Tafo Brothers – Plugged in Pakistani Pops (2009)

foto cópia

The history of Pakistan film industry is interspersed with many vicissitudes. Starting almost from a scratch soon after the political division of the Sub-continent (1947), it gradually progressed to achieve self-reliance and prosperity, and a time came when it could proudly and successfully compete with quality films made across the border in India, matching them in (almost) all departments of cinematography.

The golden era of Pakistan cinema was the period between the ’60s and ’70s, although a number of good movies had already been produced in Lahore studios during the second half of the ’50s. A large number of dedicated movie-makers, who had made names during their stay in Mumbai, like producer-directors Nazir, Shaukat Hussain Rizvi and WZ Ahmad (their actress-wives Swaran Lata, Noor Jahan, and Neena); directors Nazir Ajmeri, Luqman, S Fazli and Masud Parvez.

Noor Jahan
Noor Jahan

And lastly, play-actors of the caliber of Shah Nawaz, Shakir, Alauddin, Charlie, Ghauri, Himaliyawala, Sadiq Ali, Shameem, Najma, and Ragni contributed to the evolution of Pakistan film industry during the formative years of the new state.

Lollywood ranks among the top twenty film producing nations with an average of 60 full-length feature films per year. Lollywood should take pride in achieving two distinct accolades. The first relates to Noor Jehan, also known as ‘Melody Queen’, she is the country’s most celebrated singer and actress, enjoying popularity in a career spanning about sixty years! Followed by actor Sultan Rahi was yet another phenomenon with a total number of 670 films, playing key roles in 525 films in a period of almost forty years between 1956 to 1995, averaging 16.75 films a year!

Nayyar Sultana
Nayyar Sultana (Malka-i- Jazbaat – Queen of Sentiments)

In spite of all, almost all Pakistani films cater to the local market and no serious effort has been made to broaden the audience base of its films or to enter these at international festivals. Very little, therefore, is known or heard about Lollywood outside the country, the indifference and timidity as evinced by this industry have a lot to do with the peculiar history of the (difficult) evolution of cinema in Pakistan.

The strategy of prolonged protectionism has failed to solve its main problems, along with the loss of East Pakistan territory, the inception of television, and the infiltration of non-artistic financiers, who had no or little background, either in the arts, or business. Consequently, senior film-makers, directors and composers went into voluntary exile and the industry was taken over by rich people who invested money for purposes other than artistic ends, much based only on profits.

These factors contributed to the ultimate decline of Pakistan film industry. (!)

Nimmi (Nawab Banoo)
Nimmi (Hindustani Vamp)

Let’s go to our artist:

As leading exponents of Lahore’s vibrant film industry, the Brothers Tafo gave Lollywood its first rock group in the form of expanded Sextet commonly known as Tafo or Taffoo to Punjabi and Urdu listeners. Mostly instrumental in composition, the sibling writing team emerged in 1970 providing incidental music and sonic variations for Lollywood love stories, with equivalence to the works of RD Burman, Mr. M.Ashraf or Sohail Rana. They would enjoy over a decade of film scoring and musical experimentation at the hi-tech EMI funded recording studios in Lahore.

Echo-plexes, primitive drum machines, analogue synths, fuzz pedals and such, provided many mundane film-scenes with playful/infectious freak-rock courtesy of these uber-legends who were the first Lollywood group to record their own LP!

Tafo Soundtrack
Tafo 70’s Soundtrack

Let’s go to our album:

The Tafo Brothers were let loose in the EMI studios in Lahore and were seemingly intent on playing every keyboard, stringed instrument and sound effect in the place. All tracks overflow with ideas, constantly shifting mood and sound as though played by these hyperactive geniuses. A delightful mix of Eastern grooves, vintage electronics, psych, and pop combined with a half-ton of charm and a dash of wit.

Once again, this entry must thank the work of Hindustani Vinyl and splendid releases from Finders Keepers, re-discovering Lollywood scene, with its spaced out and funky grooves. This amalgamation of sounds may be leftover in Pakistan cinema nowadays, but we’ll be alert for more of these mighty artists, as Tafo Khan and Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan works, be in touch, and Maayo Nga Biyahe!

Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan
Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan

The ‘IM’ highlights are Bijli Bhari Hai and Tere Siwa Dunya Men.

Tracks Include:

A1 Yeh Aaj Mujh Ko

A2 Tut Tooro Tooro Tara Tara

A3 Oh My Love

A4 Bura Honda Juwariyan Da

A5 Par Kahin Aankh Laraee

A6 Bijli Bhari Hai

B1 Dilon Man Laee

B2 To Shamae-Mohabbat

B3 Mera Mehboob Hai Tu

B4 Lakh Karo Inkar

B5 Tere Siwa Dunya Men

B6 Munda Shahr Lahore Da

Credits

Finders Keepers’ Disposable Music library imprint.

Disposable Music ‎– DiM001

Neelam Valley
Neelam Valley

Omar Khorshid (عمر خورشيد) – Rhythms From The Orient (1974)

capa

Egypt has one of the longest histories of any modern state, tracing its heritage back to the 10th millennium BCE (!), which saw the emergence of one of the earliest and most sophisticated civilizations in the world. Egypt’s iconic monuments, such as the Giza Necropolis and its Great Sphinx, as well the ruins of Memphis, Thebes, Karnak, and the Valley of the Kings outside Luxor, are a significant focus of archaeological study and popular interest from around the globe.

The country’s rich cultural legacy is an integral part of its national identity, enduing and assimilating numerous foreign influences throughout the times, including Roman, Greek (Hellenism), Persian (Islamic), Ottoman, and European (Christianity).

Valley of the Kings
Valley of the Kings

As early as 4000 BC, ancient Egyptians were playing harps and flutes, as well as two indigenous instruments: the Ney and the Oud. However, there is little notation of Egyptian music before the 7th century AD, when Egypt became part of the Muslim world. Contemporary Egyptian music traces its beginnings to the creative work of luminaries such as Abdu al-Hamuli and Sayed Mekkawi, who were patronized by Khedive Ismail and who influenced the later work of Sayed Darwish, Umm Kulthum, Mohammed Abdel Wahab, Abdel Halim Hafez, and other Egyptian music giants.

From the ’70s onwards, Egyptian pop music has become increasingly important in Egyptian culture, particularly among the large youth population. In the last quarter of the 20th century, Egyptian music was a way to communicate social and class issues. Egyptian pop singers such as Tamer Hosny, Mohamed Mounir, and Ali El Haggar have consolidated careers and fame among the Arab world.

Ancient Musicians
Ancient Musicians

Belly dance or Raqs Sharqi (oriental dancing) is the classical Egyptian style of belly dance that developed during the first half of the 20th century. Based on the traditional Ghawazi and other folk styles and formed by western influences such as marching bands, the Russian ballet, Latin dance, this hybrid style was performed in the cabarets of Kingdom of Egypt period and in early Egyptian cinema.

The style is often considered the classical style of belly dance, although that term historically referred to the Ghawazi style, and today covers a much wider range of Middle Eastern dance as well as Western styles developed from them. Today the country is considered an international center of the art.

Raqs Sharqi ~ 20's
Raqs Sharqi ~ 20’s

Let’s go to our artist:

Born Omar Mohammed Omar Khorshid (October 9, 1945, ~ May 29, 1981) in Cairo at the glittering age of Egypt’s cultural reinvention, Omar Khorshid was soon to become one of its luminaries and most well-known, if short-lived, voices. He is regarded as the greatest guitarist the Arab world has ever known. (!!) With a natural gift for music, at a young age, he was taught piano but quickly discovered the guitar, much to the annoyance of his father, Ahmad Khorshid (a cinematographer) who even smashed his first guitar, but Omar was persistent enough to continue with a new one on credit!

By the mid 60’s he was established with his group Le Petit Chats, an Egyptian beat group modeled after the prevailing influence of Elvis and The Beatles. It was at this time that one of the reigning figures of contemporary Arabic music, Abdel Halim Hafez, asked Omar to join his orchestra. It didn’t take long before he was adapted into an Egyptian orchestra as a soloist. Arranger Baligh Hamdi helped him with arrangements to show his (freshly) western-inspired guitar talent.

Heartthrob Musician
Heartthrob Musician

Time with the Hafez orchestra offered Khorshid instant fame, and it wasn’t long before he was asked to play with the queen of Arab music, the voice of Egypt herself: Oum Kalthoum. Over the next few years, he was heavily featured in live concerts, national TV and radio, and studio recordings, playing for the leading artists of the day. The guitar had now become an essential ingredient in the Oriental orchestra.

Omar began recording albums under his own name for the prestigious Lebanese record labels Voice of The Orient and Voice of Lebanon. Working with visionary engineer Nabil Moumtaz at Polysound studios in Beirut, Khorshid would take his music into some of the most progressive and innovative musical terrains of its time!

A Film Excerpt
A Film Excerpt

Besides he also played as an actor, produced and composed music for over 40 films over the years (in Egypt and Lebanon). He lived for a few years a great life in Lebanon until the 1975 civil war, which over a short period in Syria made him return to Egypt. In that time span, he had four marriages! By 1979 he was invited to play at the White House on the invitation with president Sadat being present and with violinist Menuhin, as an Arab/Israeli exchange idea. Rumors indicate that after that day, he happened to be persecuted by extremists, dying in a mysterious car accident at age 36.

Let’s go to our album:

HEADS UP! Do not be fooled by the cheesy cover. Today’s album brings one of the greatest virtuosos who has appeared in Egypt and surroundings. Previously we appreciate the talent and the ways that Aris San had but with Omar Khorshid the thing takes another panorama, he simply rolled upside down the guitar concept from Middle Eastern music. With psych sounding, eastern sounding organ, percussive instrumentation, an originally styled electric guitar leading, surf reminiscences, all mixed with some additional Moog/synth, proves that this isn’t a regular record!

The ‘IM’ highlights are for Raqsed El Fada and Takkasim Sanat Alfeyn. બોન વોયેજ!

Tracks Include:

A1 Raqset El Fadaa (Nourl Al Malah)

A2 Guitar El Chark (Nourl Al Malah)

A3 Takassim Sanat Alfeyn (Omar Khorshid)

B1 Laylet Hob (M. Abdel Wahab)

B2 Lama Bada Yatasana (Traditional)

B3 Teletya Mahla Nourha (Saeed Darwesh)

B4 Ah Ya Zen (Traditional)

Credits

  • Recorded ByNabil Moumtaz

Voice of Lebanon ‎– VLMX 39

Misty Cairo
Misty Cairo

Aris San (אריס סאן) – Hataklit Hashvii (Record Seven) [1974]

capa cópia

Israel. As one of the first lands to form after WWII, Der Jundesntaat it’s been sought after since the biblical Diaspora and theorized by Theodor Herzl from the late XIX century. Declared and recognized as a state in 1948/49 from Mandatory Palestine, this controversial maneuver suffered rejection from the Arab League and other organs linked to the Palestinian cause. The conflicts and tensions among the two, are one of the most iconic cases of intolerance and racism in our history!

The Israeli occupations (since 1967), armed conflicts and hatred shown by the parties, seem to be viewed with compliance eyes by the Western society.

50's Immigration
50’s Immigration

With the strong support and lobby from U.S. and England this young country in merely 10 years tripled your population to almost 3.5 million, much caused by the Aliyah (Jewish immigration) and an international immigration boom, turning a secluded society into a mixture of cultural/religious influences that arrived from Iraq, Russia, Tunisia, Yemen, Germany, Iran, Poland, Romania and many others.

Aris San arrived in 1957 seeking a place to show his electric abilities and in less than five years would become one of the greatest stars of Israel, the so-called King of Jaffa.

Let’s go yo our history:

Old Jaffa, Clock Tower
Old Jaffa, Clock Tower

Aristotelis Saisanas (January 19, 1940 – July 25, 1992) was born in Kalamata, Greece in an Orthodox family. With 8 years old they moved to Athens, where he completed his studies at the elementary school. With 11 years, won a young talent competition and at 16 began performing in taverns, singing and playing guitar. (!)

He moved to Israel when he was 17, where quickly became a local star singer. The early ’60s had started a Greek wave of popular (mostly laika based) music in Israel, nightclub related music with bouzouki originating from Athens and Thessaloniki.

Aris San, Moshe Oralevich & Moty Morad
Aris San, Moshe Oralevich & Moty Morad

Arianna nightclub in Jaffa, became Aris ‘headquarters’, even general Moyshe Dayan loved his music and helped him to legalize its affairs. His shows became very popular, not only ordinary people came to see him, but also politicians and the highest army officers. Thanks to his relations, Aris San got himself Israeli citizenship (almost impossible to obtain for a non-Jew) and his career was promptly rising.

In the mid-’60s, everyone was singing Aris’s hits, and by the end of the decade, he managed to sell more than 500,000 copies between singles and albums, starring film soundtracks, playing throughout the country (after the Six-Day War) and definitely shaped the Israeli rock sound. (!) What it seemed to be an unstoppable career, quickly changed when rumors that Aris was a spy and stories of a violent relationship with Aliza Azikri (pregnant at the time) began circulating. Plus his open defense to Zionism (sic) and straight relation with the military, formed a boiling cauldron.

Aris Trio
Aris Trio

He left Israel hurt, and set out to conquer America, fleeing to New York in late 1970. There, he even shaved his mustache and started to wear a wig and large glasses. (!)

After moving to New York, in 1972 he opened a famous club called the Siroco, which will quickly become a temple of the bourgeoisie. Its frequenters could be seen by Anthony Quinn, Telly Savalas, Melina Mercouri, Harry Belafonte and the mob boss Joe Gallo, (for whom Bob Dylan wrote the Joey in Desire Lp).

Gallo stuck with him, pushing it to the coke addiction; Aris became a rich man and enjoyed all the wealth and excitement that America of the ’70s and ’80s had to offer. With bad influences the sandcastle collapsed, he got involved with drug deals, local Mafiosi and was convicted for two years, in a drug possession charge.

Aris San & Louis Armstrong, Siroco, 1971
Aris San & Louis Armstrong, Siroco, 1971

Free from prison, his life dramatically changed. Suffering from paranoia and depression, he fled to Budapest, trying to revive his career. After a broken hand, he was hospitalized and died of a heart attack a few days later. Some claimed that the mob was involved, while others claim that he went underground. (RIP)

This curious tragic fact has retreated in the documentary The Mystery of Aris San (2007), directed by Dani Dothan and Dalia Mevorach, check it out!

Let’s go to our album:

Hataklit Hashvii or Record Seven is a true masterpiece, despite not having the MEGA hit Dam Dam (probably his famous song). What I consider the pinnacle of his career, letting the romantic / beat side far away, Aris’s band (drums, bass, guitar, and keyboards), also got sax and flute passages, female choir and light fuzz.

Magazine
Magazine

Singing in Greek and Hebrew (in previous albums he also sang in Spanish), his music got the perfect blend between the uptempo positive Laika style and the harmonic/melodic minor key influences from the East. Added to this, his superb technique in Guitar/Bouzouki timbre, smiling figure and behaved persona, distant from the rebellious western rock bands, made Israel embraced him as one of them.

The ‘IM’ highlights are Im Etn Ani Lach Mi and Den Katalaveno Tipota.

Geras Kelionė!

Tracks Include:

A1 Afilotimi (Hatzinasios)

A2 To Palikari (Aris San)

A3 Gam Hapa’am (Folklore)

A4 Dipli Zoy Diplos Kaymos (Aris San)

A5 Im Eyn Ani Lach Mee (Aris San)

A6 Okutalyanos (Katsaros)

B1 Den Katalaveno Tipota (Kinoussis)

B2 Rak Bachalom (Kaniel)

B3 Katerina (Katsaros)

B4 Hakol Sh’karim (Aris San)

B5 Alou Esikialou (Aris San)

B6 Tou Andra Tou (Markopoulos)

Notes

A1, A2, A4, A6, B1, B3, B5, B6: Sung in Greek.

A3, A5, B2, B4: Sung in Hebrew.

CBS 65990

Tel-Aviv, Shoreline
Tel-Aviv, Shoreline