The music of Pakistan is probably one of the most diverse selection of music in the whole world within one country; being at the crossroads of Central Asia, Iran, the Middle East and India. Pakistan has developed a multitude of different types of music and sounds. Major influences of Pakistani music are Arabic, English, Indian, Persian and Portuguese. Pakistani genres like sufi rock and bhangra have become popular throughout the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada and around the world. With the multiple influences, Pakistani music has emerged as a "fusion" of many other types of sounds together to form a distinctly Pakistani sound. Pakistani musicians now sell records not only in Pakistan but in many countries around the world. Although there are plenty of genres of Pakistani music, it can be divided under two main headings. Traditional and East meets West.
Over time there has been a decrease in popularity of classical music is due to increased globilization; the young generation in Pakistan are more influenced by the western generes such as pop, rock and hip hop, which are currently flourishing in Pakistan. However, it can be said that if Pakistani music were to be represented by a pyramid, classical music would be the base holding it up. Almost all musicians young or old are taught under classical music first, before they can go ahead and move into other types of music.
Musical instruments which are used in classical music are:
Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and his Qawwali group wearing Sherwani and Karakuli hat performing on PTVOne of the most dynamic and popular types of Pakistani music is qawwali, which has been internationally popularized by stars like the Sabri Brothers, Aziz Mian and Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. Qawwali, is a form of Sufi music and exists in multiple forms. It is widespread throughout Pakistan and Northern India.Qawwali refers to both the performance and the genre of music. Qawwals typically consist of a lead vocalist, two back-up vocalists and any number of percussionists. Qawwalis are traditionally led by a sheikh and are meant to help the audience realize the mystical ideals of Sufism and Islam. Amir Khusrau is said to have invented qawwali in the 13th century; the legendary poet and composer is also said to have invented the tabla and sitar. The idea of music (sama) inspiring an understanding and love for the divine and communication with spiritual guides is known from at least the 9th century. Orthodox Muslims sometimes criticize qawwali for its erotic imagery and sometimes frank sensuality.
Main article: Pakistani folk music
Folk music has been influential on classical music, which is viewed as a higher art form. In Pakistan, each province has its own variation of popular folk music. The arrival of western sounds, also weakened folk music's popularity as it did classical music. Well known Pakistani folk artists include:
Atta Ullah Khan Essa Khailvi
Pakistani pop singers such as Abrar ul Haq, Rahim Shah and Jawad Ahmed have been known to mix their performances with traditional folk music. The most popular artist to be known for mixing his music with folk and classicial types was Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, a world-renowned Pakistani qawwali and folk artist.
Music from the Punjab province includes many different varieties. The traditional music utilizes instruments like the dhol, flute, dholak, and tumbi. The most commonly recognized form of Punjabi music, bhangra, is based on drum rhythms of the dhol. Its modern popularity has led to the use of new instruments and electronic sound sampling. Bhangra is a Punjabi folk dance that has become popular all over Pakistan. Bhangra and Panjabi folk songs have been an integral part of the fertile provinces cultural history and many themes are related to harvest and cultivation. Others still draw on the poetic history of the province which transcend ethnic and religious boundaries.
Music from Sindh province is sung in Sindhi, and is generally performed in either the "Baits" or "Waee" styles. The Baits style is vocal music in Sanhoon (low voice) or Graham (high voice). Waee instrumental music is performed in a variety of ways using a string instrument. Waee, also known as Kafi, is found in the surrounding areas of Balochistan, Punjab, and Rajasthan. Common instruments used in Sindhi regional music include the Yaktaro, Narr, and Naghara.
Siraiki is spoken by 13.9 million people in southern Punjab and northern Sindh. It has its own culture and life style and most speakers of [Siraiki] love to listen to the Music in their native Language as would the speakers of any other language. Atta Ullah Essa Khelvi is one of the most famous name in promoting [Siraiki] Songs and Music. Essa Khelvi belongs to Essa Khail, a part of district [Mianwail] and originated his music from the city of Mianwali. Recent media developments have now brought more talent into the field of entertainment specially the channel The KOOK TV broadcasted locally has been a major contributor of Siraiki language into National Media. The seraiki language is often considered the sweetest of all Pakistani languages.
Farsi is spoken mainly in the North West of Pakistan but there are also considerable Farsi speaking inhabitants in Pakistan's major urban centres of Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad. During and after the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan and subsequent arrival of millions of Afghan refugees to Pakistan, much of the Afghan (Dari/Persian) music industry was kept alive by performances and recordings made in Pakistan. After more than 20 years, Persian folk music has made considerable and often subtle contributions the overall Pakistani music industry. Persian and Afghan singers regularly perform throughout Pakistan particularly at weddings and other formal functions.
The predominant language found in Pakistan's Northern Areas has an extensive oral history which dates back several thousand years. With the increase in tourism to Pakistan's Northern Areas and increased domestic as well as international awareness of the local folk music, the Shinha folk traditions have managed to stay alive and vibrant.
A dardic language with considerable persian influence is found in Pakistan's Chitral region in the North West of the country. Khowar folk music had considerable patronage particularly during the rule of the Mehtars in the last century. Folk music in this region has remained relatively pure and unscathed by modern influences due to the relative isolation of this district. The arrival of many refugees from the adjacent Nuristan province of Afghanistan and the subsequent increase in commercial activity in Chitrali bazaars allowed this local form of music to flourish in the past few decades.
Pakistan's film industry known as "Lollywood" is based in Lahore. One of the most famous singers of the Pakistan film industry is Madame Noor Jehan (Malika-e-Tarranum). Noor Jehan had a brief and successful acting career before devoting herself completely to music. She sang extensively for Pakistani films and also sang Ghazals, folk songs and patriotic songs (milli naghmay) for Pakistan television.
Vital Signs made a significant contribution to Pakistani Pop worldwide
Hadiqa is an popular singer in South AsiaArtists such as Nazia Hasan, Zoheb Hasan, Muhammad Ali Shehki, Alamgir and the Benjamin Sisters were pioneers of Pakistani pop music in the 1980’s, but the real breakthrough for the music industry came with the hit song 'Dil Dil Pakistan' by Vital Signs (band) which gave birth to the current music scene in Pakistan. Dil Dil Pakistan was voted the 3rd most popular song in the world by a BBC poll. Some very popular Pakistani music acts include:
Adnan Sami Khan
Main articles: Pakistani black metal, Pakistani_rock, and Sufi rock
Rock music in Pakistan has become very popular not only in Pakistan but across South Asia. All these groups have millions of fans across the world including in other parts of South Asia. A landmark event occurred in 2003 when the Pakistani group Strings's song, Najane Kyun became a featured single on the Urdu Soundtrack for Spider-Man 2. Rock music has developed so much in Pakistan, that it already has two sub-genere's. The Pakistani band Junoon popularised a genre of music called Sufi rock (influenced from legend Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan) that blended traditional Pakistani folk and Sufi music with western rock. Pakistani black metal has just recently begun, with many underground bands in cities such as Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad and even Peshawar. Popular Pakistani Rock Bands are:
Mekaal Hasan Band