Apart from mentoring sessions, Fuzon’s tour gave their fans and audience in the US an opportunity to listen to the rock-qawwali mash up between the boys and the Fareed Ayaz Qawwal group.
“This particular LA tour was special in many ways as we conducted workshops for children from the under-served communities of LA to share our genre of music and teach them about the progressive culture of Pakistan. We performed for schoolchildren followed by a mega concert at the California Plaza attended by over 2,500 people from diverse cultural backgrounds. Even though some of them didn’t understand the language, they still danced to our tunes.”
A Qawwali mash-up
Fuzon collaborated with Farid Ayaz and Abu Muhammed Qawwal which resulted in the power of Sufi poetry and the dexterity of Fuzon’s sound being introduced to a new audience.
“Performing with the Qawwals was a memorable experience for us,” says Shallum. “It was also the first time both Fuzon and Abu Mohammed and Fareed Ayaz performed together on stage. The chants, the Sufi poetry, the beats and the atmosphere made the tour one of the best we have ever performed. The qawwals were very accommodating and overall we received an overwhelming response by a diverse audience.”
And the upside of teaching music to children? “Spending time with children is always exciting, especially when they have a strong inclination towards learning music. It was a great opportunity for us to teach them different scales and raags, which they were not aware of.
Being a cultural ambassador
“Music is all about sharing and whenever a musician shares his/her experience and knowledge, it creates a strong bond and helps both in terms of passion, vision and goals.
“On this particular occasion, we shared information on music activities in Pakistan, our music legends, on the ethnic music and pop-rock in Pakistan.”
Shallum says there is a desperate need for Pakistan to showcase the vision of young Pakistanis. “It is imperative to challenge and change certain misconceptions about Pakistan and highlight the progressive components, the creative platforms, the talent pool of skillful, hardworking Pakistanis.
As cultural ambassadors, we believe in playing a pivotal role to show the Western world a more tolerant and progressive Pakistan.”
He says overseas Pakistanis show enormous support for events such as these as they live and work in a different culture but are deeply connected with all things Pakistani. “We have been on several tours and on each and every trip some or the other Pakistani expatriate is always at hand to assist and facilitate us. We have been served home-cooked Pakistani meals after our shows many times. They open their hearts and homes to us.”
Fuzon is focusing on their upcoming fourth album and some music videos, so they have no plans to collaborate with any artist for now, says Shallum. “But if an opportunity does arrive, we will do our best to experiment with a distinct new sound.”
The boys will be leaving for another international tour of the US and the UK in the coming months to promote their new album. “Fuzon has collaborated with an Indian and American film production team and our songs and music will be featured in an upcoming Hollywood and Bollywood collaborative feature film called Mother to be released in November. We also hope to tour India by the end of this year.
“As for my solo projects, I am finalising the music production of a song in collaboration with Ali Zafar and Sanam Marvi. I’m also working on an agency to promote and project upcoming Pakistani artists in America, India and Norway, in collaboration with my partner and friend Usman,” adds Shallum.
Published in Dawn, Sunday Magazine, October 2nd, 2016