For its Season 1 Episode 5 Finale Velo Sound Station produced two ground-breaking performances the likes of which have never been seen before in Pakistan.
For one of the stellar showcases, Velo Sound Station in its endeavour to transform the climate and sound of the Pakistani Music scene, keeping it relevant and in sync with the international arena, juxtaposed two distinct and artistically polar opposite Art forms for an exhilarating spectacle of sound, movement and theatrics: pairing the Djent Metal band Takatak with Kathhak dancing legend Nighat Chaudhry and her quartet of dancers.
Lahore-based Takatak that was formed in 2009 and made their debut with the single, ‘Breakdown in 2010 classify their sound as Djent which derives its stylistic origins from Progressive Metal and is its sub-genre. With the release of “Walls They Collapse” in 2012 and another single, “Depraved,” making its way to the playlists of metal heads in the same year, the singles helped the band establish a local fan- base.
The release of ‘Phantom’ with which they headlined the Lahore Music Meet in 2018 and that they perform on the Velo Sound Station stage has allowed their international popularity to soar.
Takatak’s current line-up comprises of, Zain and Luke Azariah on guitars; Yusuf and Daud Ramay on drums, Isa Najam on bass and vocalists
Altamash Server and Ali Suhail.
The artistic collaboration between Takatak and Nighat Chaudhry was envisioned by Velo Sound Station’s Executive Producer Bilal Maqsood with Production for ‘Phanthom’ by Zain & Luke Azariah and
Composition and Lyrics ‘ by Takatak whose name is derived from the rhythm of chopping in the spicy Pakistani dish.
Says Bilal Maqsood about incorporating Nighat Chaudhry’s Kathhak dance performance with Takatak:
“This was an experimental pairing. But it was very important to resurrect and bring back into the cultural milieu Kathhak dance which over the years had been fading and losing relevance. We wanted to make it relevant and cool again.”
“It was a really smart idea although a strange juxtaposition merging delicate dance with loud, abrasive music. When we were approached by Bilal Maqsood with the idea we knew it would be special. Nighat Chaudhry is a legend and no more questions needed to be asked .”
The musical performance itself has the seven band members thrashing out their distinctive Djent sound with its high-gain, distorted, palm-muted, low-pitch guitar and aggressive solos including an impressive “growl” by Ali Suhail dovetailed with a fantasy-like melody and a literary
poeticism of all-English lyrics including:
” It’s that time again
We’re alive again
Just enough to feel this pain
Won’t you see, my friend
Us into the end
See these faces changing into…
You … You fend for your will to survive
Tend to your dissonance
I’ll humour your self righteous pantomime…”
“Watch as the walls come crashing down
I don’t have the answers
We don’t have to talk about it
We can end the song tonight. “
‘The sound of’ Phantom’ is reminiscent of and shares
commonalities with Progressive Metal bands The Contortionist, Periphery and Haken but has it’s own unique and authentic stamp.
The interplay of the music performance with the invigorating Kathhak moves by Pride of Performance 2018 recipient Nighat Chaudhry – a trained professional Sufi & Mystique Kathhak classical dancer for over three decades – and her four dancers including Roman Bint-e-Naeem; Kanza Bano, Nerda Waqar and Safirah is truly electrifying with brisk and sharp staccato dance moves keeping pace with the heavy abrasiveness of the music.
Says Bilal Maqsood about the choreography :
“The choreography was by Nighat Chaudhry . I would merely “block” or work out the finer details of the performance of when the dancers enter, leave or stop or where Nighat and her dancers needed to go crazy.”
Dressed in black, high- necked traditional lace peshwaaz embellished with leather applique for an edgy Gothic vibe end-noted with red highlighted the dervish-like twirling designed by Ebtisam Ahmed (EB) Fashion Director/Head of Wardrobe for Velo Sound Station. The dancers’ looks were end- noted with top-knotted hair; winged eyeliner and dark lipstick for a dramatic Kathhak meets Metal look.
Says Nighat about the unique artistic alliance:
“There was a very strong thought process in piecing together such diverse Art forms as Kathhak and Metal. But Bilal’s mentoring made me undertake and enjoy the collaboration. It was a new way of presenting diverse music and dance forms and it ended up being very successful. The live audience helped inject energy into the whole process.”
The first-of- its kind artistic collaboration executed by the dynamic vision of Velo Sound Station aired on the Finale Episode Five of Velo Sound Station on Friday, December 18th 2020.
Get captivated and transported to a different artistic realm!
This article is the collaboration effort of several members of Team FUCHSIA.