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Dawn; Pakistan National - March 15, 2001 

Global Fusion By Saira Ali 

The British Council organized a musical spree in March, featuring 'Pete Lockett, Mekaal Hasan and the Network of Sparks.. Starting from Lahore, the musicians toured Islamabad and Karachi and played to packed houses. The Lahore show was part of the 2nd World Music Festival, at the Gaddafi Stadium,and the concert was regarded as one of the musical landmarks in the festival.

All the musicians participating in the tour have exceptional backgrounds in their chosen field. Pete Lockett especially flew in from the UK. A world famous versatile multi-percussionist, he has been performing along side various top-of-the-line artists in both the commercial pop scene as well as the more unconventional world of jazz. Apart from this, Pete has played for many Hollywood block busters like the two James Bond movies (Tomorrow Never Dies and The World is not Enough), The Insider, City of Angels and The Bone Collector.

Mekaal Hasan one of Pakistan's most talented musicians and composers, played on tour with Pete. The concerts featured Mekaal's compositions written for this unique collaboration for both local and foreign musicians. His love for experimentation, for introducing new trends in music were evident as he artfully merged his two favorite schools of music - rock and jazz with eastern classical music. This fusion brought to life a unique concoction of concept-based harmonies and complex rhythms. The line-up included other exciting musicians, who contributed on the congas, djembes, flute, keyboards, bass and vocals etc., forming a major part of the performance.

The concert hosted various segments, making it possible for the artists to share the limelight. Pete played scintillatingly on the tablas, drum-kit and percussion, accompanying the renowned Pakistani classical singer, Riaz Ali Khan, and other musicians in one part of the show. Another segment featured Mekaal Hasan on the guitar, along with vocals, flute, and percussion. The entire music was written and composed to the last detail by Mekaal himself along with writing contributions by keyboardist Javed Akhtar. Mekaal's main objective in writing this heavy, classical piece with light, but readily perceptible traces of soft rock was to indulge the western perspective of music through eastern instruments, notes and rhythms, performed by eastern classical artists. To many, Mekaal is but only a few steps away from achieving his goal as he effortlessly brought innovation to music, uniquely his own.

"The show is a dynamic journey through the diverse world of percussion, vocals, flute, classical music, guitar; juxtaposing instruments and sounds in ways that would not be found in any specific tradition, going from ambient textures of vibes and tabla, to the driving grooves of Africa and the thunderous rhythms of the Japanese Taiko."This is how the organizers at the British Council described the concerts and one can only laud them for taking such bold and innovative measures. Let's hope to hear more from these talented artists in the coming time."


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