Not much of a music enthusiast myself, somehow I found myself in the midst of IBA Music Olympiad. I had seriously planned to just do a drop-in thing and leave after a couple of minutes. To my surprise, the longer I sat watching the more reasons I got to stay just a tad longer. Thoughts about hanging my shower-singing boots crossed my mind each time someone blew me over with their talent.
The sheer passion for music displayed by Pakistan’s youth was unmatched in every right. I am not thoroughly aware of what a note is and the only possible meaning of a pitch I am familiar with is the one where cricket is played, and yet I appreciated what I was hearing. It had a certain soothing and calming feeling about it. Not only that, some of them didn’t even need to be that good to keep the crowd grooving. Entertainment, inspiration, confidence and guts – it was all happening just a few feet away from me on stage. I grew more restless and fell in love with music more than I could have ever imagined.
I met a couple of participants during the breaks. If you want to know how passionate someone is, notice how they talk about it, which was exactly what I wanted to do. I asked what it felt like to be on stage performing a song, to play an instrument or simply compose a song. The answers that came my way sang to the tunes of “its what my life is all about”, “I like to express myself in the lyrics I write”, “its effortless, the things you love doing are totally effortless, music is like that.” Such enthusiasm poured from every soul that participated and it was amazing for someone like me to know what music can mean to people.
Its like they would get on and off stage as the same person, but in between they would transcend into this extraordinary being, where they would be someone else, making the crowds feel the rhythm of the music that flowed through them. I met the guests as well, and most of them gave standing ovations to the talent on display. To me, it opened a new dimension of how I take music and that too in Pakistan.
One competition I wished I attended all days of was the beatboxing one. The talent on display was indescribable. To be brutally honest, I didn’t even imagine it was humanly possible for people to produce the beats these participants were “boxing” out.
The day of the event, our campus was a musical affair. Every corner you turned you would have most likely bumped into a participant singing ardently, their earphones blocking out the world around them. It is sometimes surprising how a country with so much passion can be known only for its violence. The most beautiful aspect of the event was the raw form in which the performances came our way. It becomes a little too much to bear when every single new music album that comes out is auto-tuned to “perfection”.
If there was a set of participants that became my personal favorites, they were the band called Industree, which took part in the Battle of the Bands contest. Not being in the loop with what the current music “scene” is but they performed songs that gave me a particularly nostalgic feeling. The lyrics, the music, the sound of it all fell into the genre of what Im more familiar to listening to back in my school days. It was great to be reminiscing the good old days while I was at it.
I would be lying if I said I didn’t feel a bit sad when they were announced as the runner ups and not the winners.
At this point it would be counter-progressive to talk about the quality of events and the performances, one should instead appreciate the range of the aspects of music covered by the end; beat-boxing, rap-battles, singing, composition, lyrical composition, dances etc. In particular, I liked the closing performance by some of the judges- Arbal Nadeem from IBA, Afsandyar Junejo and Syed Abdul Haseeb from Islamabad- in the presence of Mohsin Ali Khan, Ali Noor and Yasin Farooqui who seemed to have enjoyed the performance equally as much. Have a look:
To many more musicals!