"Our lyrics and instruments together tell the truth. There is nothing more powerful than the truth!"
Pakistan’s BlueSax, a rich, gold-tone saxophone band.
Giving rise to electrified Blues and Jazz sounds, with a Desi twist, BlueSax is sophisticatedly garnished with thoughtful lyrics.
Originally founded by Talha Ali Kushvaha in 2011, the group gracefully presents Blues instrumental combinations with societal issues.
Such as money, inflation, and the embedded effects of colonisation still visible within the minds of Pakistanis.
Their creations feature few, yet, short and snappy lyrics.
In an exclusive interview with DESIblitz, Talha Ali Kushvaha talks about his unique music. He also describes his symbolic lyrical themes, Paisa, Mehangai, Babu-Blues, and the upcoming project.
Pakistan’s BlueSax Band
When describing Pakistan’s BlueSax band, Talha says, our music conveys: “Various western and eastern influences. A mix of cultures.
“The rich, perhaps, would not relate to all our lyrics, but then I believe we have a bit for everyone.”
The band’s name evidently comes from: “The sax which is blue, full of passion and feelings,” says Talha.
About Pakistan’s BlueSax band, Jamal Alvi says on Facebook: “I was yearning to get hold of something Jazzy/Bluesy from Pakistan and you guys sound promising, great vibes guys.”
Members of Pakistan’s BlueSax Band
Pakistan’s BlueSax band consists of five talented members.
Talha Ali Kushvaha, of course, is the Saxophonist. He is also responsible for composing and blending the vocal sounds together into one final piece.
He started playing Saxophone in the late ’80s, Karachi.
After learning under the guidance of Alex Rodrigues, a veteran Saxophonist of the World War II era, he’s since had a strong relationship with his Sax and Music.
Talha feels: “When playing, I become a part of the saxophone, completely in sync.”
Besides music, he is a History teacher. And, there is much historical significance to be found in Pakistan’s BlueSax band.
Talha explains: “As I teach history and relate to a number of sociological factors relevant to us today. I just start writing and then think of rhyming the verses.”
Moreover, other members include Steve, who sets the rhythm for Pakistan’s BlueSax band. Salman controls the bass tone. Meanwhile, Nadeem takes the role of the drummer for the group.
We also see Shahid Ali Khan performing the various sounds of the tabla.
Coming together, their band rehearsals take place in Talha’s basement jam room.
BlueSax Music and Themes
Talha understands that there is not a large market for this style of music in Pakistan:
“It is a more difficult genre to market, and has a limited audience,” he says.
Regardless, he further adds: “Jazz and Blues have limited audiences all over the world, but the limited audience is there to stay. And that is good.”
But, how does Pakistan’s BlueSax choose which local theme to cover? Talha says:
“My own experiences of teaching history and culture usually push me in a direction. Current affairs are sometimes also influencing what we chose to do. I usually look for patterns and long-term issues.”
“But for us, opportunities are limited. Not too many shows and especially very few live gigs,” Talha expresses.
However, the feedback received from those performances has been very positive. Talha tells DESIblitz:
“Audiences usually do enjoy what we have to offer.
“Our lyrics and instruments together attempt to tell the truth. There is nothing more powerful than the truth!.”
In their first single, ‘Paisa’, Pakistan’s BlueSax group addresses the societal attitudes towards money.
With a chorus repeating, “Bus ho paisa, ay yeah Paisa.” Translated as, “Just money, earning money,” combined with Blues instruments, was greatly appreciated.
Fawad Hashmey says on Facebook: “Very entertaining and lyrics equally meaningful.”
BlueSax explores the many names money carries. Its association with respect and greed, relating to pain, fame, and fortune. Yet, everybody still wants a piece of it.
The ending lyrics are truly powerful. It is clear to see why ‘Paisa’ is their most viewed music video to date.
It finishes with the words: “Kabbar main bhi ho paisa.” Translated as: “There should also be money at the grave.”
This is to taunt the concept of: “How our choices involve around money and ironically only death forces us to let go of it,” says Talha.
‘Mehangai’ is another symbolic piece by the group. Fawad Rizvi says: “From the expression to its execution. Great job!”
It refers to the poor and fast intensifying inflation. Its visuals focus on street beggars and a 1-rupee coin. We witness the poor throwing back the coin at a passer-by, who had just given him the money.
The lyrics convey to us that there are people all around us who are truly suffering. Those people that you see begging on the street need more than just 1-rupees or your money. They need a friend or appropriate governmental support.
BlueSax reminds the society to step into their life. And, ends ‘Paisa’ with the lyrics, otherwise: “Mehangai gurbat mitadaygi, ghareeboon ko mardaygi.”
In other words, poverty will soon fade away, eventually killing the poor.
‘Babu’ – Blues
The third single, ‘Babu,’ has a complementing video. It shows a suited and booted male character.
When describing the character of Babu, Talha tells DESIblitz:
“Babu comes out of our colonial history. Babu is in all of us.
“It is especially a colonial Pakistani character, who has learnt the art of executing things and makes use of his skills to make money.
“But most of the times, unknowingly! He has a deep inferiority complex of all that is foreign, not his own. He is apologetic.”
Fareedul says: “Just beautifully sung and well-composed satire. We are facing the energy crisis and car energy (CNG) crisis and so many such problems which need to be addressed.”
“Musicians struggle a lot and some fade out in the process.
“Despite…music is magic and the most powerful form of art. We have to keep doing it,” he says.
With this positive thinking, BlueSax is already working on their next single: “Hum mehman nahin hain,” translated as “we are not guests.”
Through this musical piece, BlueSax will create a dialogue between Pakistan and its locals. Telling them to stop blaming others for their problems.
Rather, Talha explains: “We should mend things ourselves as we are Pakistanis and not guests.”
With this new project almost close to completion, it appears to be a bright future for Pakistan’s BlueSax.
They have successfully continued to address very real issues concerning all societies.
And now, Talha wishes to: “Bring Desi Blues to a popular level and make our lyrics more relevant to more people not just in Pakistan but wherever there are Urdu and English listeners.”
You can click here to visit the Facebook page of Pakistan’s BlueSax band and follow their latest music.