By Shershah Ahmed: Zebunnisa Humayun Bangash and Haniya Aslam, officially known as Zeb and Haniya are a female duo, who transitioned from two college kids experimenting with music as a hobby to artists who have had multiple stints on Coke Studio, a full length studio album entitled ‘Chup, and numerous hits within Bollywood and Lollywood. The most proficient being the track ‘Kya Hoga’ from the 2015 Pakistani biographical drama film ‘Manto‘ and ‘Maula Maula’ from the Pakistani film ‘Bin Roye’ from the same year. The duo is also looking forward to cultivating a career in India, stating that India has a huge classical music tradition, which is definitely their passion. With a diverse range of musical expression in genres ranging from pop rock to sufi rock to blues, and multiple nominations in prestigious awards shows such as Lux Style Awards and Pakistan Media Awards, Zeb and Haniya are well renown as being one of the leading all-female musical acts in Pakistan.
Their latest song Dadra, written by Zehra Nigah is a song that springs from extreme tragedy, in light of the Lahore blast that claimed many lives. In their own words, “It’s a song conceived as a lullaby to the nation and a video as an exploration of Lahore’s past, present and future. This is for both Lahore and Pakistan, for resilience amidst the darkest of times”. The song starts off with a very somber and haunting tone, which is fitting considering the subject matter. But the lyrics, with the literal translation being ‘the sun will rise and tomorrow there will be light’ inject hope into the listener. Along with a lilting guitar melody that is at times solemn and at times uplifting, the lyrics repeat and gain confidence, and are a perfect metaphor for the resilience of Pakistani people who have faced so much tragedy, yet their hope never dies.
Zeb’s vocals which are transcendent, are at the same time sad, and hopeful, which bring forth a bag of mixed emotions in the listener and Haniya’s guitar playing with multiple inspirations drawn from more traditional Sufi playing to Blues, compliments it perfectly. At the midway mark, a beautiful acoustic guitar solo takes center stage. A solo that would make Mark Knopfler from Dire Straits and Jimmy Page, the legendary Led Zeppelin guitarist proud. In conclusion, the lyrics which are simple and straightforward are at the same time extremely powerful in their message which is that the night is darkest just before the dawn, and that there is definitely light at the end of the tunnel. Pakistani resilience is stuff of legend and the listener leaves with a rekindled sense of hope and optimism about life and that despite everything, there are still beautiful things happening in the country. Nothing is more testament to that than the reactions from the fans of the duo, who label the song as a beautiful and haunting tribute to the people of Lahore.
What’s next for the dynamic duo? Stay tuned to Taazi.com to find out!