After 33 long years, Pakistani pop-rock outfit, Strings, called it a day, which marked the end of an era in the musical history of the subcontinent. Their experimentation with music, blend of pop and classical, and the poetic touch they leave on every song have helped them carve their names in the Pakistani music industry forever. Strings’ legacy is not just limited to Pakistan as they have also collaborated with Indian and international artists.
Formed in 1988, the band managed to find its way into every 90’s kid’s playlist, and when they finally bid goodbye, fans from both countries united in grief. So today we take a look at the band’s origin, their works, fan-following and legacy.
Here is everything you need to know about the band that took Pakistan’s pop music to new heights:
When the band formed back in 1988, it comprised four college students–Bilal Maqsood, Faisal Kapadia, Rafiq Wazir Ali and Kareem Bashir Bhoy. The band first rose to global fame when their song Sar Kiye Yeh Pahar from their second album aired on MTV Asia. However, they disbanded quickly after that in 1992 to focus on their respective careers but made a comeback in 2000 with Maqsood and Kapadia, who went on to become the face of the band. They were eventually joined by Adeel Ali (guitar, vocals), Shakir Khan (bass), Quaiser (drums) and Haider Ali (keyboards). Later Aahad Nayani (drums), and Bradley D’souza (bass) replaced Khan and Quaiser.
The four initial members of the band were students of the Government College of Commerce & Economics in Karachi. They performed the songs that were written by Maqsood’s father Anwar Maqsood and mastered the genres of pop-rock, hard rock and heavy metal music. They had signed with EMI records in 1990 which helped them to release their first album Strings, and after two years they released their second album, 2. Soon after that, the quadruple dismembered, only to have a comeback in 2000. Maqssod and Kapadia released their third album Duur and since then there was no looking back for the band.
Success and fan following
The amalgamation of the western and classical forms of music formed the crux of the band. They surely had a huge role to play in reviving the pop-rock music scene in Pakistan but their music managed to strike a chord across borders because of its soulfulness, style of music, and focus on incorporating social issues in their songs.
Their musical journey in India began with their collaboration with the Delhi-based band Euphoria. The track Jeet Lo Dil composed by both bands became the official song for the India-Pakistan cricket series. They also toured India with Channel V and appeared on their television show Jammin. They stepped into Bollywood with the songs Yeh Hai Meri Kahani and Aakhri Alvida for the films Zinda (2006) and Shootout at Lokhandwala (2007) respectively. The band has seen a pretty much smooth journey since then as they kept producing chart-topping music in Pakistan and continued growth beyond the borders.
From 2014 to 2017, Strings directed and produced Coke Studio Pakistan producing notable work like Mujhse Pehli Si Mohabbat, Lathay di Chadar, Chaap Tilak, Tajdar-e-Haram, Aaj Jane Ki Zid Na Karo, Afreen Afreen, and Tera Woh Pyar. The rendition of Sabri brother’s qawwali Tajdar-e-Haram sung by Atif Aslam and produced by Strings had broken all records at the time of its release.
It became the first video from Pakistan to cross 100 million views on YouTube and was watched by almost 180 countries. The songs Afreen Afreen (Rahat Fateh Ali Khan & Momina Mustehsan) and Tera Woh Pyaar (Momina Mustehsan and Asim Azhar) also surpassed 100 million views on YouTube. They discontinued the music reality show after season 10.