KARACHI: Back in April, Hyderabad hosted the Lahooti Melo, its biggest music festival ever. Initiated by The Sketches front man Saif Samejo, the event attracted an unexpectedly huge crowd and even brought together a big part of the Pakistani music industry.
Pleasantly surprised and encouraged by the great response, Samejo has now announced the second instalment of the event, which will be held from January 21 to 22, 2017, at the Hyderabad Club.
Talking to The Express Tribune, the Jamshoro-based singer said the festival is self-financed, with some support from the Sindh Culture department. The idea stemmed from Samejo’s weekly Lahooti Sessions.
“When I was younger, we used to have a lot of festivities that we looked forward to. There was this sense of brotherhood among the people of Sindh. No one cared about religion or cast or anything and they would all get together to just sing and dance. That was the beauty of Sindh,” Samejo recalled, when asked about the motivation behind organising an event of this scale. “Now, things have changed and I wanted to bring that sense of community back and give people something to look forward to.”
Samejo hopes to make Lahooti Melo an annual music festival but that depends on whether it is feasible or not. While the first festival brought together 73 artists, including mainstream and folk as well as indigenous musicians from all over Sindh, this year, there are plans to invite international artists as well. “I planned to bring musicians from all SAARC countries. We had invited artists from India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Maldives but the tense situation between India and Pakistan means the plans won’t come to fruition,” shared Samejo. “But despite that, we still have 60 artists confirmed and there are still a few months to go so let’s keep our fingers crossed.”
One of the key aims of the festival aims is to bring the folk and indigenous musicians of Sindh to the fore. “The idea is to shed spotlight on artists who actually need it, not those who are already popular. There will be established artists from the industry but I want to bring the indigenous musicians like Bhagat Bhooro La in the limelight as well,” said Samejo. “No one knows about Bhooro but that vernacular touch he brings is unmatchable and there are many more artists like that.”
Samejo also spoke of how the atmosphere and the venue of the festival would help bring the artists closer to their audience. “There is no barrier between celebrities and the audience here. I had informed the musicians that there would be no such thing at Lahooti Melo. They are not celebrities in this festival but artists interacting with people,” he explained. “Even during the last festival, everybody was roaming around and the crowd was having a great time meeting the artists and enjoying the music. It was like a big community.”
As a musician himself, Samejo naturally has plenty to say about the Pakistani music industry. When asked what he thought about uniting the music industry, he responded, “It’s very difficult to do that, considering everyone in the industry is money-driven nowadays. We must put the focus back on music and our love for it.”
Courtesy : Express Tribune