Abdullah Siddiqui describes working with Zoe Viccaji

July 26, 2020

If you’re wondering what whiz kid Abdullah Siddiqui is up to next, he is releasing a mammoth 14 track full-length sophomoric record called Heterotopia in 2020

If you’re wondering what whiz kid Abdullah Siddiqui is up to next, he is releasing a mammoth 14 track full-length sophomoric record called Heterotopia in 2020. Off the 14 singles that make up the record, 4 are being released as part of a marketing strategy to drum up some noise for the release.

Heterotopia, confirmed Abdullah Siddiqui, is inspired by the concept called ‘Heterotopia’ by French philosopher Michel Foucault.

Starting his journey off with ‘Kids’ featuring Shamoon Ismail, Abdullah went on to release ‘Come Thru’ featuring Maanu and is now on his third single release ‘On Our Own’ that features Zoe Viccaji.

Speaking to Instep, Abdullah revealed what it was like working with singer-songwriter, Zoe Viccaji for the single. “It was an amazing experience,” said Abdullah. “She had just landed in Lahore and came over to my house. We had a five hour session where we tried around a million different ideas, and nothing quite came of anything. And then, literally within the last 15 minutes before she had to leave, we came up with the concept for this track. Her idea was to sing English lyrics with the same Carnatic technique as eastern vocals, which I found fascinating. She also came up with the trap-Qawwali fusion idea which blew me away. Definitely one of the most genuinely collaborative experiences I’ve had, where we were both involved in every step of the process.”

What’s remarkable is that Abdullah isn’t announcing things and sitting on them. He’s moved on to his second full length record after his marvelous debut Metannoya, released in 2019. Most of the collaborative singles from Heterotopia are scheduled to release fortnightly.

In addition to these three singles, Abdullah Siddiqui has a fourth collaborative single coming up from Heterotopia. He is also featured on indie giant Ali Suhail’s upcoming all-star 5th full length record, White Flag.

If only the giants of the industry realized the potential of these emerging artists and the frequency with which they release good new music and pushed them forward by collaborating with them on music that has global appeal.

The third single, ‘On Our Own’ like its preceding numbers, has that magnetism. It’s also good to see diverse artists like Zoe Viccaji and Abdullah Siddiqui collaborating for a single that is unlike the other singles on the record.

Omran Shafique clears the air on why he left Pakistan

– Omran Shafique photo courtesy: Salt Arts

Music producer, guitar wizard, a member of Chand Tara Orchestra (CTO), the singer-songwriter and force behind Mauj as well as Coke Studio veteran guitarist and member of Ali Azmat’s studio and live line-up, Omran Shafique has moved to the United States of America with his family for good.

Having also played with the original line-up of Junoon as well as gigs featuring the late Amir Zaki, Omran has contributed to the local music scene in Pakistan in many innovative ways. Through it all, he has remained humble and forthcoming as a musician.

Though Omran made this announcement of departure on social media, he first revealed the notion of leaving Pakistan music to do something else to Instep in an interview in 2017 as “7-year wanderlust.”

It seems the gifted and hardworking guitarist has finally taken that step.

What Omran did make clear though were his intentions for leaving after a story noted he was “discouraged” and “exhausted” and was therefore leaving. Clearing up the misinformation, Omran explained in a post on Facebook how there was a plan to move back to the US made some years ago.

Noted Omran: “I am only humbled and grateful for having had the privilege of making music in Pakistan as a career for 15 years. I am not interested in pursuing a full time career in music anymore for myriad personal reasons but that is in not an indictment of said music scene. And although the current pandemic and economic crises may have accelerated the decision to repatriate, the move itself was planned a few years back and I am in no way disgruntled with my tenure here. Words such as “discouraged” and “exhausted” do not paint the correct picture. I have been “exhausted”, quite happily, working on projects (try learning and tracking 3 albums worth of material in 3 months for 11 years back to back!). I was “discouraged” when I first landed in Pakistan and was met with assassinations and suicide bombings and live shows drying up and TV channels shutting down and dealing with record labels’ ineptitude. All those years and all those setbacks and still I consider myself lucky and fortunate to have had this music career in Pakistan. I am proud and grateful being a part of the scene.”

What Omran Shafique chooses to do next remains to be seen but his connection with music will continue in the form of the colossal amount of work he has done. As listeners, critics and fans, we wish the blues guitarist all the best in his next endeavor. And given that Omran noted, he isn’t interested in a full-time career in music, it doesn’t mean he has said goodbye to music completely and for good.

Abdullah Siddiqui describes working with Zoe Viccaji