Song of Lahore is a performance of traditional folk songs from Pakistan by the Sachal Ensemble – and their interpretation of iconic music by The Beatles, Henry Mancini and many more. We spoke to producer Izzat Majeed during their recent performance in Kuala Lumpur to find out what went into his brew growing up in Pakistan.
My father was the chairman of the film producers association, so I was exposed to the Lahore film industry a.k.a. Lollywood from a very young age. I remember film songs and the large orchestras behind the famous singers of the time. There used to be up to 60 to 70 violins at a time. Music was made in our home and my father would listen to the compositions with me sitting on his lap. My love of music started at a very early age.
I grew up with mostly the film music of the 1950s, but around the age of eight, I heard the jazz greats such as Dave Brubeck and Dizzy Gillespie when they travelled across the subcontinent as part of an American Jazz diplomacy programme. I fell in love with it immediately. There was a lot of jazz music available at the American library in Lahore and it was easily accessible in those days.
The current music scene in Pakistan centres around pop with a lot of electronic music in vogue. There are very few films, and therefore very few film songs. Our hereditary music and sounds have changed dramatically…and not entirely for the better.
My personal playlist of Pakistan would comprise songs by some of our legends, such as Reshma, Gulbahar Bano, Mahnaz, Ustad Nazar Hussain and Mian Sheheryar. They all have recorded songs with Sachal Studios. However, in jazz, I would recommend Lahore Jazz such as Shalamar, She Ditched Me and Taxali Gate by Sachal Ensemble, among the few.