The Sketches is a Pioneer of Sufi Folk Rock from Jamshoro, Sindh, Pakistan composed of young musician, founder and lead vocalist Saif Samejo. Their motherland has always been a major inspiration which is portrayed in their work. “Sindhi melody is very charming; there is enormous flexibility of words” says Saif Samejo. The love for their language and culture is aimed to bring back the departed old identity and to produce quality work to sensitize the world in general and the youth in specific about the grace of Sindhi language. The pinnacle that The Sketches have reached today is the result of a grueling struggle and arduous work since 2003 when Saif, a student of English Literature the interests and influences of Sufi music, an incredible enthusiasm towards peace and harmony and the motivation for being original all together as made THE SKETCHES.
Their first album ‘Dastkari’ meaning ‘one’s own creation’ was released in 2010 with the Folk/Sufi/Rock songs in Sindhi, Saraiki and Urdu bearing a wide range of messages promoting peace, a rich cultural heritage, freedom of expression and love. The music created by The Sketches has proved the fact that “Music has no language”, despite the fact that different languages have been used in their songs listeners from different age groups and backgrounds have appreciated each flavor that come out. The music blends so perfectly, creating novel symphonies that capture the soul. Contradictory to the trend, The Sketches always believed in “being original” and in the era of commercial music where other artists served as seasonal birds they remained unswerving and kept Sufi music alive. This is the foremost reason that within the first year ‘The Sketches’ was acknowledged by various front line magazines of Pakistan including Dawn, The News, Mag-the weekly, Hum say, Kawish and others. The band was reported in Pakistan’s biggest news channel Geo TV for promoting peace through their music video ‘Maujood’. Its remarkable contribution on ‘Raat’ (Folk tale of Sindh) was admitted internationally and they appeared on BBC-London (radio).
They’ve performed the song ‘Mandh’ at Pakistan’s most popular music show Coke Studio on 3 July 2011, among all the well-known artists of the Country. ‘Mandh’ means wine of love from Shah Latif’s works (famous Sufi saint) and Sur Kalyaan which means peace and tranquility. It was a fabulous and moving performance. Lead vocalist, Samejo calls it the biggest achievement of the band in short, whereas Express Tribune (partnership with The International Herald Tribune) rates The Sketches: “Mandh Waai” 9/10.’ Recipes for jams’, an article across the border (India) also had them in the spotlight and listing this achievement of The Sketches as a key for others to learn from and emulate them. The Sketches proved to be the melodious mascots of Sindhi folk and Sufi poetry as they took one on a musical voyage. The band comprises Saif Samejo and Naeem Shah as the lead vocalist and guitarist respectively. With Samejo’s soothing vocals and the brilliant songwriting by the band, The Sketches are a noteworthy introduction to the mainstream music scene. The Sketches released the single ‘Nind Nashe Wich’ on 24 January 2012. Music video of Nind Nashe Vich is an aim to promote the tourism of their native town, Jamshoro. Shot in the outskirts and remote areas of Sindh, the music video shows how the band travels casually and safely in the areas and gets inspiration from nature for their music.
TFirst ‘international collaboration’ of ‘The Sketches’ was with ‘Hollywood’s’ music producer ‘Jono Manson’ who came to Pakistan for his project with The Sketches called ‘Khahori’.Manson is a renowned singer/songwriter and performer, with a long track record that includes major-label releases as both recording artist and producer. Manson has been a highly successful individual, and has worked alongside many other artists and producers in his time. With different influences and musical perspectives, The Sketches and Manson, bring something rather new to the table. The song “Khahori” begins very Middle-Eastern, with the soulful notes of the flute playing as the acoustic guitar is sharply picked in the background. Saif begins reciting in Sindhi from the poem by Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai. “Khahori” then takes a shift in tone. From an Eastern sound, the tone suddenly changes into a Texan-style one, like in “Haq Mojood”, one of The Sketches very own tracks off their album. Manson begins singing as Naeem still plays in the background. As the song gradually progresses, both musical styles (Eastern and Western) cascade alongside each other and somehow, blend together quite well, especially in the bridge whilst Saif finishes off reciting his Sindhi poem. The music also features a variety of instruments, such as the dholak, tabla and sarangi. The collaboration between The Sketches and Manson seems to signify a broader perspective, not just in terms of music. The collaboration displays unity. Despite ethnical and racial differences, both artist and group, come together to paint a positive picture, showing us that music can really connect people together even if they come from opposite ends of the world. In retrospect, The Sketches never lack originality, and neither do they sell their fans out to some other style of music, similar to Manson who has shown passion throughout his musical career. Like the songs in their album, The Sketches continue to do what they do best and retain their own style, which everyone seems to adore. The Sketches release Music video of ‘Hum Sab Hain Yahan’ which is the theme song of ‘ The Freedom Radio’ India on 6 July 2012, that captures the perfect essence of ‘Freedom Radio’ by highlighting the spirit of independence. Composed by band ‘The Sketches’. ‘Hum Sab Hain Yahan’ symbolises the purpose of Freedom Radio – an all-inclusive platform for music from across genres. Genre no bar, language no bar, good music is the only ticket to ‘Freedom Radio’.
‘The Sketches” ‘Main Sufi Hoon’ has been nothing short of sensation: the video has had almost 3,000 shares on Facebook and almost 6,000 likes in just 24 hours of its release. This boasts the prominence and preeminence of The Sketches’ work. Audio-wise, ‘Main Sufi Hoon’ is a product and an amalgamation of some of the best musicians Pakistan has to offer: on drums is Louis “Gumby” Pinto; lead guitarist Faraz Anwar of Mizraab fame, possibly one of the best guitarist of Pakistan; The Sketches’ own Naeem Shah on rhythm guitars; and the energetic Saif Samejo as vocalist. While hearing the song, one could easily feel the vibe of the words and breathe into them. Lyrically, “Main Sufi Hoon” is a delight to the ears. “Main Sufi hoon sarmasta; mera kaun pihchane rastaa” (I am a Sufi and who knows my way?). Simply ecstatic. The dynamic voice of Saif Samejo and Naeem Shah’s magical work with guitars is also nothing short of a triumphant victory. Directed by Adnan Kandhar, the video features the likes of Abbas Jaffri and Suhaee Abro roped-in spiritualistic roles, exploring the exquisite desert of Thar, doing soul-searching. According to the director, Main Sufi Hoon “is the journey of distinguished and unforgettable phase of human culture”. The video, in particular, stands out as it fortuitously adheres to the principle of promoting Sufism in its strict sense with originality and concept. The guys behind VFX, Haroon Habib and Ghafar Muhiudin, also need a pat on their back for the Herculean task of bringing special effects’ galore with utmost sincerity and skills. In addition, Main Sufi Hoon won ‘Best Music Video 2013′ at 2014’s national Hum TV awards, which has just been televised, beating off a number of high profile nominees.
Soft music, vocals, pretty cinematography and the moving image of a little girl-child from rural Sindh clutching her doll on her journey to school. Whether or not you understand the Sindhi language, this song’s video will strike a chord. Meena, the latest offering of the Jamshoro-based Sindhi band The Sketches, brings forth the issue of education for the girl-child as well as peace and harmony in a soft package that will tug at the heart strings of viewers. As Saif Samejo, the lead vocalist for The Sketches, croons in the backdrop of the scene of a child’s journey between dreams and reality, the seriousness of the problem hits home. And for once in a post-Malala world, the girl-child from a part of Pakistan other than Swat is the focal character.
This is the band behind the Lahooti Music Aashram, the first ever formal music school in Jamshoro and [Hyderabad]. It is encouraging that a song sung in a regional language is inspiring interest and making viewers think about the plight of the child who both wants, and deserves an education, but finds an empty ghost school staring back at her when she and her doll reach school. However, this sadness is coupled with hope at the end. This child grows up to be a teacher in the same school, teaching other little girls like her. One would hope that Sindhi language channels, as well as mainstream prime channels, will give this song its due acknowledgement. While being simplistic in its approach and trying to squeeze in more than one social message in a single song makes it a bit heavy-headed, the effort is one that needs to be lauded. Both the messages tackled in the song are important ones. With some 5.5 million Pakistani children out of school, according to the latest UNESCO report, Pakistan has the second highest number in the world for out of school children. Equally important is the sensitisation of people towards pluralism.
The Sketches is working on their second full-length album which is set to release later this year. The Sketches wrote on their fan page; “More Experimental Sound is Next says; Saif Samejo – The Team is very much engaged producing something unique sharing their experience of music it will extempore worrying nothing – Stay Tuned all those who love The Sketches and believe in Music.”
The Album Is Now Available At iTune.
Buy Album Now!