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Muslim Societies in South Asia and Art Seminar

Ali Aftab Saeed with Saad Sultan, Musicians

Chair: Ali AsaniProfessor of Indo-Muslim and Islamic Religion and Cultures; Director, Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Islamic Studies Program, Harvard University

Satire is one of the most prominent forms of expression in Pakistani art. Most of the television hits that have surfaced in Pakistan’s rich art industry have been predicated around satire and have received great plaudits from critics and viewers alike. Musical satire is appealing, as the melody is intriguing for the listeners, and even if they don’t always agree with the message. Saeed and Sultan will discuss the role of musical satire in Pakistan, as well as the creation of their band, Beygairat Brigade, whose hits like “Dhinak Dhinak” and “Aalu Anday” have spread awareness while also entertaining audiences.

About Ali Aftab Saeed with Saad Sultan:

Ali Aftab Saeed is a singer, songwriter, performer, producer, activist, and one of the most influential artists working in Pakistan today. Saeed, and his band Beygairat Brigade, first electrified the Pakistani music scene with their song “Alu Andey” (Potatoes and Eggs) in 2011, a pop song infused with biting political criticism of the Pakistani government in the wake of the assassination of the moderate governor of Punjab Province, Salman Taseer. The video was a viral hit, and Saeed and his bandmates quickly became international news, with interviews and extensive discussions of the impact of their music and message appearing in mainstream media across Pakistan and India, as well as American media outlets such as the New York Times and Voice of America. The band has followed up with several more well-received tracks since, each one even more targeted in its satirical social and political critique.

Saeed has recently released the collaborative album Gao Suno Badlo (Sing Listen Change), featuring tracks and videos dedicated to such issues as women’s empowerment and equal access to education, to extraordinary critical acclaim. His current project focuses on recruiting promising young musicians at colleges and universities across Pakistan to collaborate an on album of peace songs combatting the radicalization of Pakistan. His production agency, Mishermayl will provide these young musicians with professional training and logistical support to record, shoot music videos, and launch them on social media.

Cosponsored with the Prince Alwaleed Islamic Studies Program