After 10 years, the Pakistani Rock Band ‘Noori’ has finally released their much awaited third album, Begum Gul Bakaoli Sarfarosh #BGBS.
From the 9th to 13th October 2015, Noori moved between Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad to distribute the first batch of #BGBS CDs to their loyal fans. In the words of band leader Ali Noor, ‘they are no longer our fans, they are our friends’. This statement stands testament to how the band has been campaigning around this album.
Noori has been building hype for #BGBS since May ’15. In June they released a music video for the song Aik Tha Badshah. This also marked the official announcement for the release of the album.
Ever since, they have been busy engaging their ‘friends’ in different ways. The most interesting has been a ‘chant recording session’ where around a 100 Noori fans came and sang chants that would become part of the songs in the album. The band has also promoted a first of its kind, exclusive album preview tour across the big-3-cities (KLI) a fortnight in advance of the release.
Instead of creating mega happenings, the band has opted for the more personalized and exclusive approach for promoting #BGBS. “This time we are interested in promoting the message of this album” notes song-writer Ali Hamza, “and given the nature of the message, there is no other way but to do this organically. 12 years ago we wanted to change the world, today we realize we have to do it one person at a time. Up-close-and-personal is our new tagline.”
Illuminating further on the message of this concept album, Ali Hamza explains that “it is derived from the title itself. Gul Bakaoli is that flower which cures blindness and Sarfarosh represents passion of pursuit. So this album is about passionate people who want to cure blindness – be it their own or that of another.” Ali Noor adds: “There is a Gul Bakaoli Sarfarosh within everyone and we want to fire her up in as many people as we possibly can. We aspire to create a movement of young people who are serious about change. Our Motto is “You have to DIY (do-it-yourself) to BIY (believe-in-yourself)”
Apart from talking about #BGBS, Noori is also using this release as an opportunity to give a wakeup call to the sleeping music scene of Pakistan. #BGBS is the first major original Pakistani album to come out after a long period of silence in Pakistani music. The band contends that good original music is what keeps the music scene running and should be the main focus of all artists who want this scene to flourish.
#WakingUpOurMusic is the frequent hashtag we get to see along with #BGBS updates on Noori’s social media.
The final in a trilogy of albums #BGBS contains some of the unreleased/leaked classics of the band such as Mujhay Roko and 1947. It also includes the previously released Coke Studio single, Kedaar. As per album producer Ali Noor, the songs in the album have been produced so as to create an ‘experience’ for the listener. The chants recorded with Noori fans have been used to create a live concert feel throughout the album. These along with sound bites from Radio and Television archives have been added to make this an ‘experiential album’.
Apart from Ali Noor and Ali Hamza on Vocals, Guitars and Bass, Kami Paul has tracked the Drums on #BGBS. Kami has been playing with the band for the last 2 years now. “Kami’s groovy style of playing has allowed us to explore a new style of music” notes Ali Hamza “unlike the previous albums, this one is more bouncy and more danceable.”
Hassan Omer has co-produced this album with Ali Noor. “He surely belongs to another generation of musicians” Ali Noor comments on Hassan. “Until now we had been struggling with finding the right collaborator – someone who could understand our ideas and turn them to reality. In Hassan we have found that collaborator” he adds.
The Album has been mixed and mastered by close friend of the band and super genius, Shiraz Uppal.
Also of note is the unique CD cover design of #BGBS. Designed by uber-talented Hashim Ali, the CD cover is a hard-bound booklet containing 46 pages of artistic musings depicting the different themes revolving around the content of the album. The second page of the cover states: “This Album is dedicated to the Potential of the People of Pakistan.” There onwards, Hashim Ali has tastefully designed a booklet that will take the listener through the different themes running in the album, the ideas behind each of the songs and information about all those who participated in the production process. The band believes this is their best CD cover design so far and expect it to be a treat for their audiences.
With #BGBS Noori wants to create a reference for other Pakistani artists who aspire to release original music. Ali Hamza explains: “We don’t want to be affected by the fact that a corporate sponsor is not backing our content. We are motivated to find ingenuous ways of achieving similar results without big sponsors, and in doing so we are discovering a whole new world that is waiting to be untapped. We want to share all this learning with the music community.”
With support of local start-ups like Patari (a Pakistani music Portal), Shopistan (e-commerce solutions), Dexpel (merchandising) and Advocates (activation company) the Noori team has worked really hard to bring #BGBS to the public.
noori collaborated with The Digital Factory as their Digital PR Partners for the #BGBS album launch.
Ali Noor leaves us with this information: “post-Moharram, get ready for another surprise!”
For all upcoming events & updates, follow noori on the following links:
Listen to noori’s 3rd album “Begum Gul Bakaoli Sarfarosh” #BGBS online:
I missed the album signing session but I shared my past memories on twitter. Check my embedded tweets below:
I will write a complete blog on NoorifreaX sometime later.