Irfan Ali Taj – The Voice From Chitral
“I am a believer and nothing is impossible for a believer”
Irfan Ali Taj, a young and amazing artist from Chitral, Pakistan seeks to draw from the rich tradition of folk music that Pakistan has to offer and fuse it creatively, not only with each other but also with contemporary instruments and styles of singing.
He was born and raised by a well educated family. Living in a joint family system gave him a chance to be who he is today, because of how integrated the entire family was acted as in inspiration for him to write music, spread love and promote indigenous Chitrali Culture and Language. Irfan started singing in his heart when other children used to spend time playing. His love for music was triggered when he used to recite Sufi poems in Jamat Khana (Religious prayer area of Ismaili Muslims). His vocals abilities started developing when he started doing Talawat of the Holy Quran. He started doing his Bachelors from IoBM Karachi because he feared society won’t accept and acknowledge him as a singer.
He has released three successful songs so far, two of them featuring award winning Zoe Viccaji and one with his brotherly friend Moaaz Afridi, who has a major contribution in Irfan’s life. The songs utterly unique in Pakistani music industry as Chitrali language was brought to mainstream Pakistani Music industry for the first time. The collaboration of folk instruments, Urdu and Khowar Language and the rich visuals of Chitrali landscape made these songs different, unique and attractive. Irfan wants to showcase the peace loving lifestyle of Chitral, its diversity and pluralism and wants people to feel the intensity and beauty of the Khowar language.
The first song he released was heard by masses and he had no idea his work would be welcome and adored with such love and passion. Chitrali youth had never seen someone from Chitral coming on TV, giving interviews to leading news papers and sitting next to people they see on leading Musical Shows and talking about their very own culture and language. He feels more than lucky to have given them a ray of hope that your indigenous language or geographical location shouldn’t hold you back from achieving your goals. Irfan believes this is his biggest achievement in life.
“Being the first drop of rain is not an easy job. You get dirty; you fall in the dust but make the ground green for rest of the drops to fall”
Irfan not only pursues folk genre but have good understanding of Sufi, Semi Classical, and Alternate Qawwali genre and he plans on releasing his original songs soon. He has two Urdu songs in production for the year 2017 which are simultaneously going with the collaborative folk music that he will continue doing.
Apart from that, he teaches Rabab, guitar and other instruments he has mastered.
He believes he is playing his bit for his country through his work. His music is all about spreading peace, love, harmony and togetherness and tries to balance the negativity showed about Pakistan by spreading positivity. He wishes to end the perspective of Pakistanis taking everything in a negative manner by highlighting Pakistan’s social values, cultures, scenic beauty, tourist attractions, customs, festivals and beautiful people. He believes regional music is a gem, which needs to be utilized to its fullest, so the world can be amused with the wonders Pakistan has.
He wants to shout loud and clear to his fellow musicians of Pakistan that there is no shame in doing folk and regional music and that taking pride in your identity is the first step to success. And failure to do so can causes in inferiority complexes and prevention of breaking through the stereotypes. He believes that a guy who can’t speak good English can make a difference; a guy singing Sindhi folk song is impressive; or a guy in Shalwar Kameez can nail a job interview.
Irfan is very hopeful with the coming generation and their love for Pakistani music. He applauds bands like Khumarian band from Peshawar, Sounds of Kolachi from Karachi, Mai Dai from Thar and so many other artists who making a difference.
Irfan currently has two amazing Urdu songs, with a touch of regional music and fusion of instruments like Rabab, Sitar and Saxophone, in line for which he is seeking sponsors. One of the songs is called Khanabadosh and it’s about promoting tourism in Chitral and other is Ibn e Adam which is about making mistakes that can hurt in the long run.
Irfan Ali Taj has already made Pakistan immensely proud and is very close to achieving his dream of reviving regional music of Pakistan.
Written by Salman Bokhari