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A quintessential case of a traditional cultural background going beyond stereotypical boundaries and borders, Zebunnisa Humayun Bangash and Haniya Aslam, fuse influences from their ethnic Pashtun background and their exposure to western culture and music, to create a niche musical genre that gets classified as the Urdu Blues – a combination of Pashto and Dari folk traditions and western pop music.

Below is a link to an enlightening interview with these Pakistani first cousins, as part of the “Another Pakistan” series of podcasts, a co-production of the Asia Society and the Watson Institute at Brown University.


An excerpt from the interview is below:
They were drawing on a wide spectrum of live music they’d absorbed in their grandmother’s house: the songs of the Afghan diaspora through the 1980s, Persian and Pashto repertoires, ghazals in Urdu, pre-Partition movie music from Bombay, Sufi songs. And they were liberated by an enthusiastic performance culture that did not distinguish between high and low, or pop and serious music. Elvis Presley and the Beatles must have been Pakistanis at heart, they were so good.

And get a flavor of their music, below, with the song “Bibi Sanam” performed at Coke Studio Pakistan.