She is blessed with a soulful voice, elegant personality and immaculate vocal delivery with precision. With nearly three decades long music career, Humera Channa is one of the most refined female vocalists Pakistan has produced to date. In addition to being a great musician, Channa is a polished and down-to-earth personality. MAG took an opportunity to speak to the versatile music diva on her recent visit to the city of lights on various fronts including the newly concluded US tour, present Pakistan classical and sufi music scene, future plans and a lot more.
Music genrè & languages
Humera Channa has sung on nearly all types of music. She owns tremendous expertise in all genres of music like Geet, Ghazal, Thumri, Dadhra, Kafi, Semi-classical, Sufi, Hamd and Naat. So, what exactly is her genre? “I’ve always loved working on all sorts of music and I’m still searching for something new. Currently, I am working on ghazal and sufiana music,” she states. I also ask her to define the term ‘good music’. “Classical music would always be called good music; every other type of music are just branches of it,” she says. Interestingly, she is currently not only hosting but also melodising the current program Bazm-e-Mehdi Hassan aired on PTV.
If one analyses the languages in which she has sung in, one is astonished to realise that she has sung in almost every language spoken in Pakistan. However some of the languages in which her songs became significantly popular include Urdu, Punjabi, Sindhi, Balochi, Pashto, Saraiki, Marwari, Thai and Bengali. This is a rare feat for any Pakistani vocalist. According to an estimate, she has lent voice to 5000 songs to date.
US Tour & foreign performances
Humera Channa is a frequent visitor to the US. She recently concluded her tour there, where she performed in various states. Her performance at the 33rd Annual Convention of Sindhi Association of North America (SANA) was very well received. Regarding the tour, Humera merrily shares, “It was a wonderful experience. The audience especially the diaspora really appreciated my performances.”
It is worth-mentioning that Humera Channa has not only achieved immense popularity in Pakistan but also has the honour of representing the country all over the world. She has made her country proud in India, UAE, Bangladesh (SAARC Leaders Conference), Canada, UK, rest of Europe and many other countries around the globe as a true ambassador of peace and serenity.
Collaborations & Mentors
Humera is a staunch proponent of productive collaborations. Throughout her career she has collaborated with legends such as Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Ustad Hamid Ali Khan, Ustad Asad Amanat Ali Khan, Ustad Ghulam Ali, Ustad Ghulam Abbas, Abbas Ali Khan, Mekaal Hassan, Jawed Bashir among many others. Her take on collaborations is, “It plays a vital role in the road to success and also provides the opportunity of doing something different.” Reminiscing her most memorable collaborations, she says, “There have been two unforgettable collaborations, one with Ghulam Ali sahib, as his compositions made the album release successfully in India, and the other with Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan sahib for his composition for the film, Bandit Queen. I always feel lucky to have worked with such legends.”
Awards & Accolades
Humera Channa got immense fame in the evergreen program of PTV – Silver Jubilee, presented by Shoaib Mansoor and hosted by Anwar Maqsood. Along with that, she also sang and collected praises in famous programs such as Mehfil-e-Shab, Meri Pasand, Rang Tarang, Raat Gaye, Aangan Aangan Taaray, Sajri Sawair (Punjabi) and many others.
As one looks into her awards cabinet, Humera Channa has won the following awards, Tamgha-e-Imtiaz in 2009, received from Governor Sindh, PTV Awards: 4 times winner of Nigaar Award, most after Madam Noor Jehan and Mahnaz Shah; Abdul Lateef Bhitai Award, Sachchal Sarmast Award, Shahbaz Qalandar Award in 1986 from the then premier of Pakistan, Mr Muhammad Khan Junejo and Golden Temple Award from Government of India in Chandigarh.
Importance of social media for music
According to Channa, social media is very important for music promotion. She says, “Since there are hardly any record label companies functioning in Pakistan, artistes have no choice but to release music on social media. It has been very beneficial for upcoming artistes.”
Plight of classical music & present music scene
In the recent times, one has witnessed downward trend in the popularity of classical music in our society especially amongst youth. Pop, rock and jazz have taken over their minds and hearts. “Future of classical music doesn’t seem good. It is very essential to establish some academies for the promotion of classical music,” she discusses her views in a thought-provoking tone. However, she disagrees when I pessimistically state that Pakistani music scene is in doldrums. In fact, she seems pretty confident about the present Pakistan music scene in general. “I’m always positive about the current music scene. I never ever degrade our current music or any singer. Every singer is giving his/her best,” she comments.
Singing in films
Channa believes that Pakistani films are following an upward trend, which is positive for the entertainment industry. I also ask if solo singing is different from film singing? “Film singing is difficult from others, here expressions are important along with sur and tempo grip. Regarding Bollywood singing offers, she says, “There are a few offers coming my way. I will consider the reasonable opportunities.” It is also interesting to note that Channa doesn't find herself interested in modeling or acting offers, which come across quite often.
Importance of videos & take on piracy
In her view, videos have become a necessity these days. “It’s an HD world now. Watching an artist on HD content is amazing. Videos play important role in the stability of professional career of an artist,” she says. Her take on piracy is pretty candid. “There shouldn’t be piracy, unfortunately, in Pakistan there is no hard and fast rule against piracy that’s why many renowned companies have closed their operations.”
Future projects & plans
“I have recently shot a remake of Mehdi Hasan Khan sahib’s ghazal Shola Sa as a tribute to the great man in collaboration with Faraz Khosa. Faraz has done a remarkable job in music production and arrangements. It should be released by the time this interview goes to print. Also, I am planning to record a song in the US. In September, I am planning for a UK tour. Lastly, my song is also being featured in Coke Studio this year.”
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