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Zebunnisa Bangash and Haniya Aslam: a female duo who have evolved from two college kids experimenting with music as a hobby to artists who have created one of the most anticipated albums of 2008.
Zeb and Haniya have matured from the underground to the national scene in Pakistan, where their ascent continues today. Their songs bring a spectrum of style, instrumentation and influence. Some tracks ring with the cheeriness of pop while others capture the evocative richness of Pashto and Darri (Farsi) folk traditions. Their sound is not confined to one genre, and has been described as Alternative, Art Folk, Ethnic Blues and World Music. Their influences are many, including pioneering pop and folk from Pakistan, 60s and 70s folk guitar-based music from the US and UK, classical South Asian music, classic Jazz, delta Blues. The artists skim across decades, genres and borders to produce a truly innovative sound. Their songs seamlessly mix blues grooves and jazzy rhythms into complex melodies grounded in local traditions. Finally, we have a sound that touches the brilliant kaleidoscope of language, history and culture that is Pakistan.
Read album reviews for Chup:
City FM89 (Pakistan) -
After arriving on the scene 4 years ago with their hit single “Chup”, the soft sultry vocals of female duo Zeb and Haniya are finally out with a full length album, quite possibly one of the most anticipated releases of the year. One can safely say its been worth the wait. The album is a gorgeous collection of songs that will make you smile, make you brood, will soothe your senses and make you marvel at the exquisite quality of the music you are hearing. Boasting an all-star cast including Mekaal Hassan as producer, Gumby on drums, Shallum on guitar and guest appearances from Co-Ven, the album “Chup” is a sure hit. The re-worked version of the lead single “Chup” doesn’t have the playful urgency of the original, but replaces that with smooth groove you can sink your teeth into. The gorgeous acoustic guitar picking gives way to a tasty trumpet that really takes the song to a new level.
Dawn Images, Pakistan -
The News, Instep, Pakistan -
Zeb & Haniya's 'Chup' breaks new ground for Pakistani music. Zeb and Haniya have said "chup" (quiet) to all those who thought contemporary Pakistani music has become a men's domain. Their debut album 'Chup' is breaking new ground for Pakistani music as the first album by a female duo to be released in recent history.
The Herald, Pakistan -
It struck a high note with us because: The duo not only created a fresh, distinct sound but also pulled it off with great proficiency. The infusion of jazz with soft rock and Eastern elements has never before been heard in mainstream Pakistani music. The album does more than just live up to the hype built up before the launch. With excellent compositions, arrangements and good vocals, Chup is something to shout about.
Most hummable tracks:
“Chal Diye” and “Aitebar”
The Friday Times, Pakistan -
This album takes you on a journey of emotions, and lucky you, you will be traveling first class. Crisp, clean and well organised is happening here at full effect. Recorded at Lahore’s Digital Fidelity Studio, the team serving you consists of Pakistan’s finest popular musicians, along with a surprise flavoring from Norway. Zeb & Haniya give it to you good; from the lyrics to Haniya’s warm and Zeb’s beautifully sensual voice, it all fits very well. Put on the album and you will get a chance to dance, to rock, feel a mystery unfolding, blues your mood, and even sober up. There is also a unique Pushto and Darri(Afgani Farsi) experience to be had. The duo’s songwriting is mature, and the session musicians have played excellently and solid, as if they had been playing together as a band for many years. The studio’s production and sound mix on the album is groundbreaking for this part of the third world. But apart from the technical triumph, the real victory is snapped up by the music’s feel, something so missing in most of the new music coming from the West and locally. Zeb & Haniya’s early work, a song called Chup, brought them fast recognition and now the confidence to play a hand at our music industry. Chup has since been re-done; this hugely catchy song, now with clever production, will probably be the biggest hit from this album. Even though each of Zeb & Haniya’s songs are skillfully structured, a ‘live jam’ feel is ever present due to the acoustic guitars and drums, trumpet and percussion used. One song that distinctly stands out, Ahaan, is the most original sounding track on the album, with a dark magical rhythm and an odd fascinating vocal melody gelling brilliantly together. This musical route is one Zeb & Haniya could use as a defining style. The entire album has a smooth and comfortable, mellow mood, never making it hard on the listener. One emotion you will miss on your journey through this album is aggression. For what it is, the Zeb & Haniya album is incomparable to our other local releases. This album is definitely the most accomplished mainstream production work out of Pakistan as yet. It has raised high the standards of song-writing and live recording in Pakistan. We have been waiting for an album like this for too long.
Read articles featuring Zeb & Haniya in the international press:
Newsweek International - http://www.newsweek.com/id/91620
BBC World Service - http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/7786423.stm
The Hindu, India - http://www.thehindu.com/2008/06/24/stories/2008062454680900.htm