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Salman Ahmad
Salman Ahmad, songwriter and lead guitarist of top-selling Pakistani band Junoon is back on the music scene with his solo debut album Infiniti. Once the word was out, the questions began to come up ~ Why a solo album? Is the band headed for a split? What about the remaining members of the band? The Record Magazine decided to meet up with Salman and get those answers. Some excerpts:

The Record: Is this the end of Junoon or is your absence temporary?
Salman: I donít think this is the end of Junoon because we still meet and play at concerts, but I feel itís very important for an artist to discover himself and see his potential. Infiniti has helped me to see a deeper emotion in my life. Thereís a song called Alvida about a woman who is suffering from AIDS. Her husband died of AIDS and itís a true story. I was inspired by this story the way the woman accepts the stigma, ignorance. So I wrote a song about it.

TR: How did Infiniti come about?
Salman: Being with the band, I felt I was put in a bottle with a cork firmly screwed on ~ there are so many dimensions to oneself and we imprison ourselves. So in 2002 I left for New York. I just wanted to get away from the fame. When I was there I did two documentary films ~ Itís My Country Too, which looks at Muslim-Americans post 9/11, and The Rockstar And The Mullahs, a SAJA award-winner film that brought me closer with fundamentalist religious leaders to discuss the meaning of Islam. Then I met up with a few musicians and started jamming with them. In that time I thought to myself that we have so much infinite potential that we can do so many different things. It was then that I started writing these songs, the first of which was Ghoom Tana. The song is about a journey and Infiniti came because we are on an infinite journey. Through these songs Iím trying to make an emotional bridge of East and West so that a seamless coercion exists. Music unites and itís also a powerful source to know other peopleís cultures.

TR: How did you get Shubha Mudgal to sing a duet with you on your opening song?
Salman: Iíve always had deep respect for Shubhaji and she really has this unique bass kind of voice. Sheís classically trained and so I thought that this would be the perfect way to pay tribute to my motherís birthplace. So you have two different voices coming from two different places, not from only two different cultures, but also you have a male and a female voice. So when you bring both together you get unity and thatís what Ghoom Tana is all about ~ unity and trust. Ghoom Tana is the first video on air now and its been shot in Patiala and Lahore. The second video is Alvida, which will be playing in a month from now.

TR: Do you plan to continue with Junoon after your debut album release?
Salman: Well if our scheduling is good and things can fall into place with enough time to spare Iíd love to play with Junoon. My other band members like Ali Azmat and Brian, the percussionist and session players all look at Junoon as a marriage. So no one wants to break up a marriage. So I guess they take this as a short separation. In fact, Ali recorded an album Social Circus about a year ago.

You can read the rest of our feature on Salman Ahmad in the April 2006 issue of The Record Music Magazine available at your local newsagent.


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