Getting to know the forces behind the illustrious Lahore Music Meet, Natasha Noorani and Zahra Paracha
The fifth edition of Lahore Music Meet is just around the corner and what started as an undergraduate project turned out to be a platform for musicians/artists to come together and listen to/make some amazing music. Libas Now, in conversation with LMM Founders Natasha Noorani and Zahra Paracha talk about the platform, things to expect from this year’s edition and so much more.
EVOLUTION OF LMM:
The platform started as a nice, wholesome space to explore the unknown world of musicians within Pakistan, from bringing small ideas together in the same space, the founders eventually began thinking about it around a specific theme and so the LMM turned into something that everyone looks forward to. “The panels, sessions and musicians are picked according to the music trajectory that both of us take personally,” said Zahra, adding that the evolution of the platform has a lot to do with them individually as artists.
Similarly, Natasha said that the fact that the team is constantly scouting new people on the circuit, this space allows artists to perform different sets that they wouldn’t usually play, so it has set into the ethos of how LMM curates and selects bands who get to perform. Another benefit that these talented artists have got through this platform is that “getting people together under one roof accidentally has helped in collaborations and a lot of them have made music together,” said Zahra.
While recalling their favourite memories of the festival of the years, Natasha talked about the risks they take while curating sessions – like a metal band opening for qawwals. In 2016, Red Blood Cat – a relatively obscure band opened for Mai Dhai.
“After performing their second last song, Red Blood Cat got a standing ovation and that moment will forever be etched in my mind,” she said, adding that this was the kind of validation the team needed to know that what they are doing is worth all the effort. Likewise, Zahra recalled the moment when Omran Shafique appreciated the efforts put by the girls in creating the platform. “When he said that, I just died, we felt like 13-year-olds during` that moment.”
UNDERGROUND MUSIC SCENE:
Moreover, with this platform, the objective is to promote musicians from every stage; we asked Natasha and Zahra what they thought about the evolution of the underground music scene in Pakistan. The two unanimously agreed that ever since there has been accessibility to music education, there has been a lot of diversity. Not only that, the time YouTube got “unbanned” in Pakistan, Pakistani talent found a way to put their music on social media in hopes of being discovered and some have even started their own productions. However, the music scene in Pakistan still has a long way to go, unlike international artists who have it all curated carefully.
According to Zahra, “International musicians have every aspect of the song figured out, from the writing to the performance of the song – an entire team is involved in the process. Over here people still cannot get over the Halal vs Haram debate. Musicians/Artists have to actively put themselves out there to the commercial limelight.” Whereas Natasha said that more of this has to do with people not having the right connections to put their work through.
Not only that, but funding is also an issue as people do not know how to invest in music yet, as there has not been profit out of music like there has been when compared to the TV industry. “It can get very difficult to navigate through the industry without the right connections. The problem is just that people don’t have that kind of army and team and ecosystem behind it to promote the music,” said Natasha.
As the show is near, the team hopes to make it through this year by keeping it young, hip and alive and we certainly cannot wait!!
FIVE THINGS TO LOOK FORWARD TO:
- The Performances! Both indoor and outdoor stages have been meticulously curated and the line-up includes everything from rap to folk, from metal to pop!
- The merchandise! Limited edition merch is available at LMM5 (with the small stash of previous years’ merch!) so bring your wallets!
- The Adabi Baithak will be transformed into a Pakistani music store + listening room courtesy of Daftarkhwan!
- The Numaish Area will showcase artists and artisans from around Pakistan!
- Select meet and greets with artists happening at secret hours! (Check the LMM insta to be the first to know!)