Music review: Saptak (Pakistani Pop – Mekaal Hasan Band)

The opener, Chal Bulleya fuses lyrics from Bulleh Shah and Bhagat Kabir in a pleasant and accessible package, while Bandeya and Ranjha‘s free jamming-style unravel their effervescent tunes quite remarkably. Jhok Ranjhan has a superlative rock-pop base while Sanwal, which features in an altered form after its debut in the earlier album, holds incredibly imaginative backgrounds, for such a soulful tune. Mohd Ahsan Papu’s flute serves as the highlight in the zingy, spirited Bhageshwari. With a raga as beautiful as Hamsadhwani, musicians can seldom go wrong; Huns Dhun is just delectable. The vintage sound of the band is evident in Andolan, even as Albaella (used by Ismail Darbar in Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam) has Pete Lockett contributing to a vibrant fusion base for the raga Ahir Bhairav exposition. Waris Shah (from the last album) and Mahi are the two tracks that sound mildly out of place, though, on their own, they’re mighty interesting tunes. For an artist who has been behind some of the most accomplished albums in Pakistan, Mekaal Hasan has been unusually away from limelight; till Sampooran happened, in 2004. With Saptak, the band reinforces the fact that they’re indeed one of the finest, from our neighbors.

Keywords: Mekaal Hasan, Mohammad Ahsan Papu, Javed Bashir, Amir Azhar, Pete Lockett, Farhan Albert, Javed Akhtar