Mekaal Hasan Band | Sampooran

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official website www.mekaalhasanband.com

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World: World Fusion Jazz: Jazz-Rock Moods: Type: Lyrical
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Sampooran

by Mekaal Hasan Band

Pakistan's most critically-acclaimed group plays an exciting and unique blend of traditional Eastern Classical music with musical arrangements in the style of the classic jazz rock bands of the 70's like Weather Report and Mahavis
Genre: World: World Fusion
Release Date: 

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1. Sajan
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7:07 $0.99
2. Waris Shah
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7:26 $0.99
3. Raba
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6:55 $0.99
4. Sanwal
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6:31 $0.99
5. Sampooran
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8:13 $0.99
6. Darbari
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5:16 $0.99
7. Ya Ali
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7:22 $0.99
8. Late Moon
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8:06 $0.99
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ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
The band thought it best to reprint here one of the reviews that their debut record 'Sampooran' received from the press:
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Birds of Fire
Qasim M. Moini
Source: Dawn Images

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In a music market saturated by Channos, Preetos and Pappus, Sampooran, the Mekaal Hasan Band's (MHB) debut record, crashes through with remarkable precision and unmistakable passion. It is a deep, intense album drenched in emotional, spiritual tones, which aims to re invent the lexicon of eastern classical-western rock fusion.
Imagine what would happen if fusion met up with John McLaughlin's Mahvishnu Orchestra or Woodstock-era Santana, and then decided to jam on some mellow Vai? That is one way of describing what the MHB sounds like. In truth, they have to be heard, and heard live, if one wishes to truly grasp the sonic depth of this group's musician ship. The brainchild of guitarist Mekaal Hasan, the band and the album are the realization of his dream. Consisting of 8 sprawling, atmospheric tracks, Sampooran is an album way, way ahead of its time.

A host of local and international musicians grace the record, lending their dexterous talents to Hasan's compositions and improvisations. MHB live and MHB on record are two different entities. On record, along with Hasan, Javed Akhtar is featured on keyboard; Gumby on drums on selected tracks; Javed Bashir, vocals; Michael Mondesir, bass on selected cuts; Ahsan Papu on flute while Sameer Ahmed (not Karavan?s bass wizard) plays bass on Raba.

Sampooran has Mekaal Hasan reworking traditional kaafis and classical ragas into modern, jazz-infected fusion rockers. The band's strength, other than Hasan's remarkable playing and the overall tight sound formed by different floating versions of the band, is the vocal talents of the classical singer Javed Bashir. While the guitarist's six-string deliberations take one away into high flying prog-rock reveries, Bashir's sonorous vocals bring the wandering mind back to the wet earth of sub continental music.

It's hard to pick favourites from such a delicious assortment of grooves and melodies. Raba beckons with its lazy intontations, dressed in the outwardly course cloak of Sufi expression, while Darbari is pure, melancholic ecstasy. Attitude, in the form of revved up riffs and humility, mix in the dervish's call to arms, Ya Ali, while the record wraps up with the instrumental, Late Moon, a Latin jazz flavored gem that takes one straight to the Florida Keys.

Though the record is nearly faultless, one isn't quite sure whether the masses will respond, for hit singles don't immediately jump to mind. Sampooran is an album one has to savor slowly but rest assured, this one goes down real easy.

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Here is another review :

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Mekaal Hasan Band - Sampooran
Omeir Qazi
Source: BandBaja
http://www.bandbaja.org/issues/005/reviews/sampooran.php

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I wonder at this you and I
You are all there is
And I am all annihilated
And I exist No Longer
(Mansur Al-Hallaj)

I soon realized that writing the review for “Sampooran” would be a rather spontaneous process because of the music’s deep connection from my spiritual self. This holds true for every powerful piece of art which grips oneself from within and elevates them to an indiscernible yet emotionally blissful state. When suddenly everything becomes obvious, everything is rendered meaningless and nothing exists but that spiritual bond between the viewer and the art form. Jacques-Louis David’s “The Death of Socrates” for instance is a work of art that evokes a certain emotional reaction within me. And I am sure all of us encounter that feeling.

Likewise, classical music is a form of art that is deeply rooted in man’s emotional constituency. Good compositions in classical music are those which are capable of harnessing those raw human emotions. The artistic void created by the demise of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan has effectively been filled by the Mekaal Hasan Band as they give us an elaborate sonic experience that is both iconoclastic and simultaneously:


Esoteric.

Light waves Crashing on shore.

Waterfalls.

Spiritual.

Emotional.

Elating.

Ecstatic.

Mystical.

Gnostic.

Otherworldly.

Ethereal.

Spontaneous.

Unpredictable.

Divine.

Butterfly.

Fire.

Weightless.

Limbo.

Serene.

Powerful.

Sky.

Experience.

Cool, Starry Night.

Moonlight.

Art.


Reputed as a “fusion” album long before it came out “Sampooran” is indeed fusion in the truest sense of the term. MHB flaunts its musical ingenuity and knowledge on every track of the album by combining elements of two of the most sensual genres; jazz and Indian-classical music. For instance the merciless jazzy bassline on “Late Moon” (which sounds like its being played on an upright bass, but I am not making claims), possesses the listener with its haunting emotionality. Likewise the instrumental break on “Darbari”, when Mekaal Hasan solos uninhibitedly is another example of the soulful amalgamation of jazz and Indian classical on “Sampooran”. The drums, the basslines, chords and solos it seems like are brought in from the “jazz quarters” while the flutes, vocal melodies, etc. are Eastern. The production is very simple. The album is also impressive percussively with various instruments playing in the background that compliment the jazzy drums. This is what I gathered by listening to the album, and I have a very rudimentary understanding of the technicalities of music.

The vocals on most songs are classical mantras. This is evident of the fact that MHB’s motif in this endeavor was to create an emotional sonic experience for the listener. The lyrics on other songs are Sufi mystic poetry (e.g. Ya Ali, Waris Shah).

I think it is futile for me to sit here and describe the various components of the album or draw analogies to other artists (something that I had initially planned to mentioning) in order to further define the album. Quite frankly that takes away from the “experience” of “Sampooran”. I think this album should be approached as an art form and not as conventional Paki-pop.

Hands down, the best record to come out in Pakistan in ages.


The rose’s song rang out amidst the garden;
Leaves of fine gold, one upon another
Smiling laughter, too,
I brought into this world of colors.
Then from all this,
My blossom bursting, scattered
I gave my petals to this world
Where nothing matters
(Omar Khayyam)

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For more on the band visit www.mekaalhasanband.com or to read more on the record itself and the band's live performances click on the link below:

http://www.mekaalhasanband.com/sampooran/media.htm#press

You can also download free music and videos from our forum:

Simply go to
www.mekaalhasanband.com/forum
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