Another exciting musical adventure unfolded before me this morning, and it all started with a fantastic psych track from Pakistan!!!….it’s simply fantastic! A whole new world of 60’s beat sounds are just waiting to be discovered here!
I’ve been reading about urban Pakistan in the late 60’s and the similarities it had to the late 60’s in Western Europe and the U.S: long-haired, politicised university kids making music with whatever was available to them. Bands covered Western hits and many wrote their own songs, just as artists did everywhere, but the main difference was in the recording, in Pakistan only a privileged few got to record their material and the vast majority only got to cut a single or an EP, with instrumental versions of old folk songs and Urdu film tunes were about all they were allowed to record.
By the time the 70’s arrived all laws were tightened, alcohol similar vices were banned and General Zia’s military abolished all “un-Islamic” social gatherings with a swing of the baton. A lot of the music of this time was destroyed but thankfully, a few singles remained!…
A selection of songs put to tape in that golden era have recently been uncovered and documented by Stuart Ellis, a blogger with an ear for non-Western beat music. In a 2011 compilation titled, Pakistan Folk and Pop Instrumentals 1966-1976, Ellis has gathered 22 non-film Pakistani beat songs together, introducing the listener to a world of surfy guitars, melodic organs and local percussion.
Ellis began working on this album in 2005 when he began making music CD’s and box sets of obscure world music for himself and his friends. As he became more and more interested in how rock music manifested itself in non-western cultures, his record hunting ignited friendships with like-minded people from all over the world. As a result, his project quickly blossomed into the excellent blog Radiodiffusion Internationaal, a site that for the past few years has posted exceptional, forgotten beat gems from far off the beaten track, sharing songs from Brunei, Sri Lanka, Iraq, Iran, Bangladesh, Somalia, and dozens of other countries.
Radiodiffusion Internationaal is well worth checking out!..not to mention the fact that most songs I’ve sampled so far have a download option!! wohoo!
Today’s twanging-guitar-fuelled song comes from the Pakistan Folk and Pop Instrumentals album and is performed by The Panthers, one of the few groups that recorded in a studio in 1960’s Pakistan. Beginning with a sitar stroke, organ and chanting vocals, the song is transformed when a voice exclaims, “take over, Panthers!” and in a wave of jangly guitars comes a fast-paced beat and surf-fuelled melody. Listen above.
Listen to the whole album on Youtube here.