Imam Hamdani’s ‘Solitude’ is a reservoir of feelings

Imam Hamdani's 'Solitude' is a reservoir of emotions


Guitarist, composer and brains behind the eclectic international music ensemble Imam Collective, Imam Hamdani has come a great distance from performing soft-pop music at underground venues in Karachi to meddling with Indian Classical Music underneath the tutelage of maestros like Ustad Alam Khan on the Ali Akbar School of Music in California.

The musician, who had moved to Boston to check composition and manufacturing at Berklee earlier than discovering his calling in sounds that hit nearer to house, got here out with an EP in August in collaboration with sarod participant Manik Khan, son of legendary sarod whiz, Ustad Ali Akbar Khan.

Exploring West African and Indian Classical Music, their ensemble, titled Solitude, is nothing wanting breathtaking, with its explorative genius combining lush guitars and sarod. Imam and Manik have churned out three songs, every able to entertaining varied feelings and distinctive of their mastery over their respective devices. However most significantly, Solitude is a testomony to Imam’s evolution as a musician and extra in order a artistic who’s evidently not keen to cool down.

Alone and liberated

“The factor about Imam Collective is that it doesn’t tie me to a selected set of musicians. No matter musical section I’m in, in my life, I can incorporate that into Imam Collective,” the artist shared with The Specific Tribune. Very like Solitude, Imam’s journey evokes a way of loneliness, longing, and liberation, all of which permit one to detach themselves from the chains that bind artwork to genres and locations.

“I used to be born in Lahore however my musical journey started in Karachi, enjoying periods for Sara Haider and Zoe Viccaji. Rising up, I all the time appeared as much as western artists, so as soon as I moved to the US, I obtained into the blues scene. I felt, what you possibly can name, an identification disaster. As a result of I quickly realised that I’ve been enjoying all this music but it surely’s by no means 100% gratifying. I felt there was one thing lacking from my very own improvement as a musician,” Imam mirrored.

It wasn’t till Imam visited New York and witnessed the Brooklyn Raga Large (BRM) – a prolific artist collective devoted to creating cross-cultural understanding by the lens of Indian Classical Music – that he understood what he actually needed to do. “Ustads in Pakistan are so inaccessible. However these folks had been simply up there, a sitar participant, a tabla participant, you title it, they usually had been all having the time of their life.”

Upon assembly Ustad Alam Khan, son of Ustad Ali Akbar Khan from the Maihar gharana of India, Imam moved to California. “Gharanas have this custom of passing down music, versus extending it to the world. However Ustad Ali Akbar Khan had opened this college in San Francisco to bestow it to anybody keen to be taught. And it was solely once I began finding out underneath Ustad Alam that I met his youthful brother, Manik. Him and I actually hit it off.”

Imam labored on Solitude with Manik in the course of the lockdown, and the EP led to a metamorphosis in himself. “This was again in July 2019 when every little thing went into lockdown. If I used to be in Pakistan, I might nonetheless been surrounded by household. However I don’t suppose I’ve ever been as alone as I turned right here. After the panic died down, I realised how empowering this seclusion could be. As a result of we couldn’t get musicians to return collectively underneath one roof, I ended up studying this type of enjoying that I’ve included in Solitude – enjoying every little thing on one instrument. Derek Gripper and Ali Farka Touré turned my influences,” Imam acknowledged.

About how nicely his newest outing would do amongst kids, particularly these nonetheless spellbound by Western music again house, Imam admitted, “Frankly, I wouldn’t have been capable of make Solitude with out finding out Western music myself. There’s an entire part of the inhabitants that doesn’t hearken to South Asian classical music, together with a lot of my associates, however whereas such type of music could be hours lengthy as a result of its progressive nature, I minimize Solitude brief. I actually needed to make one thing that everybody can join with. I did have an viewers in thoughts. I needed to compose and organize these songs in a means that individuals who hearken to classical and individuals who don’t hearken to classical can each take pleasure in.”

Gradual-cooked to perfection

Solitude’s title monitor is a dance between the guitar and sarod. Gradual strumming of the prior with murmurs of the latter culminate right into a meditative expertise. The five-minute monitor is progressive with out seeming rushed or directionless. It picks at feeling rigorously tucked away with out complicating issues and heals each wound.

The second monitor, Ebb and Circulation, has a flavour of its personal. Manik takes the lead on this one along with his sarod whereas Imam provides to the instrument’s melodic glory with the guitar. It’s romantic however not the tacky sort. Paying homage to rain in Lahore, road meals, and all issues enjoyable and giddy, the monitor is brief, candy and playful. Gradual plucking of the guitar backed by buzzing of the sarod makes the third monitor, Lullaby, a divine expertise. This one’s for the loners, the wanderers, the daydreamers.

All in all, Solitude is slow-cooked to perfection, an organised rebel of kinds for the recluse demanding to remain indoors with out caving into pressures of a fast-paced life. It’s a mood-lifter, regardless of being grounded. And a method to flee from on a regular basis life.

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