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Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Back in action, Co-VEN launches Chor

This time around, they look a bit old, a little more aggressive and are making Urdu songs instead of English. PHOTO: FILE
In a refreshing development last month, Co-VEN, one of Pakistan’s oldest rock band, launched a new video. The news is exciting not only because a mature rock band like co-VEN is launching a video, but because after a long time a band is kicking itself into action instead of the solo artists who are dominating the music scene these days.
Lead by Hamza Jafri, co-VEN has been around for quite some time, but the band’s more formal introduction to the mainstream music scene was in 2007 and 2008 with a track calledSailing Fast, a song that brought forward a bunch of musicians who took songwriting and rock music seriously. This time around, they look a bit old, a little more aggressive and are making Urdu songs instead of English. The first of these, Chor was launched at a dimly lit yet festive ceremony at Music Art and Dance (MAD) School. As celebrities and guests walked in and out of the room, the screens played the three versions of the video titled ChorAikDo,Teen.
Luckily for all the co-VEN fans, the song has their signature riffs and draws one in the moment it is played. What follows in the video will have your attention — especially the guys — because what you will essentially witness is a mujra in a raw shape. Kudos to Rola productions for once again impressing viewers with their understanding of the visual language and our social sensibilities; they did it with Sailing Fast and have done it again.
However, what might put one off is the lack of clarity when it comes to vocals given Jafri’s English dialect; due to this, it becomes really difficult to listen to a song which is satirical in nature and relies heavily on the lyrical content.
“Writing in Urdu was the biggest challenge for me,” Jafri told The Express Tribune at the launch ceremony. “I have lived abroad all my life and the lyrics didn’t turn out to be the way I wanted when they were translated, so I thought I might as well take some time and write the song in Urdu myself.”
Jafri had earlier worked with the theatre actor/underground musician Faraz Lodhi when making the music for Karachi: The Musical and that came handy for writing this one.
“I learnt a lot from Karachi: The Musical,” he says . “That is what gave me the confidence to write the lyrics myself.”
According to Jafri, the hiatus is over; now, co-VEN is looking forward to making songs and videos more regularly. The next project the band has in mind is revitalising one of the classics by the legendary folk musician Tufail Niazi.
Co-VEN’s story
A number of Pakistan’s mainstream artists have at one point been a part of this band called co-VEN. Ali Noor from Noori was their vocalist from 1996 to1998 and co-VEN’s founding member Mohammad Ali Jaafri later founded Noori. Overload’s Farhad Humayun was co-VEN’s drummer in the early ‘90s and Quandrum percussionist Atif Saeed was with co-VEN during 1994 to 1996. Co-VEN released their album Not in Your World in 1997 in Lahore, Karachi, Islamabad and Sialkot. The album has a cult following till today. After 1997 b co-VEN members dispersed, with some of them moving outside Pakistan but making a comeback in 2005 with Hamza Jafri, Sikandar Mufti, Sameer Ahmed and Omran Shafique in the line-up.

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