD. The onus of breathing new life into the industry lies as much on the listener as it does on the artist,” said Ali Noor.

    The intent behind the physical release of BGBS is to create a reference point for other musicians to continue creating music. “We don’t want to be affected by the fact that a corporate sponsor isn’t backing our content. We’re motivated to find ways of achieving results without sponsors,” said Ali Hamza.

    Ali Ashraf, an Islamabad-based musician, who was present at the event, agreed. “Noori’s album launch has given the rest of us hope at a slow time for the music industry,” he said. “Another famous artist should release an album soon after this to keep the ball rolling.”

    Ashraf himself has the content for his album ready but continues to seek sponsors as he feels the ground reality is slightly different. “It was relatively easier for Noori to release an album because they produced it in-house, which kept their costs low. Besides, had they approached sponsors, they would’ve been ready to hop on board because ‘Noori’ has a brand value. It’s not as easy for the rest of us.”

    Khalid Bajwa, co-founder of Patari, who also graced the occasion, shared how the promotion of BGBS is part of a larger initiative that gives artists a chance to solely focus on the creative process. “We’ve planned out Noori’s entire marketing strategy and are developing a blueprint, where we can use this model for other artists. We want artists to only create music and we’ll take care of the rest.”

    Friends and family got together to help the band burn their CDs

    As for the album itself, Noori wanted it to be an aural experience, so other than amalgamating fan chants, they’ve included sound bites from radio and television archives to their record. The nine songs on the album comprise unreleased and leaked classics of the band, such as Mujhay Roko and 1947.

    Kami Paul, who has tracked the drums on BGBS, has been playing with the band for two years and played a key part in evolving the band’s sound. “Kami’s groovy style of playing has allowed us to explore a new style of music and this album is more bouncy and danceable,” noted Hamza. Hassan Omer has co-produced the album and Shiraz Uppal, a close friend of the band, has mixed and mastered it. The album comes with a unique cover and 46-page booklet, depicting artwork and different themes of the content.

    Designed by Hashim Ali, it also featured a page with pictures of some of the fans, who have sung on the album. It also comes with a letter, an excerpt of which reads, “It’s the age of digital downloads. We’re sure that CDs will soon become like cassettes: obsolete and archaic. However, for us, this booklet and CD are the only way you can hold our hearts physically in your hands.”

    The album, copies of which the band painstakingly burned themselves, is worth Rs500 and will not be available in stores. Fans will only be able to purchase the CDs during the band’s three-day tour, starting from Lahore and ending in Islamabad, or stream it on Patari in Pakistan and on iTunes outside Pakistan.

    Published in The Express Tribune, October 11th, 2015.

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  • After a decade: Noori's Begum Gul Bakaoli Sarfarosh comes to Karachi!

    The band's much anticipated third album is finally out and fans are all ears for it!

    Fans lined up at Karachi’s Ocean Mall on Saturday for a chance to meet Noori after the band’s long absence from the music scene.

    This third record is a concept-album, which aims to highlight the youth’s existential crisis, pushing them to question what role they are playing as Pakistanis.

    Welcoming Noori back
    The ground floor of Ocean Mall saw long lines of CD-clutching fans, waiting to get their album signed and photograph taken with the band. It was like the noughties all over again when buying CDs wasn’t out-dated.

    A long queue at Ocean Mall for the launch of BGBS. — Photo by author

    Considering how many laptops don't even come with CD drives, and the album was released online on music hosting platform Patari at Saturday midnight, the fact that innumerable people bought CDs is a promising baby-step towards the revival of supporting Pakistani music again. It is also a ‘phew’ moment for the band itself, who had to resort to burning all these CDs themselves due to the plummet in CD manufacturing plants in Pakistan over the years!


    The band stood in their cordoned circle for hours, hugging, clicking selfies and shaking hands with fans. It appeared like this time it was really important for the band to make the effort to connect with fans, to give them a reason to pick up a CD in Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad, the three cities where the launch was organized to take place.

    “It was madness”: Ali Noor
    Images cornered Noori at the jam-packed event for a 5-minute chat with the band, during which Ali Hamza revealed that the band plans to hold more interactive events in the future.

    As a fun, non-serious repartee with the band ensued, we had to ask whether we’ll have to wait another decade for Noori’s next album. To this, Ali Hamza retorted with a smile, “Abhi yeh wali album toh enjoy karlo!”

    Ali Noor signs an album for fans with Ali Hamza. — Publicity Photo

    We asked them both how it feels to finally have the album out there. “Madness!” Ali Noor said with a beaming smile. “Ecstasy!” he went on. “Yeah, we didn’t have to take a pill,” Ali Hamza added jokingly.


    Celebrities like Syed Yorguc, actress Muzna and director Wajahat Rauf were also spotted in the crowd with their copies of the album, showing their support for the band who has come a long way since their first album Suno Ke Main Hoon Jawan (2003) and their second album Peeli Patti Aur Raja Jaani ki Gol Dunya (2005).

    What are the songs like this time around? That’s another story.

    Zara Salahuddin

  • Will Noori's New Album Revive Pakistani Rock Music?

    Noori singing "Manwa Re" and "Mujhe Roko" for the fans

    The Pakistani rock music scene has been quiet for some time now. Noori and Junoon’s popularity seems almost like a distant memory. Classic tracks like Manwa Re serve merely as nostalgia to the once-glorious past of a now stagnant music industry. However, all of that is about to change soon, because Noori, one of the front-runners of the music scene in the last decade, is back with a bang! Their new album, Begum Gul Bakaoli Sarfarosh, was officially unveiled on October 9th at Fortress square, Lahore with a hall full of fans forming long queues to buy the album. And why not, they waited ten long years for this day!

    At a time when Pakistani artists are hardly coming up with singles, it’s very spirited on the part of Noori to release a full-fledged original album. According to the band, that’s exactly what’s needed to keep the music scene afloat. The album contains nine songs, including the previously released Aik tha Badshah. Saya-e-Khuda-e-Zul-Jalal starts with the national anthem in a slow rhythm and low pitch, enough to give goose bumps to the listener. Moreover, the catchy composition of Hey ya will compel listeners to keep it on repeat for a long time. In short, fans will be listening to a lot of new as well as old tracks by Noori in the coming year.

    Today in Pakistan, music is either streamed online or illegally downloaded from the web. However, Noori has taken a bold step by opting for Music CDs, and the long queues formed to buy the CDs are proof that the Pakistani public is ready and willing to support its musicians. Noori made a special post on social media to announce the sale of their CDs, and appealed that the fans get their music through legal means. The Begum Gul Bakaoli Sarfarosh CD comes with a booklet, which is Noori’s way of connecting with their fans. The tagline reads, “This album is dedicated to the potential of the people of Pakistan”, and rightly so! Allow me to share an excerpt from the booklet:

    "Dear Friend,
    This year, all the CD manufacturing plants in Pakistan officially closed down, stating that there is too much piracy, and that legally manufactured CDs are no longer viable. But Noori was not going to give up...so we decided to personally burn all the CDs, checked every one of them in our cars, put stickers on them ourselves, packed them in this beautiful booklet, and gave each one a unique number, so that this time around, we would get to know every single one of you who bought this CD. What you have in your hands is hours and hours of pure love and our faith in you…this CD and booklet inside is the only way you can hold our hearts physically in your hands. For us, this organic connection is absolutely vital..."

    This personal touch from Noori for each fan is priceless. The album has also been released on Patari.pk to cater to the people who could not get their hands on the CDs.

    The ceremony in Lahore was all set to start at 6:00 pm. Fans had started to arrive even before the starting time. Ali Hamza and Ali Noor were right on time to greet the fans in the hall. Just when they arrived, meet and greet queues formed and got longer and longer with time. Fans were going crazy to get their albums autographed and take ‘selfies’ with the band. No one could resist singing along when, upon persistent requests, the band took their guitars and started singing Manwa re and Mujhe Roko.

    Ali Noor and Ali Hamza with their parents

    Emotions were running high when Ali Noor and Ali Hamza’s parents arrived and waited in the queue all the way from the end to get their album signed. One could see in their eyes that they were extremely proud of their sons.

    The event was graced with special appearances by a multitude of celebrities, who came all the way to buy the album and extend support for Pakistani music. Umair Rana was present in the hall with his son to get his album signed. Hashim Ali and Hassan Omar showed up to show their support as well. Haroon Shahid and Shiraz Uppal also surprised with an entry. Sarmad Khoosat was also present in the hall to witness the beginning of the revival of Pakistani rock music. All these appearances added to the amazement of Lahori fans, who were overjoyed to meet so many celebrities under one roof.

    Following the grand opening in Lahore, Noori promoted Begum Gul Bakaoli Sarfarosh at Ocean Mall, Karachi on Saturday and at Safa Gold Mall, Islamabad on Sunday. They also plan to keep the promotions going on after Muharram.

    Is this really the beginning of the revival of Pakistani rock music? Only time will tell, but all the signs are positive, and we hope that this proves to be the spark that will get our industry going once again!

  • Teenage Dream

    Stars and fans come out to celebrate the release of Noori’s new album. Instep takes a look.
    It’s the comeback of the decade, one that is full of promise and hope for a better tomorrow.

    For Noori brothers, Ali Noor and Ali Hamza, Begum Gul Bakoli Sarfarosh (BGBS) is more than a record - it's an ongoing journey.

    After the infectious optimism of Suno Kay Main Hoon Jawan and introspective despair in Peeli Patti Aur Raja Jaani Ki Gol Dunya comes the third and final album in this musical thematic trilogy – one that celebrates the enduring capacity that all human beings possess. BGBS is a vision, an idea that celebrates compassion for others, selflessness and potential solutions instead of dissociation, detachment and utter despair.

    After the infectious optimism of Suno Kay Main Hoon Jawan and introspective despair in Peeli Patti Aur Raja Jaani Ki Gol Dunya comes the third and final album in this musical thematic trilogy – one that celebrates the enduring capacity that all human beings possess. BGBS is a vision, an idea that celebrates compassion for others, selflessness and potential solutions instead of dissociation, detachment and utter despair.

    At its heart, Begum Gul Bakoli Sarfarosh is also a record that capturesthe strength of the band we know and love is Noori.

    It's a record that makes you want to attend a Noori concert and has immense value, both for the music industry and for loyal fans of the band.

    To mark the release of this album, Ali Noor and Ali Hamza, alongside their management crew have been on a roll; a whirlwind tour of the three major cities, if you will – Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad in just three days.

    Keeping up the tradition of one-on-one interaction with fans, Noori met up with fans at the meet and greet session in all three cities and stuck around for hours to make sure that those who spend money on their new CD got their moment with the band. Noori's inclusive nature hasn't changed even after all these years and their fans, both old and new, understand this fact very well.

    What’s most interesting is that not only fans but industry stalwarts also showed up to lend their support to a band that has managed to survive in a precarious music environment.

  • Noori makes comeback after a decade

    After 10 years of waiting, the moment finally came for Noori fans to rejoice. Begum Gul Bakaoli Sarfarosh, Noori’s much awaited third album was released for the public at Fortress Square on Friday night.

    Waiting in a long queue to get hold of the CD, numerous fans could be seen enthusiastic and excited about the revival of the music industry. At a well-managed and highly well planned event that allowed individuals to not only get hold of the CDs but also to take pictures with and meet the band members, Noori demonstrated how it plans on bringing about a change in the existing music industry.

    Like ‘Peeli Patti’, this album too is a concept album. Speaking to The Nation the band leader, Ali Noor, revealed that the main concept behind Begum Gul Bakaoli Sarfarosh revolves around a character created by the band- a woman- who crossed the border in 1947 in hopes of a better future and a grand home. “However, with the passage of time, she had her hopes crushed one by one. As things started falling apart, she realized that the problems being faced by the country aren’t because of external factors but are there because of individuals’ inability to realize their true potential and their roles in society. Realisation, which can be a dangerous task, is thus the album’s central theme,” Noor explained.

    A very prominent Noori song, Mujhay Roko, which had been unofficially leaked on the internet has been officially released via this album. Commenting on that, Noor revealed that this album had been written before the band’s other two albums. However, the band waited for its audience and itself to mature further before releasing the album. “The time is now perfect for the album to be released,” Ali Noor added.

    At one of the previous events, the band mentioned how the live performance culture in Pakistan has died down and how that needs to be revived. “The band will definitely be bringing back the live performance culture but with an improved model. Due to corporate sponsors and other technicalities, not everyone could attend the concerts. That is about to be changed via Noori’s new model. At the band’s album promotion a few weeks ago, tickets were sold in the form of T-Shirts to the audience. This model allows everyone to attend these concerts while allowing for the process to be somewhat funded too. The band is focusing on making its performances more interactive; a visible difference from the live performance culture of the past,” Noor explained.

    Commenting on the Fire Records controversy, Noor stated that it was one of the major reasons behind the downfall of the music industry and that Fire Records could not promote the artistes as it had intended to. However, Noori didn’t lose out from it because the band hadn’t signed a contract with the company. “Pakistani artistes are ‘simple’ people who got trapped in such contracts. Due to this, they got exploited and the music industry suffered,” Noor was of the view.

    It finally seems as if the phoenix is rising from the ashes and Pakistan’s music industry is back on its track to revival with Noori taking the first step with its album Begum Gul Bakaoli Sarfarosh.

    Wishaal Raheel

  • 8 reasons why you should listen to Noori's new album

    By Alveena AbidPublished: October 12, 2015

    KARACHI: Nearly a decade and three breakups later, Noori has made a comeback to Pakistan’s music scene and fans are in love!

    The band are currently touring Pakistan’s major cities. Their second stop — in the City of Lights — saw Karachiites running in droves to Ocean Mall to welcome the band’s new album Begum Gul Bakaoli Sarfarosh (BGBS) on Saturday.

    When asked about his expectations from the latest album, Ali Noor told The Express Tribune, “Noori just wants to share happiness and we hope when BGBS makes people happy, they pray for us and we go places.”

    Ali Hamza too was overwhelmed by the response.

    “We want people to listen to this album, so that the message resonates with them and they give us some feedback,” he said.

    The huge attendance was undoubtedly a sign that Noori still remains relevant to the country’s music scene — hundreds of people queued up just to get a signed autograph from the two singers.

    If you still haven’t had a chance to grab yourself a CD of their latest album, here are eight reasons why you should definitely go and buy a copy now:

    1) It’s their comeback

    For us Noori was never absent from the music front as there timeless hits kept us mesmerised during their hiatus. Their much-awaited career resurgence with BGBS cements their legacy as one of the all-time greats.

    2) It wraps up their trilogy

    According to Ali Hamza, “Noori announced a trilogy of albums when they first released Suno Ke Main Hun Jawan in 2003″. After making waves with the second album Peeli Patti Aur Raja Jani Ki Gol Dunya in 2005, BGBS is set to give you some serious flashbacks of their signature sound.

    3) It’s an investment

    For all of those who missed the chance to grab their BGBS copy in a three-day whirlwind tour, not only did you miss another worthy edition to your collection, but also an opportunity to invest in yourself. Bonus: An interesting booklet (part of the album) which is an eye-opener as it takes you back to 1947 and makes you realise that it’s time to bring about a positive change in Pakistan.

    4) Gaana No. 1

    No it’s not a remixed version of their 2003 hit Gaana No. 1, but the first track of the new album which is titled 1947. Unees So Santaless Jab Aarzoo Jaagi Meray Man Mein – it will definitely tingle your patriotic nerve.

    P.S. Ali Noor’s narrative will make you work on your diction, especially the word ‘sahar’.

    5) It is bound to make you nostalgic

    For us millennials, Noori’s hits were an essential part of our formative years. We played them during college gigs, listened to them during long drives and danced to them in our bedrooms. Well, BGBS takes us back to those times!

    6) It will awaken the rebel in you

    If Dil Ki Qasam, Ooncha, Merey Log, Nishaan and all their previous tracks left some traces of a rebel in you then Hoshiyar, Pinjra, Keedar, Sarfarosh and Mujhay Roko will definitely awaken that lost spirit.

    7) It gives you a soulful rendition of the national anthem

    Tears, goose-bumps and patriotic sentiments define Noori’s Saya-e-Khuda-e-Zuljalal. BGBS covers all patriotic essentials; from 1947 to our national anthem. If this powerful music can’t unite us as a nation, nothing can.

    8) It’s Noori!

    Do you really need any other reason other than the fact that it’s NOORI!

    You can show your love and support by streaming their latest album’s songs online on Patari.

  • Our latest album is not at all different from our previous albums– Noori

    KARACHI: The Ocean Mall was the center of attention on Saturday evening, as Pakistan’s famous rock band Noori had graced the place to promote their new album. Begum Gul Bakaoli Sarfarosh. Ali Noor especially spoke to us about the album and the band’s future endeavours.

    Ali Hamza and Ali Noor have always held sway over the hearts of millions of Pakistanis. Ever since they debuted with Suno Ke Mein Hun Jawan way back in October 2003, Noori’s music has always been a hit with the local populace. With a string of hits such as Manwa Re, Suno Ke Mein Hun Jawan and Tum Hans Diyay, Noori was able to establish himself as a singing powerhouse.

    Hence it was no surprise when The Ocean Mall near Karachi’s Two Swords area was thronged everywhere by eager fans who couldn’t get enough of the band. Along with their team of nearly 10 people, Ali Hamza and Ali Noor were the spectacle of the evening, for the hundreds of fans lined up and waiting to interact with the band. With his new song from the album blaring off the loudspeakers, it was a joyous occasion for fans who had had enough of Noori’s 10 year hiatus and were pleased to witness them release new music again.

    A dedicated female fan had also showed up with a fan art of Ali Noor. Which the band tweeted from their official Twitter account:

    On the ground floor, in front of a large backdrop of their album cover, Ali Noor and Ali Hamza were busy chatting with fans and media personnel. The cue was long enough, hence we asked Noori’s official team present nearby to get us a one-on-one brief interview with Ali Noor. A female team member of his escorted us to the front where Noori was busy obliging a group of ecstatic female fans, with selfies.

    After his team member had informed him about some journalists wanting to ask him some questions, he shook our hand and said,”Just five minutes guys and I’ll be all yours.”

    A plethora of fans and dozens of selfies were to blame for the fact that it was much later than 5 minutes when Ali Noor was free to talk to us. The first questioned I asked him was how was Begum Gul Bakaoli Sarfarosh different from all of his other albums?

    “It’s not,” said Noori with a slight shrug. “It really isn’t. We’ve followed the same formula which stuck to our previous albums and have followed it up with BGBS.”

    Upon being asked as to what were his inspirations to come up with such beautiful music, Ali Noor said “All Pakistani musicians, Pakistani bands, everything Pakistani and most of all, Pakistani people.”

    When asked to comment about the future of Pakistani music, Noori did not look disappointed.

    “It’s very bright, lots of talented people doing their thing. Very bright.”

    About the band’s future endeavours, he stated:-

    “Lots of interactions and one-on-one meetups with fans.”

    And with that, Ali Noor returned to his impatient fans, signing more CD’s and clicking more selfies. Judging from the response, Begum Gul Bakaoli Sarfarosh has indeed struck a chord with the fans!

  • Noori’s Begum Gul Bakaoli Sarfarosh leaves you wanting more

    Amidst the dying Pakistani music industry Noori has released a full studio album… and it doesn’t disappoint

    Begum Gul Bakaoli Sarfarosh, Noori’s first studio album after a whole decade, is finally here. I had been hearing about it since 2010. And searching through KoolMuzone’s archives led me into find this:

    “Noori‘s long awaited 3rd album ‘Rahi Yahan Kay’ is slated for release in September 2010. It was previously named as ‘Begum Gul Baqoli Sarfarosh’ but the band has now changed it to ‘Rahi Yahan Kay”

    Noori hasn’t been inactive in this period. They’ve released 2 originals, 2 songs with Pepsi Smash, 5 songs with Coke Studio, several OSTs and songs for commercials and a live album. They are also one of the few bands that have been doing regular shows, post 2005. But all everyone has really wanted is a full studio album and it is here at last.

    Most of the songs in the album were written even before Suno Kay May Hoon Jawan was released. It is supposed to be the first album in the trilogy which had Peeli Patti (their second release) as the middle and their debut album, Suno Kay May Hoon Jawan as the conclusion.

    The album consists of 9 songs, 3 of which are reworked versions of songs you have already heard before. Among these three are Kedaar – covered on Coke Studio – and 1947 and Mujhe Roko; both of which had unreleased versions floating the internet. This leaves behind 6 new songs of which Aik tha Badshah has already been released as a single.That leaves five new songs in this album, which really makes me wish that after 10 years they could have come up with a larger set of songs

    The album starts off with 1947, which is one of the best songs from the album. The song opens with an announcement by the Pakistan broadcasting service of the morning of independence. 1947 explores the feelings of the protagonist of the album Begum Gul Bakaoli Sarfarosh about partition. It has clips from news reports from the partition and also has Ali Noor reciting a part of Subah–e–Azadi by Faiz Ahmed Faiz. The whole album echoes This is War by 30 Seconds to Mars and this is very noticeable in this song.The concepts and ideas throughout the songs are very grand and the feelings of hope and introspection are amplified by recordings of chanting fans.

    There is some subtle use of synths throughout the album and it is the most obvious in the song Hey Ya which opens up with some vintage style synth leads. Another thing to notice in this song is Ali Hamza’s style of singing, which resembles Shankar Mahadevan. Besides these things, this song for me is the most forgettable one from the album.

    Hey Ya has Ali Hamza as the lead vocalist and is one of the most different songs Noori has done. The verses are really brilliant but my big problem with the song is the chorus and the name. It would have been infinitely better if they had chosen some meaningful words rather than just Hey Ya. These choruses have become a part of Noori’s live performances since their show, Live at the Rock Musicarium, but I wish they hadn’t used them in their studio album.

    Pinjra is one of my favorites from the album and bears a striking resemblance to an earlier release called Taaron Say Agay. The guitar riff is very catchy and the chorus is loud and big, supported by a fusion of dholak with drums.

    Everyone’s heard Kedaar form Coke Studio before, and while I preferred that one, this is a good rework. It also has Noori using sitar in their songs for the first time, which for me is the highlight of the whole song. Kami Paul had some big shoes to fill coming into this episode, but he ensures that we never miss Mr. Pinto.

    While listening to the whole album, I was wondering how Aik tha badshah with its electronic dubsmash-eqsue solo is going to fit in. Noori has reworked the song and removed the electronic influences and it sounds much better – far more in line with the album’s vibe.

    Sarfarosh is my favorite song of the album. It has a killer double bass, a superb guitar riff and despite it using the same old lyrics “yaara nahi chorna, waada nahi torna” I just love this song.

    Mujhe Roko has always been lyrically my favorite Noori song, and we’ve seen countless versions of this song on the internet before. Yet this rework is much better than the older versions. Noori tends to forget the difference between a live recording and a studio one throughout the album but they seem to have crossed the line in this song. I don’t really want to hear fans chanting “Noori Noori Noori”, “Sing with me”, “Put your hands in the air”, “123” in between my songs.

    The album ends with Noori’s take on the national anthem, and in this case, it sounds immense because of the fan chants, which complement it in a memorable way, as does the addition of Noori’s own lyrics.

    I was probably one of the most excited fans ahead of the album’s launch. And I’m really glad that amidst the dying Pakistani music industry Noori has released a full studio album. It doesn’t disappoint, it’s just that the amount of new songs really leaves you wanting more.

  • Noori awakens the music industry with ‘Begum Gul Bakaoli Sarfarosh’

    AIK THA BADSHAH by islotimes
    Recently, the highly acclaimed Pakistani music band, Noori, held album preview sessions in Lahore, Islamabad, and Karachi for the public on a first come basis. That was the first uncut and instrumental public performance of their upcoming new album, “Begum Gul Bakaoli Sarfarosh”.

    Being a Noori fan myself and having attended the album preview held in Lahore, I can safely say the band members, Ali Noor and Ali Hamza, have not given up on the music industry in Pakistan just yet. They made an attempt to bond with their loyal fan base and discussed the ideas and concepts behind the album in a manner unlike anything seen before in Pakistan. The whole session was highly interactive and the audience felt as involved as the band itself.

    At the album preview, Ali Noor warmed the hearts of the audience,

    “We do not want fans. We want friends.”

    The album launch itself held at a local mall was open to public and the response was phenomenal. It was a great feeling to see so many people line up to buy the music CDs and getting them signed by the band. The energetic fans and the environment was enough to take me back in time when Pakistani music was at its peak. People would actually buy music CDs, attend concerts, gigs etc. Unfortunately, music record sales have taken a nose dive over time because of piracy, and concerts have become a scarce musical entertainment because of security concerns. However, in these trying times of piracy, lack of concerts and talent drain, Noori has still stuck to its roots and tried to give the Pakistani music scene yet another wake up call with “Begum Gul Bakaoli Sarfarosh”.

    The album artwork and the overall album presentation are fantastic. It makes buying and owning a CD much more enjoyable. The album cover is like a little story book which talks about the album and the people who worked hard to make it all possible.

    Now, let’s talk about the most important bit about the whole album, the musical content. Noori has managed to hit so many levels simultaneously within a matter of nine songs. From the care free and feel good songs like Hey Ya to the intense and power-packed songs likeSarfarosh, the band has elevated upon the signature Noori vibe. The music feels familiar yet completely different at the same time.

    Chronologically speaking, the band worked on these songs even before they had worked on the songs from their two previous albums which were released a decade or so ago, a fact which was revealed by the band at their album preview in Lahore.

    Considering that fact, it is strange how the lyrical content of this album is so much more mature in comparison to their previous albums. In a beautiful story created around the lady Begum Gul Bakaoli Sarfarosh, the album talks about Pakistan being a country of opportunity at independence and questions what went wrong.

    On a broader level, the band has tried to engage the youth and make them realise how everybody has a role to play in the betterment of this county. This time around, the band also involved the public by giving them a chance to sing along on their album, which can be heard in Kedaar, Mujhey Roko and Saya e Khuda e Zuljalal. The pictures of the singing fans, along with their names, have also been included in the album cover booklet.

    Kedaar, Mujhey Roko and Aik Tha Badshah are songs which we have heard before and were not completely new additions to this album. However, they were altered in a way which made them even better than before.

    Saya e Khuda e Zuljalal is an absolutely beautiful rendition of the Pakistan National Anthem. For years to come, this will definitely be a song I will listen to whenever I need to awaken the patriot within.

    Overall, Noori has made an incredible comeback and I wish them the best of luck for all the future endeavours to come. The more success they see, the more success the music industry in Pakistan will see. That means more and more great music for all of us.

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