Pakistan News

‘Get up, stand up… for music’

‘Get up, stand up… for music’

KARACHI: To mark World Intellectual Property Day (April 26), the National Academy of Performing Arts and the US consulate organised a panel discussion on the subject of music piracy in the academy’s in-house theatre on Friday evening.

Moderating the discussion, US Consul-General Brian Heath said intellectual property rights protected creativity. This year’s theme of World Intellectual Property Day, he said, was ‘get up, stand up, for music’, taken from a Bob Marley and the Wailers song Burnin’ which was released four decades ago. He said that piracy not only harmed musicians but also their support staff.

In Pakistan, he lamented, piracy levels were very high (90 per cent), depriving artists of compensation. He added although the Pakistani government was taking action to check piracy, there’s much more all of us (musicians, listeners, record labels etc) could do.

Fuzon’s keyboardist Emu said it was an important subject but there was a big gap between those who were making music and those who were committing piracy. He argued musicians felt bad that organisations such as TV channels and individuals used their music but did not want to pay the musicians for it.

EMI’s Zeeshan Chaudhry complained that 95 per cent radio and TV channels were not paying royalties to music makers. This was a point that he kept coming back to, even when Emu asked him about why record labels were not producing enough CDs.

Guitarist Asif Sinan said if people were downloading music, it meant there was demand for it. Why could not the artists be paid then? he asked.

Lawyer Zain Sheikh said people were unaware of their rights. He informed the panelists that even an artist who’s performing live had rights.

American musician Grace McLean said as an independent musician she did not make much money. She expressed her concern that Pakistani musicians found it hard to take the next step because of piracy-like issues.

One of Ms McLean’s band members highlighted the need for art education.

After the discussion, an interesting array of live music was performed. It started with Napa students’ rendition of three English songs, beginning with Ray Charles’ Come Rain or Come Shine. They followed it up with two more tracks.

A Sindhi folk music group, led by Mohammad Hasan, then graced the stage and played a delightful tune. It was very well received by music lovers who had filled up the auditorium in no time.

Fuzon’s was the penultimate act of the evening. It began with the composition that had catapulted them to fame 14 years ago, Aankhon Ke Sagar. It got the crowd excited, as they clapped to the guitar solos and hummed along the mukhda (opening lines) of the song. The band’s presentation of Neend Na Aey was also worth listening.

Fuzon’s Shallum Xavier then told the audience that their next album would feature cover tunes. This led the band to play the legendary Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s famous song Tu Mera Dil. It was a decent effort.

American band Grace McLean and Them Apples was the last performer on the list of programme.

Published in Dawn, April 25th, 2015

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