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Bringing together cultures with music and video: Q&A with musician Shallum Xavier

As part of the Transforming Narratives Digital Collaborations programme, Pakistani musician and producer Shallum Xavier has created the new work Safar Suroon Ka, which means the journey of musical notes. 

Shallum, along with his band Fuzon and business Point One Three Productions, has been producing music and videos in Pakistan for more than 14 years

Safar Saroon Ka brings together musicians, both experienced and aspiring, from Pakistan and Bangladesh. The project will culminate in the production of a song and music video – launching at the end of October – along with musical dialogues through four workshops (the first of which took place last weekend).

TN: What attracted you to the Transforming Narratives Digital Collaborations Programme?

Shallum: I was quite intrigued to learn about the vision of Transforming Narratives in terms of bringing cultures and people together, specifically fusing the artistic minds of Bangladesh, Pakistan and Birmingham.

With my band Fuzon I have had several opportunities to perform live in Dhaka and collaborate with some of the most talented performers there and I was thrilled to share my idea of a digital musical collaboration involving creative discussions and workshops that will enable people from these countries to come together musically, share their point of view, and develop congenial relationships. 

TN: What are the aims of your project?

Shallum: We are aiming to promote the musical heritage of both the cultures through creative musical dialogues, a cross-cultural song and music video which will include some artists from the under-served/under-privileged communities along with aspiring young performers from both cultures.

Established performers will assist in this process by providing guidance and technical knowledge to these upcoming and underserved performers in a form of creative workshops as well as participating in the production process of the song and music video. 

TN: How will this fulfil the Transforming Narratives Digital Collaborations Programme brief?

Shallum: Virtual meetings and live broadcasts will take place for all our creative discussions involving participants from both countries, including online digital workshops by established acts. 

We will also incorporate digital audio workstations for the music production process and digitally exchange audio and video files to develop the cross-cultural song.

TN: What does your project involve and what techniques and technologies will you be using?

Shallum: My project involves a number of talented and established music performers sharing creative ideas, musical concepts, stories and solutions on how to develop a sustainable career. We will also focus on the protection of their work through workshops covering intellectual property and copyright as well as discussing the best ways to seek and create opportunities in the current circumstances. 

As far as the techniques are concerned, we are keeping it simple by using Zoom for all our discussions and workshops, Facebook Live to broadcast each and every component and will use Cubase and Final Cut Pro as our digital audio workstation and video editing software.

The song and the video component will provide a concrete platform for not only the upcoming acts but also the artists from the underserved communities of both nations. 

The digital channels we are using for our project is Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Zoom.

TN: Who is involved with the project and what collaborations have you built with other artists/organisations and in which locations?

Shallum: I have teamed up with an extremely talented and experienced singer/music producer, Labik Kamal in Dhaka as my partner for this particular project. He has been responsible for identifying the aspiring artists from the underserved communities and popular acts from Bangladesh.

My technical partner is Waqas Almas and the company Silent Roar Productions based out of Karachi. He is responsible for coordinating, creating content for publicity, and setting up the digital discourse as far as discussions and workshops are concerned. 

My company is responsible for identifying talent in Pakistan from the underserved communities and engaging some popular names and aspiring acts into our activities.

Find out more about our Digital Collaborations programme.

Note: The views and opinions expressed in projects funded by Transforming Narratives are those of the artists and organisations delivering the projects, and do not necessarily reflect the policies or position of Transforming Narratives, Culture Central, the British Council or Arts Council England.

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