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The joy of ‘Journey’

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Touching hearts Fuzon band members Rameez, Emu and Shallum
Touching hearts Fuzon band members Rameez, Emu and Shallum

It’s a new trip for the popular Pakistani band Fuzon as they come out with their second album

They created a niche for themselves with their very first album. So, come to think of it, Fuzon is not just another Pakistani band.

Shallum Asher Xavier and Imran Momina (Emu) steered away from the usual to try out something that few bands had done before. They infused melodious classical ragas into the western rock/pop genre, along with jazz and some cutting-edge technology. The result was Sagar, the 12-track debut album which won them rave reviews and innumerable awards.

New entry

That was 2003. And a lot has changed since then. Their lead vocalist Shafqat Amanat Ali moved out of the band to pursue his solo career two years ago, and in came Rameez Mukhtar to replace him. And now, the band is back with its second album, Journey.

A 10-track album produced by EMI, Journey toes the same line as Sagar yet it is an attempt to break out of it.

“Sagar was just an experiment. We were trying to put our musical thoughts together and see what comes out. But with Journey we have matured as artistes. The way we play our music has changed, the production quality has improved. We have stuck to our roots,” says Shallum, the lead guitarist over the telephone from Karachi.

Their music may have travelled places, but lyrics-wise the album, like Sagar, is all about love. “Love plays such an important part in is everyone’s life. Maybe that’s why we emphasise on it,” he reasons. Rewind to 2001, and Shallum gets into the band’s history.

“When we decided to form a band, we knew we had to do something new, because the pop/rock genre was already flourishing and we didn’t intend to get lost in the crowd. We congregated our decades of experiences to create Fuzon.” Interestingly for a band that’s so strong on eastern classical music, both Shallum and Emu hail from a western rock background.

“We grew up listening to western music, but classical music is part of our culture. We have such a rich legacy that you cannot turn your back on it,” explains Shallum. “Our arrangement is western, but the melodies are eastern. We always record the vocals first, and bring in the instrumentation accordingly,” explains Emu.

Individuality in place

With a classical training backing him, Rameez didn’t find it very difficult to step into Shafqat’s shoes.

“We have our individualities in place. The audience never complained,” chuckles the management graduate.

The band members confess to a soft corner for India. “Marketwise we cannot get bigger than India, but we never specifically targeted it. Bollywood is an attraction though, and we would like to make more music for films,” says Emu, recalling that Nagesh Kukunoor had used two songs from Sagar in his film Hyderabad Blues2.

The band just completed recording a song for Mumbai Cutting, a film starring Palash Sen of Euphoria fame.

The name Fuzon is derived from the word fusion as the band describes its music as a fusion of classical and western music.

Fuzon was the first band to launch its album (Sagar) concurrently in Pakistan and India.Shafqat Amanat Ali, who used to be the lead vocalist of the band has created a niche for himself in Bollywood with songs like Mitwa.

In the past Pakistani bands like Strings and Jal have also created ripples in India with their heady concoction of earthy voices, touching verse and western beats.

MANGALA RAMAMOORTHY

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