PESHAWAR: Pashto singer Karan Khan is working on a self-sponsored project under which profiles of around 500 artists and literati of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Fata will be documented.
“I have started work on a comprehensive project under which I will document complete profiles showcasing bio-data and contributions of the prominent artists and literati of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Fata both in audio and video forms. It will benefit young researchers and even common folk,” Karan Khan told this scribe.
He spoke at length regarding his music career, current and future plans. When asked why he always preferred numbers depicting deep sense of Pakhtun cultural loss and identity crisis, he said that he could not think of a romantic song over the death of his people.
“I don’t want to disappoint my people either but I select poetic pieces that reflect real and on ground situation of Pakhtuns in the region, which has been the battlefield for the last more than three decades. Pakhtuns are in jeopardy, passing through crucial times,” said Karan Khan.
He said that normally singers didn’t touch such numbers because it carried a slight political tinge and they feared it might risk their careers. He said that it was their own choice but artists and literati should also fulfil their responsibilities.
“My fans cannot expect from me romantic songs when my people are suffering, when their homes are burning and when I find orphans, widows and destitute around me. I have to sing out their pains, endless sufferings and war-stricken society. We need to give them hope, show them light and guide them to restrain peace and tolerance,” said the young singer.
Karan Khan says the project will benefit young researchers
Regarding new experiments in Pashto music, he said that artists and musicians should introduce new dimensions according to the new situation but should not run the risk of being a naive instead of being an innovative. He said that art of singing like poetry must convey a message to the people.
“My recent innovation is my own poem ‘Bachakhani Pakaar Da’ (non-violence of Bacha Khan needs to be invoked). I garnered an overwhelming response from a wide range of audience,” said Karan Khan.
On play back singing, he remarked that he had received many offers but declined because of substandard stuff. He said that film-makers could not afford such educative contents.
“Their demand is below the belt. I pick up poetic pieces that pierce through heart and appeal to mind. My own five-member orchestra is my identity and team behind my art. My ideal is Haroon Bacha while young poet Israr Atal and many other poets also helped me in my career,” said the singer.
A resident of Swat, Karan Khan has 20 audio and video albums to his credit. He launched his music career in 2009 following a tough resistance from his family.
He has recently completed his M Phil thesis and has planned to do doctorate on ‘Modern literary genres in Pashto’ from Pashto Academy, University of Peshawar.
Originally published in Dawn, July 12th, 2016