By Shershah Ahmed: Hailing from Jamshoro, Sindh, ‘The Sketches’ certainly live up to their proclamation of being the pioneers of Sufi Folk Rock. Helmed by virtuoso musician Saif Samejo, the band blend various thematic and musical elements into their creations and stay true to their assertion of having their motherland being a major inspiration for their music. Their love for their language and culture bleeds through their music and their mission to sensitize the world and youth in particular about the grace of Sindhi culture is highly laudable. Starting with their first album ‘Dastkari’ (one’s own creation) back in 2010, The Sketches have gone on to win laurels by various high level magazines and newspapers and have most importantly been a part of Coke Studio in 2011. Their latest album, entitled Tu, is aimed at one goal, to keep Sufi music alive. And it does that and more.
Swimming against the current of the popular trend these days of commercial music, The Sketches have always stayed true to their mantra of ‘being original’ and keeping Sufi music alive. Their latest release is testament to that and while there are a number of brilliant tracks on the album, the standout tracks will have to be given a shout out. Starting off with ‘Sahib Mera’, it is a captivating symphony of love and unshakable faith. A combination of poetry from Bhagat Kabir and Ghulam Farid, the song preaches love for the Lord and that harmony with nature is above all. Simple message aside, the song transcends simplicity with multiple sounds all unique in their own regard such as the Shankh and the Mirdang. The entire track melds together to form a melody that is a breath of fresh air.
Next up is the remarkable Sufi fusion track, ‘Nind Nashe Vich’, based on a kalaam by Meeral Fakir. With a sparse offering of bass, acoustic guitar and light percussion instruments, the band takes it down a notch and focus on delivering pure emotion. The lead vocals by Saif Samejo are definitely in the spotlight in this one, radiating certitude and strength, transporting the listener. Staying true the Sufi soul, but not hindering their performance, the band melds a flawless performance and an innovative song structure to bewitch the senses of the listener.
The third shining track from ‘Tu’ is ‘Main Sufi Hoon’. The song, a collection of poetic verses penned by legends Bulleh Shah and Sachal Sarmast, is an attempt to promote peace in Pakistan amidst all the dark times in recent history. Boasting the musical muscle of two of the finest musicians Pakistan has ever produced, Gumby on the drums and Faraz Anwar on the guitar, the song is in one word; enthralling. Basically written as a song about an individual and his Lord, the lines ‘what cotton is to clothe, a man is to his lord’ hammer home the point. Starting off with the soft strumming of Faraz Anwar’s guitar, and progressing to Saif’s powerhouse vocals the song strikes a chord with the listener and lets the imagination run wild. Gumby’s signature drumming comes to play more so in the latter half of the song where he reminds everyone why he’s considered one of Pakistan’s best. A must hear from the album.
In summation The Sketches, with ‘Tu’, have shown the natural evolution of their sound and its testament to the fact that they keep getting better. With songs evoking emotion and deep thought as well as a love for Sindhi culture, it is another feather in the cap of this remarkable musical act. However it is only the beginning .With plans to tour internationally and to release new content in the future coupled with Saif Samejo’s brainchild ‘Lahooti Live Sessions’ The Sketches are certainly showing no signs of slowing down. In the meantime, keep up to date with their latest releases and news on Taazi.com!