By Mudassir Raja
They are back – a powerful reunion. Junoon, the most sought after rock band from Pakistan, has already been making headlines following the reunification in 2018.
Feeling fresh following their reunion, Junoon is once again bringing their nostalgic and jingoistic gig to Doha once again on January 30. The music show will take place at Qatar National Convention Centre (QNCC) at 7:30pm.
The reunified force of Ali Azmat, vocalist, Salman Ahmad, guitarist, and Brian O’Connell, bassist, will shake the audience with their non-stop act of chants and anthems, which we all have been hearkening at for the past couple of decades.
Rahmodus, an events company, is presenting PK Music Fest, Season-II under the fourth edition of Shop Qatar sponsored by Qatar National Tourism Council, Qatar Airways, Mondrian Doha and supported by Q-Tickets. Tickets are priced at QR500 (premium), 350 (fan zone), 100 (silver) and 60 (bronze). The tickets can be bought now at www.q-tickets.com
After the success of last year’s event with Strings, another popular pop music band from Pakistan, Qatar National Tourism Council and Qatar Airways have sponsored the music show to bring Junoon in Doha. This is going to be second performance by the music band as they first entertained the residents of Doha in 2003.
Junoon, meaning obsession or passion, is a Sufi rock band from Lahore, and Tappan, New York, formed in 1990. The band is directed by founder, lead guitarist and songwriter, Salman Ahmad, who was soon joined by keyboardist Nusrat Hussain, bass guitarist Brian O’Connell and vocalist Ali Azmat.
Junoon is Pakistan’s and one of South Asia’s most successful bands; the Q magazine regarded them as ‘One of the biggest bands in the world’ and The New York Times called Junoon ‘the U2 of Pakistan’. Since their inception, the group has released a collective total of 19 albums: seven studio albums; one soundtrack; two live albums; four video albums; and five compilations. They have sold over 30 million copies worldwide.
Pioneers of Sufi rock with an original sound, they achieved success during the early 1990s. Its members were signed to major record label EMI Records and afterwards released their self-titled debut album Junoon in 1991. After two years, the band recorded their second album Talaash (1993) with their new bassist Brian O’Connell after Nusrat Hussain left the band. The release of their second album began to create a cult following for the band.
In 1996, Junoon released their third album Inquilaab, and it was only then that Junoon developed a nationwide fan following, with blending rock guitars and bluesy vocals with eastern elements like the use of tablas, raga-inspired melodies, traditional Pakistani folk music, and eastern-inspired poetry. The following year, the band recorded the critically acclaimed Azadi (1997), being the band’s first international record deal, and making it Junoon’s debut album in neighbouring India.
The band went on to record and release Parvaaz in 1999. The band found renewed success and popularity starting with 2001’s Andaz and through 2003’s Dewaar and their supporting tours. Junoon celebrated their 25th anniversary by releasing their eighth studio album titled Door in 2016.
Salman, writer of most of the band’s lyrics and music scores, says that he gets most of his inspiration for Junoon’s songs from Led Zeppelin, English rock band, and Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, late Pakistani singer. Songs like Lal Meri Pat (from Azadi), Dharti (from Andaz) and Mera Mahi (from Inquilaab) are some examples of this influence. Another great influence of the band was poetry. The lyrics for the song Khwaab was taken from a poem called khwaab hakikat na sahi by a poet named Faiza Fiza.
Junoon won the ‘Best International Group’ award at the Channel V Awards in New Delhi in 1998, beating Prodigy, Sting and Def Leppard. The band’s first international release Azadi, went triple platinum in India alone. Sayonee was at the top of the MTV India and Channel V charts for over two months. Junoon won the Award for ‘Best Rock Band’ at the Indus Music awards in 2004 and from ARY Asian/Bollywood Awards. Junoon has also been awarded several awards for their contribution towards peace and South East culture by BBC, Unesco and South Asian Journalists Association. Junoon was nominated for Best Musical Group at the Lux Style Awards several years in a row.
On 25 December 2018, Junoon including Ali Azmat, Salman Ahmad and Brian O Connell reunited after 13 years to a sold-out concert in Karachi, Pakistan at the Moin Khan Academy.
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