Pakistani Acoustics

Funoon London launches its very own Salon Sessions…

Posted: 17.10.16

Two good friends, Nadia Rahman Khan and Seema Khan are the creative minds behind Funoon London, a refreshing guide featuring carefully selected events and happenings in the capital. Working in human rights and international development by day, this artsy duo celebrate the best of South Asian culture through their website Funoon, which aptly translates as ‘The Arts’.

Taking their passion for the arts further, the innovative pair inaugurated their very first Salon Session over the weekend at Goodenough College in London, where the roots of Funoon were first embedded in 2013, whilst Nadia was studying Filmmaking. Amidst an ambient lounge setting, complete with embroidered cushions, cosy sofas, drinks at the ready, delectable street food snacks and comforting masala chai provided by supperclub chef Asma Khan of Darjeeling Express, Funoon’s debut Salon Session entertained London. Some of Pakistan’s finest musical talent – the charismatic Ali Hamza of the iconic band Noori, heartthrob Bilal Khan, silken-voiced Natasha Khan and pitch-perfect Noorzadeh Raja, performed live to a vast and diverse audience of music-lovers, journalists, bloggers, musicians and students. 

Witnessing the distinct, well-versed and flawless vocals of Ali Hamza, alongside rising star Bilal Khan, supporting emerging talents Natasha Khan and Noorzadeh Raja, was not only heart warming, but also electric. With Ali Hamza and Bilal Khan strumming tingling chords on their guitars, accompanied by the rhythmic beats of the tabla, a delightful and unique fusion of East meets West was conjured – a perfect reflection of Funoon’s ethos. Co-founder of Funoon, Nadia Rahman shares her thoughts and audience feedback from the evening, ‘it was incredible to see the generosity with which Ali Hamza performed and supported the other newer musicians on stage. He engaged the audience with stories, details about his life and relationship with his wife Nafisa, and jammed with the other musicians in a way that people haven’t seen him do before. We’ve received tremendous feedback from the diverse audience present about how much they warmed to him as both - a person and a hugely talented musician, and how charming they found him’. 

Soul-stirring lyrics, vocals and acoustics enchanted the night, from Sufi sounds, Punjabi folk and Bollywood faves, to an inspiring blend of Eastern and Western harmonies. Adding to the intimacy and thoughtfulness of the night, translations and backgrounds of selected songs were shared on Twitter.
Particularly endearing was the memorable moment when Ali Hamza shared the stage with his wife Nafisa to sing a new romantic duet, whilst the collective rendition of Noori’s much loved classic, Manwa Re, where all the artists melodiously harmonised together, will resonate with the audience for some time. Artists were appreciated with lauding, hearty applause from a singing-along, dancing crowd of music fans. 

For anyone who is a fan of Coke Studio’s acoustic sessions and yearned for them to bring it to the UK - Funoon’s Salon Sessions are a feast for craving culture vultures. We look forward to many more such events, providing an irresistible, much needed gathering and audience interaction with South Asian talent, encompassing all elements of the arts, including poetry, music, art and culture. Seema Khan, co-founder of Funoon expands on the aims of future Salon Sessions, ‘We like to call it ‘making meaning’ – helping audiences to engage with the histories and contexts behind the art, with the lives and perspectives of the artists themselves, and with what their work means to us in our everyday lives’. 

Information about Funoon’s Salon events will be available on the website
Images: Stefania Eugenia Barichello @aphotoadayproject, Implausible Blog @implausibleblog, Vaishali Shah

Fariha Sabir

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